A swirling, twisting sandstone formation in northern Arizona is evidence of Noah's flood, says a West Richland man who recently visited the unusual geologic phenomenon.
Greg Morgan, a nuclear safety engineer at Hanford, said he was amazed to see sandstone resembling waves, whirlpools and reversing currents that appear to have been frozen in place.
Morgan's photographs of The Wave and his article, "Flood Currents Frozen in Stone," are in the latest issue of Answers magazine, a quarterly publication of Answers in Genesis, a Christian creation research organization based in Petersburg, Ky. The nonprofit organization's 70,000-square-foot facility also houses the Creation Museum.
Mike Matthews, editor of Answers, said the way the layers of sandstone came to rest at Paria Canyon "fits with the viewpoint that these are flood layers."
But the strongest evidence of a global flood is in the sandstone itself, he said.
"It's that the layers themselves have been traced out worldwide, even to Europe and the Mideast," Mathews said.
The Wave at Paria provides a little more -- what Matthews called important "signature details."
Morgan, who is a mechanical engineer and worked in the aviation industry before coming to Hanford, said he was shocked when he first saw a picture of The Wave because it contradicted his original thinking about an ancient Earth and evolution.
Morgan, who became a Christian as an adult and takes the Bible literally, said the convoluted formations at Paria Canyon forced him to consider there must be another explanation.
"There are no broken rocks. All of this happened when it was still mud," Morgan said.
Morgan first visited The Wave at Paria Canyon in 2008 and again in September, each time taking many photographs he later could study.
The whirlpools suggest the stone was flowing, as if it was a slurry of sand that suddenly froze in place, he said.
"This is excellent evidence for Noah's flood. It is far better than what anyone believes for an ancient Earth," Morgan said.
The formation itself is classified as Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, and according to conventional "old Earth" geology, was formed 200 million years ago when seasonal winds laid down the layers to create the dramatic land forms.
Morgan explains it differently in his article for Answers magazine.
"Creation geologists believe huge sand waves were piled up and laid down deep under the ocean water. The fast currents then created tell-tale features, known as cross beds or 'striations,' with the steep cut-offs we see today," Morgan wrote in support of a global flood event.
The article also mentions that the sand at The Wave has been identified as having come from the Appalachians, about 1,800 miles to the east.
Moses' account in Genesis of Noah's flood describes a worldwide inundation that covered even the tallest mountains.
Morgan, who initially thought The Wave was just an example of water and wind erosion cutting through many layers of sandstone, says the evidence at Paria Canyon shows "what Moses wrote was true."
"I may be the first among creation geologists to openly promote this as evidence of Noah's flood," he said.
If such a cataclysmic flood event deposited the twisted layers of sand and whirlpools that later were to turn to stone, then how did the flood currents frozen in stone become exposed in a waterless desert?
Morgan believes a second flood catastrophe -- perhaps similar to the Ice Age floods that scoured Eastern Washington thousands of years ago -- unleashed icy waters that ravaged the Southwest, as well.
That would account for the rapid erosion in Paria Canyon and in the Grand Canyon, which is about 70 miles south of The Wave, he said.
"About half the people I've talked to say, 'Yeah, that's proof the Earth is young,' " Morgan said.
Andrew Snelling, who has a doctorate in geology and is a content editor for Answers magazine, said two items of evidence at Paria Canyon point to a massive flood event.
One concerns analysis of grinds in the sandstone at Paria, which match mineral sources in the Appalachians. It would take a lot of wave action to move sand that far, he said.
And the sheer size of the Paria sandstone cross beds, at more than 100 feet thick, would need a massive wave -- a tsunami-sized wall of water -- in order to be laid down as they are. Snelling said such a wave would have to be twice as high as the bed of sand it deposits, which is on the scale of a global flood.
"The volume of sand we see out there is enormous. We don't see anything like that happening today," Snelling noted.
The Wave is reached by walking about six miles from the Vermillion Cliffs near Kanab, Utah, but a permit from the Bureau of Land Management is required.
To minimize human-caused erosion, only 20 permits are issued daily. Ten are through an online lottery, and the other 10 are at the Paria Ranger Station on Highway 89 west of Page, Ariz., during the summer, and at the ranger station on the east end of Kanab between November through March.
Morgan said hiking in the six miles or so is not for people with health issues or for children, and carrying at least a gallon of water per person is advised.
Good maps and a compass or GPS are essential for the trek in and out. There is no marked trail, but six checkpoints are established to provide critical information along the way.
Morgan said he and his hiking partners ran out of water on his first trip to The Wave three years ago.
And the most recent visit turned into an unexpected adventure when one member of Morgan's group wandered off and lost visual contact with the others. A helicopter rescue was needed to locate and bring him to the trailhead.
Morgan said the "misplaced hiker" spent the night alone but was otherwise unharmed.
Morgan is available at 554-6572 to talk to small groups about The Wave and to show photographs of the sandstone formations.
For more information about The Wave, go to www.blm.gov/az/st/en/arolrsmain/ paria/coyote_buttes.html.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org