Earth’s sedimentary crust



Prevalent Theory of Origin

It is the concensus of geologists that all sedimentary rocks in Earth’s outer crust were derived from older, igneous, crystalline rock masses. Kuenan elucidates this belief by saying (Marine Geology, p. 386): “All sediments are formed from weathered, older rocks, ultimately from igneous rocks.” Dr. Frederick B. Peck, geologist, writing on the subject of “Rocks” in Encyclopedia Americana, says that “the oldest known rocks, the original or primitive rocks from which all others have been derived, are of igneous origin. . . .” Bradley, in The Earth and Its History, says (p. 185):

In the beginning, all rocks were of igneous origin; but by the time the Earth had acquired an atmosphere, the work of chemical and mechanical destruction had begun. From the resulting debris the first sedimentary rocks were formed. Thereafter throughout all geological time rock waste has accumulated in depressions in Earth’s surface. In all cases such debris was derived from preexisting rocks, whether igneous, older sedimentary or meta-morphic.

Inasmuch as geological writings and teachings do not explicitly expound them, apparently there is neither a definite concept as to when the igneous rocks came into existence, nor a precise theory as to the manner in which they were formed. Evidently, it must be thought that as and when Earth’s seething core had cooled sufficiently so that it could happen, a heterogeneous molten mixture of all elements and most compounds, previously formed and already contained within that molten mass, solidified into a shell, or crust, of igneous, crystalline rock, from which the first continents and ocean basins were shaped. It must be presumed that after that barren, crumpled shell, or crust, had cooled and formed in place on the outside of Earth’s core, and just as soon as decreasing heat of the core permitted, all water in Earth’s present hydrosphere descended from the heavens above. Thereupon began weathering, erosion, leaching, transport and redeposition of sediments derived from that igneous shell.

It is held and freely stated by geologists that first one regional area of the igneous crust, then another, was uplifted into mountains or highlands, from which sediments were eroded and transported to accumulate deposits on other areas which at the time were submerged beneath the seas. The theory is that as one elevated region after another was peneplained in supplying sediments for other areas, the peneplained regions subsided below sea level so that they could in turn receive their covers of sediments from other mountainous areas. Thus the theory inescapably means that accumulation of sediments on any particular area, anywhere throughout the world, was an interrupted, intermittent, regional process. It definitely precludes the possibility that continuous, planetary deposition, as opposed to regional, could have taken place. The theory entails so many contradictions, improbabilities and inconsistent assumptions that surely it has survived only because no other idea has been conceived. In pages to follow, another hypothesis, based upon physical law and visible evidence, will be presented. But first let us review some other suppositions which are commonly held.

Components of Igneous Rock

The concept that all consolidated and unconsolidated mineral compounds and elements in Earth’s sedimentary supercrust were derived from older igneous rocks demands that the source rocks must have contained all the elements and compounds now found in the supercrust, except, of course, compounds formed by chemical action during the process of weathering and denudation. Due to the absence of intense heat, the only reagents and catalysts present during the process of weathering, leaching, erosion and transport were water, air and the chemicals they contained. Therefore, it must be assumed that igneous source rocks contained, either in pure or compound forms, nearly one hundred elements, including aluminum, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, chlorine, sulphur, carbon, silicon, etc., etc., etc. These elements or compounds of them are found world-wide in sedimentary deposits.

If all elements and most compounds were contained within Archean igneous rock, even the most volatile of those elements and compounds must have been held prisoner within the molten, burning mass while the mass was still incandescent and while it was cooling and hardening into a solid crystalline crust. Because of the high volatility of many elements and compounds, this seems quite impossible. Furthermore, some elements and compounds are entirely missing in igneous rocks today. Igneous rocks do not contain sufficient percentages of other minerals to have been the source of those minerals. For instance, sodium chloride: The prevailing theory is that salt was leached out of igneous rock and carried to the seas by water.

Salt in Oceans

The amount of salt in the oceans is almost inconceivable. It is estimated that if the Atlantic Ocean alone were evaporated, enough pure salt would be left behind to equal the combined volume of all the mountain ranges on Earth! Besides the salt in oceans, there are vast salt beds distributed widely throughout many land areas of the world. Ladoo and Myers, in Non-Metallic Minerals (pp. 436-37), say: “Salt deposits occur in sedimentary rocks of nearly all geologic ages since the early Cambrian.” They point out that the great Permian salt beds in the United States cover an area of about 100,000 square miles and in places are more than 2,700 feet thick. In Germany, a test boring was put down through 5,000 feet of halite without reaching the bottom of the bed. Other great deposits exist in many places over the globe.

The “bar theory” of Ochsenius to account for accumulation of such inland salt beds is generally accepted. This theory assumes that salt in the beds came from ocean water which flowed over “bars” into inland basins and evaporated as fast as it came in. How the salt previously got into the ocean gives no concern. According to the prevailing theory of its origin, the salt must have made a round trip from igneous rocks on land to the ocean and then back again to the land. Inasmuch as Archean igneous rocks contain, at the most, only an infinitesimal percentage of sodium chloride, an incredibly vast volume of such rocks would have been required to account for all the salt in the oceans.

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