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Origins of Salt

11 September 2018

Robert Maximus has a thread on the thunderbolts forum on catastrophist geology and at one point the discussion moves to the origin of rock salt – and Robert quotes from https://creation.com/magmatic-origin-salt-deposits .. large formations of rock salt are found on all the continents. Oil and gas often coincide with salt deposits – in the North Sea basin for example. Salt deposits are often described as 'evaporites' (left behind by a former sea). The evaporation model requires the evaporation of an astonishing deep body of water, a process that would require a very long period of time. The latter, of course, is grist to the mill of uniformitarianism – but there is a problem according to this web site author. He is of course troubled by the fact that evaporites would disprove the young earth model of the past – favoured by Creationists. So, being sceptical of both sides here appears to be the best policy. However, the alternative view of this blog site is that there is a fundamental flaw in the mainstream evaporite hypothesis – and they devote several pages to outline their criticism. The flaw revolves around the thickness, volume, and the structure as well as the purity of the salt formations. A more feasible model, he says, is to regard salt rock as the product of igneous halite magma – which is of course a very good catastrophist explanation. In fact it is an excellent catastrophist explanation as noted by Robert Maximus. Magmas melt, flow readily, and account for the presence of salt deposits in coal seams, and close to oil and gas deposits. A modern parallel even exists near a volcano in Tanzania's section of the Great Rift Valley, where salt formations can be seen to have been emplaced rapidly by igneous processes.

Of course the web site author favours this process as it allows rapidity of formation and therefore keeps alive the young earth idea – even though the young earth concept seems to be a concoction derived from number symbolism. In other words the Biblical time scale is artificial (as far as time and distance is concerned). Genesis does not necessarily support a young earth – as noted by Custance and others. In a catastrophist model of the past both volcanism and evaporation may have played a role. Pole shift involves the displacement of oceans and seas – the drowning of continental shelf and the emergence of continental shelf. It is not impossible, from that perspective, that a realigned geoid would lay bare some areas of former ocean or sea – and evaporation could then have proceeded apace. Has the evaporative model ever been challenged by geologists? Yes.

Creationist geology often goes where others fear to travel. Therefore they are a useful source for catastrophists to explore – without necessarily agreeing fully with what is being said. Creationist web sites regularly challenge mainstream consensus and while some of this can perhaps be dismissed there are occasions when one might think a bit deeper into the implications. The origin of salt is one such consensus hypothesis that perhaps does not hold water. For example, evaporation of sea water would require a shallow sea and hot weather with lots of sunshine- yet rock salt formations can be incredibly deep and occur in cool locations as well as warm ones. Does this immediately disprove the evaporite theory? In some cases it must do – unless uniformitarians are going to advance the idea that evaporation occurred on multiple occasions at precisely the same location. The geological timescale is on their side – but reality may not be. Rock salt is found all over the world and it exists deep under the ground (where it is mined as in Cheshire). These deposits date from a variety of periods from the Permian and the Jurassic to the Miocene etc. Could they have been formed during global catastrophic events – at the Permian/Jurassic boundary for example (which might bolster the igneous theory). Until recently most geologists have assumed evaporites formed in a tidal flats environment (as the theory originally postulated). Rock deposits can be extremely thick which seems to rule out tidal flats – even repeated episodes. Hydrothermal water evaporites have been proposed as a mechanism – which means a marine origin is still on the cards. However, the author points out the evaporites model would need to be in regions of high sunlight and low rainfall if the sea water alone was to evaporate – a distinct problem for mainstream. He even quotes James Hutton, it emerges, who held a different opinion (a Creationist supporting the views of the early uniformitarians is unusual but Hutton did not know about the evaporite hypothesis) after visiting salt mines near Droitwich in 1774. He thought an igneous origin was possible – the temperature required to melt salt and create a salt magma are well within the range of magmatic temperatures for silica magmas which are common in the stratigraphic record etc. In addition, the author considers water could create the typical accessory deposits around salt formations like anhydrite and calcite. Sea water would also be the source of the occasional marine fossils found in salt deposits – mostly algae and plankton. In addition the crystalisation and cooling of the salt magma after emplacement will cause segregation of the different salts into layers within the core of the deposit as found in rock salt formations (and so on). Salt formations can be found along the line of the Great Rift Valley – from Syria to Mozambique (including the Dead Sea).

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