Subscribe to this page via e-mail here - Subscribe

Article 0101 - Mt. Saint Helens

The Eruption of Mt. Saint Helens
Its Effect on Uniformitarian Geology

Jon Gary Williams

Uniformitarian geology is the concept that over multiplied millions of years, strata (layers) of the geologic column were deposited separately one upon another. However, on the 18th of May 1980, an enormous geological event took place which shook this view at its foundation. The gigantic eruption of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington is regarded as the most significant geological incident of the 20th century.

How devastating was this eruption? Before Mount St. Helens erupted it stood at 9677 feet above sea level. After the eruption its height was reduced by 1300 feet. One-half cubic mile of earth was blown out of the northern slope and initiated the largest "landslide" ever witnessed by man. The power generated in the initial explosion was equal to 20 million tons of TNT. During the complete nine-hour eruption the energy unleashed was equal to more than 400 million tons of TNT! This is the same energy level found in 20,000 atomic bombs - - the size of those dropped on Japan in World War II.

Huge pieces of earth from the north slope (many the size of a house, some the size of a city block) were catapulted into nearby Spirit Lake. The force of the initial blast sent 550 degree volcanic debris and steam racing northward at more than 90 miles per hour. This surge created a wave in Spirit Lake 850 feet high which rushed upward on slopes miles away. In six minutes 150 square miles of trees were swept away -- more than a billion and a half board feet of timber, enough to build 150,000 three-bedroom homes.

Spirit Lake was vastly changed and for miles the landscape was completely reshaped. Volcanic ash was blown miles into the air and in a few days drifted over eleven states. (As I write, sitting before me is a vial containing volcanic ash gathered by one of my sisters who lived almost 100 miles from the volcano.)

The tremendous eruption of Mount St. Helens and its aftermath have provided a wealth of information about volcanic action heretofore unknown, including evidence that challenges the traditional view of uniformitarian geology. Following the eruption events took place in very short order, creating geologic results which evolutionary geologists have claimed could only take place over many millions of years.

Historical evidence left by this mountain focuses attention on several crucial points. 1) Deep debris and mud flows resulting from volcanic activity can be deposited and then carved into canyons in a relatively short period of time. 2) Stratigraphic layers of earth can be formed by such rapid flows.

A study of the eruption of Mount St. Helens reveals some amazing data. For example, several hundred feet of volcanic debris and mud flows were deposited in lower areas north of the mountain. Photographic documentation shows that in a relatively short time, no more than a few years (before the strata solidified), deep canyons were created as water rushed through these areas. And the remarkable thing about this is that the walls of these canyons are reminiscent of the walls of the Grand Canyon, both being marked by layered strata. In fact, the similarities are so pronounced, one might even think he was looking at some of the smaller gorges of the Grand Canyon. But why is this so significant?

Evolution-oriented geologists assume that over millions of years the Grand Canyon was slowly carved out by gradual river flow. As evidence they point to the multiple layers of strata and claim they could have only been formed individually, one upon another, over different vast periods of time. However, the de facto evidence of the Mount St. Helens' eruption proves them wrong.

That the canyons below Mount St. Helens were formed in a relatively short time no one can dispute. They are new. However, like the Grand Canyon, the walls of these canyons also exhibit distinct stratigraphic layers. So, while it has been assumed that rapid flows resulting from volcanic action could only result in homogenized deposits, this, too, has been disproved.

It is a logical conclusion that the Grand Canyon was also formed in this way. If not, why not? Similar to the Mount St. Helens event, but on a much larger scale, during the great Genesis deluge deposits from the volcanic action of "the fountains of the deep" (Genesis 7:11) were gouged out by enormous amounts of churning water, revealing distinct layers of strata.

North of Mount St. Helens in Spirit Lake more evidence confronting traditional geology has been discovered. This evidence consists of upright trees embedded in the floor of the lake.

Fundamental to the "ancient earth" paradigm is the argument based on so-called petrified "forests." In various locations throughout the world, groups of petrified trees have been found standing in upright positions. It is envisioned that each of these was a "forest"of standing trees which had been buried in the accumulation of sediment as the strata slowly formed and, hence, the trees petrified vertically. Presumably, these so-called "forests" of trees represent eons of geologic time and any explanation that they could form rapidly is unacceptable.

Is this really the way petrified trees are formed? From natural standing wood? No. Such rationale is nothing short of presumptive nonsense. Is there a more plausible explanation for how trees could be preserved in a standing position? Yes.

In the eruption of Mount St. Helens millions of trees were displaced into Spirit Lake. Thousands of them have gradually sunk to the bottom and photographs show that many of these submerged trees (as many as 20,000) sank (and are sinking) vertically. Becoming waterlogged, the larger, heavier ends cause these floating trees to rotate to an upright position. As they become heavier they sink and are mired to the bottom in a standing position. With the passing of time they are being buried by rising sediment. (Incidently, it is now known that wood deposited and buried in such conditions in highly mineralized water can petrify rapidly.) This then factually demonstrates how trees can be displaced and buried vertically in a relatively short time in the aftermath of volcanic action -- not as "forests" of trees buried slowly over eons of time.

Additionally, if, according to traditional geology, trees were petrified in their natural standing position, there should be vast evidence of roots and limbs. However, at the base of the trees in Spirit Lake there are no roots, only jagged stubs, due to the fact that they had been suddenly broken off and shattered. And, likewise, there are no traces of limbs.

Geologists have searched elsewhere for vertical petrified trees, seeking examples which exhibit roots and limbs, but with no success. The reality that such roots and limbs are noticeably absent is devastating to the uniformitarian argument based on so-called petrified "forests."

Just as shattered trees by the thousands have been vertically embedded in Spirit Lake, multiplied millions of trees were no doubt buried in the same way the world over,
as the result of the awesome worldwide volcanic action of the Genesis flood.

Indeed, what a great source of information the Mount St. Helens eruption has been to those who seek to know more about geological phenomena, especially as it relates to the universal, earth-altering Biblical deluge.

[Credit to Dr. Stephen A. Austin for his extensive research of the Mount St. Helens eruption.]