A short Book Review
By Fr. Abram Abdelmalek
Footprints in the Ash
Explosive Story of Mount St. Helens
by John Morris and Steve Austin
One of the creation geology classics that must be read to understand how the present catastrophic events can help us decode how the earth was formed in the past through the “Flood Geology”.
The authors, who are renowned creation geologists, studied the eruption of “St. Helens’ Volcano” in May 18, 1980 to draw a comparison, though not to scale, to what would have happened during and after Noah’s flood according to the biblical account in Gen 6 -9.
They started the book by describing the environment and topography of the area. They, then, stated the tools they were going to use from field geological observations to remote sensing technology that was available at the time. They recorded the chronicles before, during and after the eruptions, sometimes to the second by second events, and hinted to known and speculative previous eruptions. The book describes the events as devastating and rapid cataclysmic ones, started with earthquakes (more than 3000), the latest before the eruption was followed by a debris avalanche, which was immediately followed by steam explosion that caused a tidal wave. A thick mud flow started short after and uprooted all vegetations and big trees in the path and killed what is left of animals life. That was followed by a pyroclastic flow and airborne tephra that turned the day into night in so many surrounding states. All the above events indicate a rapid erosion processes that if was tackled by uniformity they would have interpreted to take at least a million year, where in fact it was a matter of days if not hours.
The authors then directed their attention to the rapid deposition in these very energetic currents. A total of 160 m of sediments were deposited and sorted out in size and shape in less than 2 years. Surprisingly, the sediments were solidified enough as rocks in about 5 years. Even the tree trunks and logs turned into petrified wood. The sedimentary rocks contained rapidly formed clastic dykes, rapidly buried fossils and peat themes. The developed strata consisted of laminated and cross bedded sandstone with interbedding of ash deposits as the volcano erupted 5 times. They also observed a raised shoreline at 8m height just after 5 years of pumping water out of the lake.Age dating was performed on the new volcanic dome and indicated an age as deep as 2.4 MY by the K – Ar technique, with an average age of 350,00 years for all mineral age dating techniques.
The landscape of the affected area was developed rapidly in diverse forms, including, canyons, grooving of bed rocks, badland topography and drainage system.
The book investigates also the deposition in the adjacent Spirit Lake where tree logs displayed the polystrata phenomenon. Deposition of these tree logs and branches rapidly formed peat that was changing quickly to coal beds.
Natural repopulating the devastated area with plant and animal lives took only just few years.
The book finishes off on a spiritual note on God’s control and providence.
An additional bonus of the book is the beautiful illustrations and photos and elegant production. May God bless the authors and all those helped in producing such a great read