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Erosion rate of Niagara Falls' rim indicates young earth (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Erosion rate of Niagara Falls' rim indicates young earth (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CD610:

The rim of Niagara Falls erodes at four to five feet per year, indicating that it could not be more than 10,000 years old. Therefore, the earth is not more than 10,000 years old.

Source:


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The age of Niagara Falls is not the age of the earth. Geologists estimate that Niagara Falls originated about 7,000 years ago, sometime after the end of the last glacial episode. This says nothing about how old the rest of the earth is, though.

Neither of Talk Origins' cited sources for this claim allege that the age of Niagara Falls proves that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. They both simply show that the after-effects of the Genesis Flood would have sped up the erosion rate of Niagara Falls, making it younger than 7,000 years.

Talk Origins is using a Straw Man here.


Niagara Falls is also interesting for creationists because Charles Lyell originally used the erosion rate of the falls to defend uniformitarian concepts about the age of the earth. He, however, rejected local claims of an erosion rate of three feet per year, and chose an erosion rate of 1 foot per year because that gave 35,000 years of time, which fit his model better. Creationists want to point out that Lyell's original arguments were incorrect, since the measured rate was much higher than one foot per year, and thus Niagara Falls fits in with shorter time scales. The final stages of a global flood would need even less time to bring about the erosion seen on the Niagara river.

The present rate of erosion is about one foot per year because of the large amounts of water diverted to the hydroelectric plant and the Welland Canal.

Related References

  • Niagara Falls; A Uniformitarian Failure by John Meyer and Emmett Williams. CRSQ 35:232-233, March 1999.


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