Home > Drumlins, The flood > Michael Oard’s rapid ice age

Michael Oard’s rapid ice age

February 20, 2012

In his article Where Does the Ice Age Fit? Michael Oard argues that there was only one Ice Age, and it was a rapid one. He claims that it followed the flood described in Genesis. The time from the end of the flood, to the melting of the ice, he estimated to be 700 years. He wrote:

Most creationists agree that there was one major Ice Age following the Flood. The timing of the Ice Age is quite significant, since uniformitarians claim that each ice age over the past 800,000 years lasted about 100,000 years. To estimate the time for a post-Flood Ice Age, we need to know how long the volcanism lasted and the cooling time of the oceans. Once these two mechanisms for the Ice Age wane, the ice sheets will reach a maximum and then begin to melt. So, an estimate of the time for the Ice Age can be worked out based on the available moisture for snow and the cooling time of the ocean (the primary mechanism) in a cool post-Flood climate.

I used budget equations for the cooling of the ocean and atmosphere, which are simply based on heat inputs minus heat outputs–the difference causing the change in temperatures. Since there is no way to be precise, I used minimums and maximums for the variables in the equations in order to bracket the time. The best estimate is about 500 years after the Flood to reach glacial maximum with an average ice and snow depth of about 2,300 feet (700 m) in the Northern Hemisphere and 4,000 feet (1,220 m) on Antarctica.

Once the conditions for the Ice Age ended, those ice sheets in unfavorable areas melted rapidly. Antarctica and Greenland, possessing a favorable latitude and altitude, would continue to grow during deglaciation and afterward. To calculate the melting rate for the ice sheets over North America and Eurasia, I used the energy balance over a snow cover, which gives a faster rate than the uniformitarians propose based on their models.

An energy balance equation is a straightforward and more physical method of calculating the melt rate. Using maximum and minimum values for the variable in the melt equation, I obtained a best estimate of the average melt rate along the periphery (a 400-mile [645-km] long strip) of the ice sheet in North America at about 33 feet/year (10 m/year). Such a melting rate compares favorably with current melt rates for the melting zones of Alaskan, Icelandic, and Norwegian glaciers today. At this rate, the periphery of the ice sheets melts in less than 100 years. Interior areas of ice sheets would melt more slowly, but the ice would be gone in about 200 years. The ice sheets melt so fast, catastrophic flooding would be expected, such as with the bursting of glacial Lake Missoula described later in this chapter.

Therefore, the total length of time for a post-Flood Ice Age is about 700 years. It was indeed a rapid Ice Age. This is an example of bringing back the Flood into earth history. As a result, processes that seem too slow at today’s rates were much faster in the past. The Flood was never disproved; it was arbitrarily rejected in the 1700s and 1800s by secular intellectuals in favor of slow processes over millions of years.

Oard criticizes the uniformitarians for their long ages view, but in reality Oard’s views are constrained by the assumptions of the uniformitarian James Hutton, who declared that all the rounded stones in the earth have been formed by rolling around in stream beds or on beaches at the earth’s surface. This assumption underlies Oard’s belief in Ice Ages, the chief evidence for which is the layer of unconsolidated drift, in areas supposed to have been glaciated in the Pleistocene.

Oard’s idea of a rapid ice age does not address the main problem that the Glacial Theory is meant to solve, which is, how was the unconsolidated layer of drift formed? How were all the stones and pebbles in it rounded? If a rapid Ice Age is proposed, then some method should be described for all these stones to have been rounded rapidly. Oard failed to do that. Even in the conventional glacial theory, this remains a problem, as the depth of the layer of drift averages 30 m in wide areas, and extends to more than 300 m in certain locations in central Michigan, southeastern Ontario, and New York. In the conventional view, every rounded stone in the drift layer must be rolled about at the earth’s surface, for some period of time, to have become round and smooth. In the present world, the environments where this can occur are limited. In deep water, no movement of the stones occurs; and in most rivers, the movement of the stones on the stream bed is limited. Trout fishermen who stand in the middle of rapidly flowing streams do not worry about their toes being bumped by stones being rolled along by the currents.

