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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The age of the Earth and the magnetic field -more evidence for Creation

Two items of discussion concern dating the Earth and the Flood.   As it happens, the rock layers of the Earth reveal to us that a great Flood event did, in fact, occur, much to the consternation of Darwinists who cannot allow for a Flood, as it sounds a death knell for their pet hypothesis (as does pretty much every major discovery in the world of biology).   

I will be publishing more of Tas Walker's very careful audit of the terrain and rock layers of Australia to bulwark the evidence for the Flood.   Also there will be more about the USA and the rock layers found there, including more on the Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon is a very compelling testimony FOR the Flood as mentioned many times here previously.   In fact, students of Creation Geology take field tours of the Grand Canyon to observe the layers and why the massive canyon is proof of a great Flood and at least one dike break as well.   That little tiny river and the lack of much loose rock (talus) at the bottom are both evidences that the canyon was not formed by that river and it has not been around for long.  Check out the short article on the Grand Canyon formation here, which involves three different glacial lakes.   There is evidence that the original runoff of Flood waters plus water trapped within sedimentary rock also helped shape the Canyon and many features of the American West.

The Western United States is an area full of water-caused formations like mesas and buttes and canyons and The Badlands.  

The Mt. St. Helens flooding events which made a miniature Grand Canyon, myriad layers that resembled varves and trees in water situated remarkably like the petrified wood fossils we find now and also stripped down to the kind of preserved trees found fossilized.  Mt. St. Helens was like a lab experiment to help us understand much of how the Grand Canyon was formed and many other rock layer and fossil features. 

The Draining Floodwaters: Geologic Evidence Reflects the Genesis Text

Mainstream geology has long dismissed the idea that the earth was once subjected to a global flood that cataclysmically annihilated all land-dwelling, air-breathing life except for a remnant preserved in the Ark. In 1961, however, Drs. Henry Morris and John Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood, which examined the evidence and concluded that it affirms the accuracy and authority of the biblical account. Since that time, studies have continually confirmed that the geologic record aligns with the Bible’s depiction of an earth-destroying flood.

The Genesis account of the global Flood succinctly describes stage after stage of that unique catastrophe. Genesis 8:3 summarizes the stage in which the floodwaters drained enough to allow Noah’s Ark to rest on a mountainside. But while the waters were moving, they followed a remarkable rhythmic pattern of ocean-water movement—specifically a repetitious action that could be described as “to and fro” (or “back and forth”):

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. (Genesis 8:3)

In the biblical Hebrew text, this verse reads as follows:

A few of these Hebrew words justify special scrutiny. The recession of the floodwaters is denoted by the verse’s first verb, vayyashûbû, which means “and they returned.” But who or what are “they”? (In other words, what “returned” in Genesis 8:3?) The second word in the sentence provides the answer: hamayim, “the waters.” The next two words, mê(al ha’aretz, translate as “from upon the earth.”

Thus, as the Flood’s globe-enveloping waters drained off the face of the earth, they were somehow “returning” to where they had originated, both the “fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11) and the ocean basins.

The next two Hebrew words, halôkh vashûbh, provide a verbal picture of the draining waters swaying in a rhythmic mega-wave movement. Although the King James Version translates this two-word phrase with the one word “continually,” the Hebrew phrase contains more information than that. The Hebrew wording connotes the water motion as being “continual,” yet it also denotes a directional movement that matches the English phrases “to and fro” and “back and forth.”

Specifically, the phrase halôkh vashûbh is a linkage of two Hebrew verb participles**, one derived from the verb halak and the other derived from the verb shûb.

In the English language, the usual manner of producing a verb participle is to add “ing” to the verb base—e.g., add-ing, subtract-ing, read-ing, listen-ing, etc. In the Hebrew phrase halôkh vashûbh, the va is a conjunction meaning “and,” so the literal idea of halôkh vashûbh is that the draining Flood waters were rhythmically “halak-ing and shûb-ing.”

What does it mean that the waters were halak-ing and shûb-ing? The answer to that question can be found by determining the basic meaning of the two root verbs, halak and shûb.

