Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reviews for "The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth"

I would be happy to send you a signed copy of my newest book (described in this post) for just $30 postpaid. Please order by sending me an e-mail with your contact information at

It has been 12 weeks since our book, "The Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth" was released and I am happy to report that the response has been unbelievably positive. National news media is beginning to notice the value of it, which shows clearly but in a respectful manner how ideas associated with a "young earth" are misguided and just plain wrong. The book is the culmination of over five years of work from eleven co-authors, myself included. I wrote the Foreword to the book and am a co-author on Chapters 1 and 19.

I like to share with readers a few of the reviews our book has received so far. But before I do, just realize that many people including many open-minded Christians, already know that the preposterous idea that Noah's Flood could have created the Grand Canyon in just one year (and not just the hole in the ground but the rock layers too) is a sham and a falsehood for which there is absolutely no evidence. You can see a partial list of the endorsements our book has received here:
Some of the endorsements for the book from seminary professors, theologians, and geologists 

As for the reviews see all seventeen reviews we have received so far on our Amazon page here. All of these are 5 Stars!

In the July/August edition of "Church and State," we have this review here.

Locally, our book was reviewed in The Grand Canyon news here and the The Arizona Daily Sun  (Flagstaff) here.

Lastly, I have had many friends and colleagues tell me that they cannot believe that a book like this is necessary. They are astounded that ideas put forth by Young Earth Creationists (YEC's) are given much credence. And yet, if you think of the giant recreation of "Noah's Ark" that opened this week in Kentucky, you can see that people like Ken Hamm are spending incredible amounts of money to further these misguided claims. (See articles in the New York Times and Washington Post here and here.) Rob Boston responds to the hoopla about the opening of the Ark in Kentucky with this missive and made a plug for our book as well here. As you look at this $102 million construction, and think of the financial and human resources it took to complete, we are supposed to believe that a family of eight built something like this to this scale 4,000 years ago?

Here are a few peeks into our book. The table of contents is shown here:

And I include the entire Foreword here:

I would be happy to send you a signed copy of my newest book for $30 postpaid. Please order by sending me an e-mail with your contact information at

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Flying To and From a Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

My latest river trip in the Grand Canyon included some choice perks! In advance of the trip, there were three nights at The Enchantment Resort located in Boynton Canyon near Sedona and on the back end was a night at the Vdara Hotel on the Strip in Las Vegas. That might sound cheesy I agree, but sandwiched between these two luxurious bookends was a six-day rafting trip in Grand Canyon. It was a perfect ying and yang of a trip. Additionally, there were some fantastic flights to and from the river. This posting highlights only those flights - see some of my other postings for pictures of a river trip in Grand Canyon.

This is a view to the southwest of the Sedona Airport on Table Mesa where our flight to Marble Canyon began. Note the "21" on the bottom of the runway. These numbers tell pilots what orientation they are heading on take-off or landing and 21 is short for 210 degrees, or 30 degrees west of south, which is 180 degrees. In the far background is the House Mountain volcano, a 15 to 13 Ma shield volcano that erupted upon pre-existing topography. You can barely make out some of that preserved topography as the colorful sedimentary rocks beneath the volcano summit. Note the course of Oak Creek as the winding green line between Table Mesa and House Mountain. In fact, Table Mesa is capped by debris from a former alignment of Oak Creek and these deposits are now perched 700 feet above the modern stream. What a wonderland for the geologist.

Famous Cathedral Rock from above. Note the obvious joint pattern in the rocks which align parallel to local faults.

Oak Creek flowing southwest toward Mingus Mountain.

Heading north we cross the Mogollon Rim. These are essentially the same rocks as the upper one-third of the Grand Canyon with one notable exception. The Sedona area contains a 700 foot thick sequence of sandstones and limestone not found in the Grand Canyon called the Schnebly Hill Formation. This unit is seem as the red lower cliffs in this view.

Compare the view above with this one located in the south wall of the Grand Canyon. Between the two is about 100 miles where all of these rocks lay in the subsurface. These are in a sense opposing view of the same rock column, 100 miles removed. Some southern Arizona geologists do not ascribe to the Schnebly Hill nomenclature in the Mogollon Rim. But stratigraphers here know that both the Coconino and Schnebly Hill formations thin to the north and thicken to the south, showing a consistent pattern of deposition that cannot be negated by a few borehole data points.

