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Mouth of Colorado River doesn't have enough sediment for Grand Canyon (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Mouth of Colorado River doesn't have enough sediment for Grand Canyon (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 CD210:

There is nowhere near enough sediment deposited at the mouth of the Colorado River to account for 10 million years worth of erosion.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The Colorado River delta itself is quite extensive. It covers 3325 square miles and is up to 3.5 miles deep, containing over 10,000 cubic miles of the Colorado River's sediments from the last 2 to 3 million years.

The claim is that there is not enough sediment at the mouth of the Colorado River for 10 million years worth of erosion. Talk.Origins says that there is only enough for 2-3 million years, assuming current rates. 2-3 million years is less than 10 million years, so Talk.Origins has only succeeded in proving this claim to be 100% correct.

Much of this delta was probably formed by sediments from the recession of the flood. The river's flow rate and erosion rates would have been much higher than it is today. Furthermore if a later flood carved the Grand Canyon the resulting increased sedimentation rate would have helped build it up quickly.

  • The sediments that were deposited by the river more than 2 to 3 million years ago have been shifted northwestward by movement along the San Andreas and related faults.

What Talk.Origins is not saying is that the Colorado River flows south into its delta and that the entire delta is on the Pacific plate. As such not only would newer deposits tend to be further south than older ones no matter how fast the deposition rate was in the past, but the entire delta is moving in the same direction so this is most likely a calculation based on current plate movements and not any kind of objectively measurable displacement from the delta.


  • Sediments have also accumulated elsewhere. Some were deposited in flood plains between the delta and the Grand Canyon.

Exactly what would have occurred if the Canyon was carved by a catastrophic flood. This is not necessarily the Genesis Flood—it could have been a post-Flood event.

  • Wind is a major erosional force in parts of the Colorado River basin. Some sediments from Colorado and Wyoming were blown as far as the Atlantic Ocean.

So what, this hardly negates the fact that the original claim is correct.


  • Much of the strata exposed in the Grand Canyon are limestone and dolomite. These rocks eventually simply would have dissolved.

This fact helps to show that the Grand Canyon could have been carved quickly. It could have been sped up greatly by sulfuric acid, since limestone and dolomite dissolve readily in sulfuric acid.

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