Sediment transportation and deposition mechanisms responsible for the placement of the Phanerozoic stratigraphy (i.e., Cambrian through Cretaceous Periods) in about a year pose a significant quandary for Creationists. How might incredible volumes of sediment move on continent-wide scales in time frames of days? Marine sedimentologists are now arguing that underwater debris flows are the primary way sediment moves in the modern deep ocean (Parsons et. al., 2007). Creationists are arguing that underwater debris flows were a primary agent in the Genesis Flood, producing some substantial deposits such as bedded limestones (Austin, 2003, 2005). These debris flows are now generally believed to be laminar, subcritical, pressurized and liquefied slurries that move with extremely low friction, essentially as hydroplaning wings (Kranenburg, 1978; Mohrig et. al., 1998; Mulder and Alexander, 2001).

When studying an underwater debris flow, does it end by becoming frictional, fluidized and freezing rapidly as is observed in many terrestrial debris flows? Or, does an underwater debris flow end by becoming turbulent, ingesting fluid and transforming into a tractive current? If a debris flow freezes rapidly, there will be no indication of flow transformation and there will be no transitions to study resulting in a lateral disconformity. If the flow does not frictionally freeze, the deposit should be laterally contiguous and have potential flow transformations to study.

Lateral study of the stratigraphy, bed forms and textures of the Whitmore Nautiloid Bed (Austin, 2003, 2005; Stansbury, 2003, 2010) through Arizona and Nevada offer an exceptional opportunity to answer these primary questions.


Debris flows, subaqueous, hyperconcentrated, concentrated, turbidity, flow transformation, Whitmore Nautiloid Bed, Redwall Limestone


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