A review of the Old Testament Index-Lexicon in Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (page 17) shows that the Hebrew verb halak is most typically translated as “go” (217x qal, 8x piel, 8x hithpael) and “walk” (110x qal, 32x hithpael), but also as “come” (16x qal) and similar words that involve travel-like directional movement. Young’s also shows that a similar Hebrew verb, yalak, is translated by comparable words, e.g., “walk” (123x qal) and “go” (630x qal) (page 53).1

Young’s indicates that the Hebrew verb shûb is most typically translated as “return again” (369x qal), “come again” (43x qal), “turn again” (40x qal), “bring again” (66x hiphil), and similar words that indicate a returning directional movement (page 47).1 Because both Hebrew verbs (halak and shûb) are participles**, their combined action is a continuing action—the waters are continually going and returning.

Thus, as the floodwaters were abating (i.e., draining), they were also continuing to move in a repetitive (perhaps rhythmic or wave-like) manner, going back and forth, to and fro, like the tides of the ocean.

A repetitive back-and-forth movement of floodwaters is the rock-solid evidence we observe in the geologic record of the Flood. The sedimentary rocks and fossils left in the floodwaters’ wake contain abundant evidence of the ocean-waters transgressing over the continents and then regressing back into the ocean. In fact, geologists have identified at least six separate worldwide “transgression” and “regression” sequences called “megasequences” preserved in the rock record.

The accompanying chart references the standard concept of geologic “time,” with the long-ago past at the bottom and the present at the top, with individual periods noted. This is thought to represent the period of time that complex life has existed on earth. Note that during the latter part of the Zuni Megasequence, the ocean level rapidly oscillated, yet it was “coming and going” throughout all periods.
Of course, recognizing that old-earth scenarios are hopelessly flawed,3,4 we would certainly disagree with the chart’s long time span of 600 million years, preferring instead to interpret the whole as the record of the great Flood of Noah’s day.

Moving upward, we see the bottom as the early Flood period, then the mid-Flood, the waning stages of the Flood, and the post-Flood time at the top. The Genesis 8:3 grounding occurred during the later Zuni, when floodwaters were at their maximum and then began to wane. Within the rising and maintaining Flood portions of the chart is where geologists have seen these six (maybe subdivided into more) megasequences. During the final drainage, the waters came and went with greater frequency.

Each of these sequences begins with a record of violent incursion of the ocean over the land, first depositing a basal coarse sand, then smaller grains, and then chemical precipitation as the energy levels lessened, ending with the water rushing back seaward with a mighty erosion episode. Each transgression landward followed each regression seaward in a continuous cycle of floods, until all was totally destroyed. These were not separate floods but one unimaginable super-flood, with repeated pulses of terror.

In the beginning, God created everything “very good,” with man as God’s caretaker over His creation (Genesis 1:26-31). Tragically, it wasn’t long before man fully rejected the Creator’s authority and chose to disobey. But disobedience is sin, and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and from that point forward all things began to die. Before long, sin dominated the earth to such an extent that the Creator decided to destroy sinful man and the tainted creation and start again with a remnant who would be spared. The primary purpose of the Flood was judgment of sin and its terrible effects.
Scripture doesn’t give us all the details of the Flood events, but geology can “fill in the blanks.” Remember, God’s primary purpose for the great Flood was total annihilation of the continents and the life they held (Genesis 6:7).

The Flood involved much more than water flooding the land, standing above the mountains for a while, and then draining. Moving water contains much energy, while standing water does little work. God promised He was going to destroy the wicked, violent inhabitants of earth along with the earth, and super-powered cleansing floodwaters—washing “back and forth” across the land—appear to be the tool God chose to accomplish it.

  1. Young, R. 1980. Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
  2. Sloss, L. L. 1963. Sequences in the cratonic interior of North America. Geologic Society of America Bulletin. 74: 93-114; Vail, P. R. and R. M. Mitchum, Jr. 1979. Global cycles of relative changes of sea level from seismic stratigraphy. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 29, 469-472.
  3. Morris, H. M. and J. C. Whitcomb. 1961. The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company; Morris, J. 2007. The Young Earth, revised ed. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
  4. Johnson, J. J. S. 2008. How Young Is the Earth? Applying Simple Math to Data Provided in Genesis. Acts & Facts. 37 (10): 4-5.
** Technically, these are infinitives that function as participles denoting durative action.
* Dr. Morris is President and Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Morris, J. and J. J. S. Johnson. 2012. The Draining Floodwaters: Geologic Evidence Reflects the Genesis Text. Acts & Facts. 41 (1): 12-13.


