Dr. John Whitmore takes speaks to students at Grand Canyon

For CU geology prof, Grand Canyon rocks may hold young earth clues

by Clem Boyd, Public Relations Staff


Answers in Genesis director of research Dr. Andrew Snelling has been on a four-year quest to collect rock samples from the bottom of the Grand Canyon. When he finally visits the natural wonder to complete this task August 6, Cedarville University geology professor Dr. John Whitmore will be along to help.

While Snelling is the primary researcher, Whitmore will serve as his assistant. They will retrieve samples from the Carbon Canyon area of the national park, and several other areas where folded rock layers of the Tapeats Sandstone can be found.

The rock samples will then be sent to a lab where thin sections will be prepared so Snelling can study the samples under a special microscope. According to Whitmore, researchers will study the rocks looking for minerals and other characteristics that would show whether the folds were made under extreme temperatures and pressures or whether they were made when the rocks were still soft. If the results indicate the folds were made when the rocks were soft, the findings would support the young earth position.

“That would be very exciting,” said Whitmore. “It would be one more line of evidence demonstrating that the rocks of the Grand Canyon are young and not old.”

Once the rocks are studied, results will be published in scientific literature.

In previous research, Snelling and Whitmore have discovered evidence that the Grand Canyon’s rock layers can be interpreted consistent with a Genesis account of creation and the flood that took place thousands of years ago, rather than millions of years ago.

Whitmore has worked in the Grand Canyon on other projects, including examining the origin of the Coconino Sandstone. He uses his field work and findings in the classroom at Cedarville. Every two years, geology students in the sedimentology and stratigraphy class visit the rim of the Grand Canyon to study its rocks firsthand.

In July, Whitmore and Snelling took part in the annual Christian Leaders Trip offered through Canyon Ministries and Answers in Genesis. The two geologists, along with two Bible professors, rafted through the Grand Canyon with other professors, college presidents, and higher education officials and explained the formations from the perspective of Noah’s flood and the Genesis account of creation.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.