Looking west into the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. It is about 10 miles across here and one mile deep with the South Rim on the left side and the North Rim barely visible on the right.

A view north along strike on the Butte fault (where the strata are upturned in photo center). Rocks on the far left are uplifted some 2,500 feet relative to this on the right and place gray Precambrian Chuar Group sediments against red Pennsylvanian sandstones and shale. This is a mighty fault!

Looking down to the confluence of the Big and Little Colorado rivers. We had a great stop here on the following day, swimming in the turquoise blue and warm water. The color comes from dissolved calcium that originates in springs from the Redwall Limestone (seen as the sheer cliff standing 1,500 feet above the confluence).

From directly over the confluence this view is to the south toward Chuar Butte. Red-colored Temple Butte beyond Chuar Butte. Note how the top of Chuar Butte is tilted up to the west (right). This is a section of the flank of the East Kaibab monocline that has been isolated by deep erosion in the Grand Canyon. Note also the drainage and small canyon on top of the butte, trending away from the uplifted edge to the east. Amazingly, this drainage must predate the deep dissection of the Grand Canyon and it is safe to say that the small canyon located on top of Chuar Butte is older than the Grand Canyon!

Now turning 180 degrees and looking northwest along strike of the East Kaibab monocline. Marble Canyon to right and the top of the Kaibab Plateau in the extreme upper left. This is where the Grand Canyon intersects the trend of the monocline.

A wider view of the same area. The Colorado River comes in from the right in Marble Canyon and Nankoweap Canyon can be seen on the far left with Saddle Mountain located right on the crest of the monocline between the two. Here one can understand how the Grand Canyon becomes so deep after it crosses the uplifted portion of the monocline.

Drainage pattern atop the Marble Platform, related to the same drainage seen on top of Chuar Butte above. The dissection of the Grand Canyon in some cases interrupted this drainage.

The giant gooseneck of the Colorado River as it rounds Point Hansborough, visible in the upper right and sticking out toward the photographer. Here the Colorado takes three miles to travel downstream but has advanced only 1/2 mile south. Upper Saddle Canyon near the left bend at the top.

I think this is South Canyon coming into the river.

Marble Canyon.

Upper Marble Canyon.

The slope outside Marble Canyon dips to the north toward the photographer but the river is opposed to this. Curious.

Near the beginning of the Grand Canyon.

Ha! After landing here we completed a six day river trip. I have photos of the river elsewhere on this blog but for now, let's head west and a flight to Las Vegas after the trip.

We left the river at mile 188 from Lees Ferry. Catching a Twin Otter aircraft, we fly out over lava cascades int the Grand Canyon. Look at the "frozen" lava cascades filling an old canyon.

A cinder cone perched on top of the canyon walls is now being cut by Whitmore Wash.

More cascades. Imagine the fury here when this lava was red hot and flowing down into the canyon!

A tributary of Parashant Canyon, seen in the distance.

Twin Point and Kelly Point project out into western Grand Canyon.

This is the mouth of the Grand Canyon. Sedimentary rocks fill most of the frame but on the far right is the Grand Wash fault with 18,000 feet of displacement that has lower these same sedimentary rocks on the west (right). The Colorado River exits the canyon at this location after being "trapped" in the earth for 277 miles. The Hualapai Plateau is visible in the upper part of the photo.

The dark gray vegetation marks the former reservoir bed of Lake Mead when it was at full pool for the last time in 1999. From the upper right corner, a new road comes to the new Pearce Ferry take-out and landing (river boats only). In the center of the photograph is the new Pearce Ferry Rapid, formed when the river insides down into a formed ledge in the Muddy Creek Formation. The original river channel before the reservoir was located farther to the left.

The delta of the Colorado River into the Lake Mead reservoir. Will it ever fill again?

Looking down to The Temple near Temple Bar on Lake Mead reservoir.

Close-up of The Temple, carved into the Muddy Creek Formation.