Water formed the sedimentary rock layers of the Earth.    Water evidences are found in each of the so-called "ancient" layers from Cambrian to Jurassic and only the very top layers can be attributed to post-Flood dynamic events.   Most of the post-Flood era involved the formation of the massive glaciation termed "ice ages" and then the melting of said glaciation with the various dike breaks and regional flooding they caused.  Post-Flood lakes caused by melting glaciation often covered areas larger than any lake in the USA today.   Lake Missoula is one example of a post-Flood lake that did eventually break from its bounds and caused the Washington Scablands.   Lake Bonneville is credited with the dike break that formed the Snake River Canyon.  

The Darwinists tell you that Lake Missoula broke free about 12,000 years ago but this is a story to try to fit things into a long-ages scenario.   But a Global Flood about 4300 years ago fits the recalibrated carbon-14 readings, fits the size of the population of the Earth and also is recorded in some way in all the cultures of mankind around the globe.   Virtually every genealogical record of a particular people starts with one of the names of Noah's three sons.   When you accept the Bible as authentic history, then everything comes together neatly.

Now, an article about the magnetic field from the 1980's and then followed by a recent article that confirms the hypotheses of Russell Humphreys and also the hypothesis that the magnetic field is actually degrading, thus limiting the age of the Earth.  You may wish to skip the first article and read the second, as the first is presented as evidence to bulwark the second for those of you who are thorough? 

The Mystery of Earth's Magnetic Field

The earth's magnetic field has been a mystery to man ever since 13th-century philosophers first noticed lodestones (magnetic rocks) turning north.1 In 1600, A.D. William Gilbert, Queen Elizabeth's physician, shed light on the mystery by showing that "the terrestrial globe itself is a great magnet."2 Today, scientists think the earth is an electromagnet; the source of the magnetic field is probably a large electric current—billions of amperes—circulating in the earth's fluid core. But there is still a mystery today: How did the current get started, and what keeps it going? Scientists, who assume that the earth is old, conjecture that complicated flows of the fluid in the core somehow started the current and have maintained it for billions of years. However, such "dynamo" theories are complex, implausible, and incomplete. In the last two decades, they have run into serious problems from magnetic observations on earth3 and in the solar system.4

In 1971, Dr. Thomas Barnes, a creationist physicist, proposed that nothing keeps the current in the core going except its own inertia.5 His simple and rigorous "free-decay" theory would mean that the current is running down slowly, like a flywheel without a motor; thus the strength of the earth's magnetic field would be steadily decreasing over the centuries.6 Barnes cited some historical data7 (not well known at the time) showing that the overall strength of the earth's field has indeed steadily declined by about 7% since 1835, when it was first measured. The decay rate depends on the electrical resistance of the earth's core, and the observed rate is consistent with the estimated resistance of materials at core temperatures and pressures. 6,8 The field strength should decrease by a constant percentage each year, and the data are consistent with such a decrease, implying that the field loses half its strength every 1400 years. Such a rapid decay could not have continued for more than about 10,000 years; otherwise the initial strength of the field would have been impossibly high. Since the field probably started when the earth was formed, the present rapid decay of the field is strong evidence for a young earth.

Old-earth proponents, however, correctly point out that the earth's magnetic field has not always decayed smoothly.9-10 Archaeomagnetic (magnetism of pottery, bricks, etc.) data indicate that the present steady decay started around 500 A.D. For several millennia before that, the overall strength of the field had fluctuated up and down significantly. Paleomagnetic (magnetism of geologic strata) data provide persuasive evidence that the field reversed its direction scores of times while the fossil layers were being laid down.11 Since the field has changed so violently in the past, old-earthers ask, how do we know the present decrease in the field is a decay, not a fluctuation or a reversal? Furthermore, if a "dynamo" process did not start up the current in the core (as is becoming obvious by the problems with the theory), then how did the current originate?