The problem of how all the stones in the drift could have been exposed at the surface, to be rolled by steams or by the movement of the ice above, is a very thorny one, and it is one that few have even considered; it is exacerbated if the Ice Age was a short one. Oard’s position is quite untenable.

Drumlin variation in Wayne Co., NY

In the glacial theory, ice is supposed to have flowed from the centers of former ice sheets and carved drumlins that record the flow directions of the ice. The variety in drumlin size and shape also suggests things about the rate of flow of the ice. By analogy with snowdrifts or flutes caused by currents in sandy stream beds, large, wide drumlins would indicate a slower flow than those that are highly streamlined, which point to a fast flow rate. Below is an image compiled from the United States Geological Survey data showing the variations in drumlins. Note that those at the north near the Lake Ontario shoreline are larger, wider, and more rounded than those in the center and in the south where elevation is increased.

Drumlin Field: Wayne County, NY

A thoughtful study of the image would lead one to wonder, if indeed an ice sheet flowing southward formed the drumlins, how could its speed increase in the south? When ice was being pushed uphill, it could hardly move any faster than the ice at the rear that was giving it the push.

This seems to be a flaw in the glacial interpretation of the drumlins. The patterns in the drumlins seen here are much more simply explained by the streamlining action of former catastrophic currents. If the whole area shown was submerged, and there was a current flow towards the south caused by an uplift of a submerged area in the north, perhaps in the Canadian Shield, the patterns in the drumlins such as those seen above would be expected, because at higher elevations, the depth of the water would be less, and the continuity of flow would require an increase in the velocity of the stream at relatively higher elevations.

In parts of the area shown in the image there are traces of formerly large drumlins that were carved up into clusters of smaller ones, while the general outline of the previous form remains. This phenomenon is seen in many drumlin fields of the world and it also suggests fluvial action rather than ice motion. It is an effect of increased current velocity and decreasing depth of water, consistent with uplift of formerly submerged land, spilling the currents onto surrounding areas, and eventually emerging above the water.

The subglacial glacial meltwater hypothesis does not explain the variations in drumlin form shown here because in the meltwater hypothesis velocity of flow is not dependent on relative elevation, but on other conditions. Only if the drumlins were carved by water currents, during a large scale regional uplift, are patterns in drumlin form such as those in the above image explained.

  1. March 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Thank you for this, I don’t understand how ice could form streamlined structuren like drumlines. I see traces of the flood everywhere. Chanelled scablands is wonderful proof of giant flooding, but neocatastrofists claim that it was caused by a giant glacial lake missoula outburst. Why does creationists accept this? There is no traces of an ice-dam in lake pend oreille and when looking at google earth with terrain it is obvious that it has been a flashflood from the north, not a glaciar. Sure enough, when I googled it some scientists have thought of it in a new thesis:
    Except they claim this ALSO was caused by a GLOF but from lake purcell. So convenient for ice-agers that the lack of traces from the ice can now be explained by a later GLOF from the north. I wonder how many GLOFs they will postulate in the end.

    Best regards,
    Erik O.

  2. June 19, 2013 at 2:22 am

    I asked creation.com about this and here follows an answer from Mike Oard:

    Dear Erik
       Douglas Cox has brought up, and I see continues to bring up, several difficulties with the ice age, especially the origin of drumlins. He makes the mistake that mysteries and difficulties mean there was no ice age. However, there are hundreds of pieces of evidence for an ice age, as observed by moraines, stratched bedrock, the Lake Missoula flood in the northwest United States, etc. I have written extensively about all this with abundant photos. Some of the difficulites are because of the uniformitarain assumptions that secular scientists apply. Other difficulites are truly difficulites that are the subject of future research.
    Mike Oard
    Bozeman, MT USA

  3. August 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    A Green Age after the Global Flood and a Catastrophic Ice Age in the days of Peleg

    An ICR article proposes that the earth was ”riverized” during the days of Peleg:
    Rightly “Dividing” the Word about Peleg : Was Earth’s unusual “division” in Peleg’s lifetime a linguistic event or a geological event?”