Looking down into the channel of the Colorado River in the Black Canyon below Hoover Dam. As always, thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Join Me on the Alsek River in the Yukon Territory and Southeast Alaska on a Geology-Themed Raft Trip, August 2017

View of the Fairweather Range from the lower Alsek River  
Join me as we float the mighty Alsek River, located in the heart of North America's largest wilderness in the Yukon Territory and southeast Alaska, for 11 days in August, 2017. I will accompany this trip that begins in Haines Alaska, with an overland excursion to the put-in located in the Yukon Territory in Canada. We will float 142 river miles from the interior to the Pacific at Dry Bay. It is a spectacular journey that includes a mandatory 7-mile helicopter portage around the Tweedsmuir Glacier in Turnback Canyon.

If you are interested in this trip, please send me a note and I will forward to you more details. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures from my 2015 trip.
The Faiweather Rang from the air. The Alsek River is located in the background of this photo.

The Walker Glacier seen from the Alsek

Near the Walker Glacier

U-shaped valley as seen from the Alsek River crossing into Alaska from Canada
Interesting rock types from the Alexander terrane along the Alsek River
Interesting clouds on the Alsek River

The wildlife in this part of the world is spectacular. We often see moose, eagles, wolves and bears - all from a safe distance

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Sedona Westerners Raft the Colorado River

The first of five Grand Canyon river trips that I will make in 2016 took place during the second week of May. The group was composed mostly of hiking enthusiasts and members of the Sedona Westerners, an active hiking club in northern Arizona. Not one of the trips participants had ever before been on a Grand Canyon river trip and this was the first time I think this has ever happened to me. We had a great time with a great group of rafters and hikers!

Northern Arizona is on track to experience its fifth coolest May on record and the weather on our trip was sometimes cloudy and cool. We did have some rain the first few days but it was just a few drops.

Making our way down into Marble Canyon, we are treated to seeing each and every sedimentary layer rise up from below river level. Not only does the river chisel down into the strata at about 8 feet per mile, but the layers are arched up as one moves downstream such that the Grand Canyon deepens a total of about 70 feet per mile.

While moving through the Supai Group rocks, we saw a very nice reptile trackway, whose viewing was accentuated by a recent light rain on the rocks.

Some rock surfaces are quite durable and become coated through time in an exceedingly dark layer of desert varnish. It is now known that up to 70% of the coating is composed of clay size particles that act to trap iron and manganese oxide grains that arrive on the wind.

A happy group of geology travelers on the Colorado River. The upper portion of Marble Canyon was the coolish part of our trip. We had plenty of great weather but some days at the start were cool.

Dropping into the Redwall Limestone is always a thrill for me as its sheer walls make for a  spectacular run down along the river.

The Redwall is Mississippian in age (about 340 Ma) and is composed of different kinds of limestone and chert. The banding here is the result of weathering on different types of limestone. The darker bands are limestone beds that hold readily hold a dark varnish on their surface, while the lighter colored bands have smooth surfaces that expose the true color of the limestone.

Springs are quite abundant in Marble Canyon and Vasey's Paradise is one of the more spectacular of these. It was nice to see it running so full as the last few years it has had greatly diminished flow.

This is a little spring right at river level that has created a travertine cone around it. As you float by, you can hear the water running gently inside the cone.

A small cave in the Redwall that has some large specimens of calcite crystal known as dog-tooth spar.

Early morning light illuminates the Triple Alcoves in the Redwall Limestone at Saddle Canyon camp.

And a downstream view at Saddle Canyon camp on the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

The name Marble Canyon extends down to the confluence with the Little Colorado River at river mile 62. The dry, spring weather meant that the water from Blue Springs (located 13 miles upstream from the confluence) would actively color the water, rather than the brown sediment that colors it when runoff is in the river.

Later in the day, we completed the 4.5 mile Carbon Canyon/Lava Chuar loop hike. Here we climb up through a spectacular rock slide that occurred in pre-historic time.

As we finished the loop hike, we returned to the river across from the Palisades fault that places the upthrown Cardenas Lava on the right, next to other rocks (left). The fault is part of the Butte fault system and propagates all the way to the the low saddle on the rim in the background.

Comanche Point on Grand Canyon's east rim is actually connected to the lower-appearing rim behind it. The entire section of rock is visible here from top to bottom.

