Fluidisation Pipe: Cone shaped sandstone column piercing a thick layer of bedded sandstone. Photo by David Rawlings

A few years ago, some geologists in Australia were objecting in print to the idea of interpreting geology in terms of the Bible and Noah’s Flood.1 They argued that it was impossible to explain the rocks of the world within a 6,000-year time-frame, even allowing for a year-long global flood. For some reason they had not appreciated that the evidences of large-scale, watery catastrophe in the geological record2 are just what we would expect from the global Flood of the Bible.3 Indeed, one vivid illustration was featured on the cover of the same issue of the magazine in which their objections were published.4

The cover (right) showed a bedded sandstone formation in a remote part of Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve, Northern Territory, Australia. The sedimentary bedding varies in thickness from thin to medium, and is sub-horizontal. Altogether the sandstone pictured, which is quite friable, is over 5 m thick.

This particular outcrop is part of a 340-m-thick unit called the McKay Sandstone within the mildly-deformed McArthur Basin of northern Australia. The unit comprises medium- to coarse-grained sandstone together with minor fine-grained sandstone, granules, pebbles and basalt.5 It has been classified as Paleoproterozoic, based on interpretations of U-Pb dating of zircons from igneous units in the area.5,6

In the picture, a large, cylindrical structure cuts vertically across the bedding of the sedimentary rock. The diameter of the columnar structure is not constant, but varies from 1.3–1.7 m over its length.

Like the surrounding sedimentary rock, the column is composed of sandstone, but in this case it is unbedded, except for vague vertical layering, concentric with its circumference. The base of the column sits on top of a fine-grained basalt sill 3–4 m thick. The top of the sill has a ropy surface and contacts baked and vuggy7 sandstone and mudstone, in places brecciated. The sill contains distinctly zoned amygdales8 that are larger in the middle of the sill….

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