    The days of Peleg could have happened about the same time as the tower of Babel and about the same time that rivers and river channels formed. Rivers are used as boundaries so the formation of rivers at this time would also help divide and separate people. The name Peleg appears to have a couple of definitions regarding rivers and also division associated with languages.

    Geological events in the days of Peleg, when river channels formed

    What was happening when river channels formed? The Columbia River lava flows were hot when the Columbia River channel was eroded. The Columbia River now runs through hundreds of miles of this basalt channel.

    Mountains were rising as these channels formed. There was volcanic activity. Creationists will generally agree with this was happening, but the debate is whether this happened at the end of the global flood or during the days of Peleg.

    A Green Age after the Global Flood

    Evidence suggests there was a “green age” up until the days of Peleg. The fossils of the Columbia River lava flows lived when there was a wetter and milder climate. These plants existed before the Cascade Mountains rose and cut off the wet and mild weather from the Pacific Ocean. These plant fossils are part of the Latah Formation which is interbed with the Columbia River Basalt Group.

    A green age after the global flood makes more sense than an ice age that kept the world cold for hundreds of years. Lower mountains, wetter and milder weather, and land bridges between continents are more logical. This would have allowed plants and animals to flourish. It would have allowed animals to more easily travel and repopulate the earth.

    A Relatively short and Catastrophic Ice Age

    If the authors are correct about the Columbia River channel forming during the days of Peleg, it suggests the ice age was a relatively short and catastrophic event at this time. The ice age could not begin until the mountains rose and ended the green age. Evidence also suggests the channeled scablands (eroded by ice-age floods) of eastern Washington State formed at the same as the Columbia River channel. Both are eroded into basalt of the Columbia River Basalt Group. These erosional features likely formed while the lava and basalt was still hot.

    Here are a few examples that suggest a catastrophic ice age during the days of Peleg:

    -A lava flow in an ice-age cave. Lava appears to have flowed into the cave when it was formed in an ice-age flood.
    -Soap Lake appears to be a volcanic lake. Soap Lake has volcanic ash (bentonite) in and around the lake. Soap Lake was formed by an ice-age flood in the Columbia River basalt.
    -“The Withrow moraine remains enigmatic as it appears to contain both depositional and erosional landform elements, including eroded bedrock, and extensive channelization breaches the moraine in many places.”(1) – Again, lava and hot basalt explain these features.
    -“Observational evidence indicates that the terrain where these mountains now exist, in many if not most cases, was nearly flat and near sea level when the recent intense pulse of uplift began.” From “Recent Rapid Uplift of Today’s Mountains”. (2)
    -The Latah Formation has delicate leaf fossils interbed with the Columbia River Basalt Group (3). These delicate leaf fossils do not appear to be part of the global flood. They lie above thousands of feet of the sedimentary Belt Supergroup.
    -The Clarkia Fossils formed in a lake behind a lava dam near Clarkia, ID (4). These well perserved fossils do not appear to be part of the global flood. They also lie above thousands of feet of the sedimentary Belt Supergroup.
    -The Purcell Trench north of Lake Pend Oreille has more glacial lake sediments than glacial lake Missoula. This is the opposite of what one would expect.
    -There was a lava dam at the south end of Lake Pend Oreille (5). This is the same location as the alleged ice dam. This lava dam suggests the ice-age floods happened during the time of the Columbia River lava flows.

    (1)“Regional reconstruction of subglacial hydrology and glaciodynamic behavior along the southern margin of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet in British Columbia, Canada and northern Washington State, USA”, Jerome-Etienne Lesemann, Tracy A. Brennand
    (2) “Recent Rapid Uplift of Today’s Mountains”, John Baumgardner, Institute for Creation Research article
    (3) “Flora Of The Latah Formation of Spokane, Washington, and Coeur D’alene, Idaho”, J. T. Pardee and Kirk Bryan
    (4) “Guidebook and Road Log to the St. Maries River {Clarkia) Fossil Area of Northern Idaho”. Charles J. Smiley, William C. Rember
    (5) Geologic History of Pend Oreille Lake Region in North Idaho, By C. N. Savage, July I 1965


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