Passing Desert View on the rim (barely visible on the highest part of the South Rim) we enter the "big bend" area of the Colorado River. It is here that the river makes a great westward turn after traveling southwest from Utah.

And immediately after the "big bend" is Tanner Rapids on a beautifully clear day.

A nice dinner circle was made while overnighting at Rattlesnake camp. I would say that this is one of my favorite times of the day, when our day hikes and river running is complete and we can relax and enjoy the clean air, some conversation and the company of like-minded friends. I often will help folks to 'fill in the blanks' on their river guidebooks in settings such as this.

Hiking the loop at Escalante and Seventy-Five Mile Canyon.

And doing the down-climb into the canyon while on the Shinumo Quartzite.

Entering the Upper Granite Gorge of Grand Canyon, where the Vishnu Basement rocks squeeze in close to the rivers edge. I was not always enamored with these rocks, I being a student mainly interested in sedimentary rocks. But a fantastic story of crustal growth during the Precambrian Eon was unraveled in the 1990's and now the story of the Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite is one of my favorite stories to tell on river trips and guided hikes.

Here the Zoroaster Granite (pink) has intruded into dark black meta-basalt rocks called amphibolite.

Traveling down the river in the Inner Gorge above Bass Rapid.

We were able to complete a great hike on the North Bass Trail from our camp at Hotauta Canyon. This was six-mile round trip hike into Shinumo Canyon and William W. Bass's Shinumo Gardens.

Looking back down to the river in the Upper Granite Gorge.

 Group picture at the saddle along the trail.

Tilted and faulted layers in the Grand Canyon Supergroup beckons our hikers into Shinumo Canyon. The Supergroup contains nine different formations and two groups of formations. They have a cumulative thickness of over 12,000 feet. This entire sequence was deposited across the whole Grand Canyon region by the latest Precambrian. Later uplift, faulting, and erosion removed most of it but the faulted blocks that remained lowest in the ancient landscape escaped this erosion and thus preserved as isolated blocks within the canyon.

Artifacts from W. W. Bass's Shinumo Gardens location.

More meta-basalt in the Middle Granite Gorge.

This is a spectacular part of the canyon that can normally be seen only on river trips. There are very few trails in this section of the canyon.

We were very lucky to find the Stone Creek camp open and available to us when we arrived near the end of our day. This is one of the most popular camps along the river in Grand Canyon.

Scenic relaxation!

Group shot at the Stone Creek waterfall.

Colorful scene along the river near Tapeats Creek.

The Owl Eyes beneath the Great Thumb Mesa are alcoves that have formed along the Kaibab-Toroweap contact.

Making our way back into the Deer Creek Narrows. The cliffs are composed of Tapeats Sandstone and the ledges are formed in thin shale horizons.

A barrel cactus as seen from above.

At the Deer Creek "patio" is this interesting contact. The view is to the west so the bedded deposits on the left (south) are covered with landslide debris that came from the right (north). The contact represents an old canyon wall that was north-facing before it was covered in the landslide debris. I wonder if this canyon wall might have been within the canyon of the Colorado River or maybe Tapeats Creek before the landslide caused the reorganization of the drainage system? Whatever the story, something big happened here!

Back in the main canyon looking west from Deer Creek, we can see more spectacular evidence from a landslide - Poncho's Radical Run-up. Note the rusty-brown dolomite layer in the Bright Angel Shale in place on the far left. This is viewed within the south wall of Grand Canyon. But note also that this same layer can be seen in the lower right on top of the dark brown cliff and trending up through the center of the photograph to near the upper left. This is where the rusty-brown dolomite from the north side of the canyon became mobilized in a landslide and in-filled the canyon of the river. It actually ran uphill from the momentum of the slide. A remnant of Redwall Limestone can be seen just left of center in the photograph that was riding on top of the dolomite sled!

Small and intimate camp at Olo Canyon with the river nearby.

Another spring along the river.

We took a very nice hike along Havasu Creek. On this trip we visited two of three largest springs in Arizona - Fossil Springs is the other outside of the Grand Canyon.

Walker Mackay was a great leader for this trip and executed the itinerary to perfection. Thank you Walker and great thanks to all of our rafting companions!