History of the Field

This article summarizes five technical papers I have published to answer such questions. The discriminating reader will want to read them to understand more fully the model which is only summarized below.

Figures 1 & 2

Figure 1 shows what I think is the history of the earth's magnetic field. It can be divided into the following five episodes:

(1) Creation. In 1983, 1 pointed out that when God created the earth's original atoms He could have easily created the earth's magnetic field also, merely by bringing the atoms into existence with the spin axes of their nuclei all pointing in the same direction.12 Many atomic nuclei spin, and thereby generate tiny magnetic fields. There were so many spinning nuclei in the earth at creation that, if aligned, their fields would have added up to a large field of sufficient magnitude. As thermal collisions disoriented the nuclear spins, the laws of electricity predict a startup of an electric current within the core of the earth to sustain the field. The resulting initial field strength is consistent with the present geomagnetic data and a 6000-year age for the field. Thus we have a plausible explanation for how the current in the core got started.

In 1984, 1 extended my theory to the sun, moon, and planets,13 explaining the magnetic fields measured by the space probes of the last few decades, and predicting the approximate strength of the fields of Uranus and Neptune. In 1986, Voyager 2 verified the Uranus prediction,14 and we should find out about Neptune in early 1990.

(2) Pre-flood decay. After creation (and the Fall), the electric current in the earth's core would decay slowly, as would the field, for 1656 years, until the Genesis flood. During this period, the field would have been more than ten times stronger than it is today, thus shielding the earth from cosmic ray particles more effectively, reducing the production of carbon 14 in the pre-flood atmosphere, and making the earth a healthier place.5

(3) Rapid reversals during the flood. In 1986, I suggested that there was a powerful release of energy in the earth's core at the beginning of the Genesis flood, and that the resulting strong movements in the core field produced rapid reversals of the earth's magnetic field, about one per week, during the year that the flood was laying down the fossil layers at the earth's surface. General physical laws allow rapid reversals, a likely physical mechanism exists to cause the reversals, and observations of the sun's magnetic field demonstrate reversal cycles in nature today. This rapid-reversal model not only explains the general features of the paleomagnetic data, but also some specific features which have puzzled evolutionists.15

(4) Post-flood fluctuations. The disturbances in the core fluid during the flood would disrupt the electric current, chopping much of it up into small swirls oriented in different directions. Then the earth's field during and after the flood would not have the simple "dipole" (two poles, north and south) shape it has today. Instead, it would have a more complex shape, with strong "higher-order" components: quadrupole (four poles), octopole (eight poles), etc. Paleomagnetic data confirm the existence of such components in the field in the past. Standard electromagnetic theory predicts that, after the flood, the higher-order components would die away faster than the dipole part. Because the higher-order components can have either polarity, the strength of the field would fluctuate up and down, as different components died away at different rates.

Figure 2 shows world-averaged archaeomagnetic data.16 Since the dates conventionally assigned to the data points are based on radiocarbon dating, I have plotted the data on a time scale crudely corrected for changes in the percentage of carbon 14 in the atmosphere since the flood. The curve shown is a statistical fit using just the three simplest of dozens of possible components. The data need to be re-analyzed, allowing for a more complex field shape, but the curve fits the main features of the data, in particular, an initial rise and fall, the broad maximum at about the time of Christ, and the subsequent, steady decay.15

(5) Recent decay. Around 500 A.D., the last remaining higher-order component became small compared to the main dipole component, and the field decayed smoothly after that.

Though complex, this history of the earth's magnetic field agrees with Barnes' basic hypothesis, that the field has always freely decayed. I have merely made explicit two features which were always implicit in the free-decay theory: (a) that motions in the core fluid can disturb the field, and (b) higher-order modes of decay are possible. Both of these features have a firm basis in theory, experiment, and natural phenomena. In contrast to dynamo theories, the reversals and fluctuations I picture dissipated energy. The field has always been losing energy despite its variations, so it cannot be more than 10,000 years old. We now have simple explanations for the field's origin, history, and present state. In this light, the earth's magnetic field is no longer a mystery; it is a testimony of God's handiwork.
  1. Peregrinus, Petrus. Epistola de Magnete (1279). Trans. by Silvanus P. Thompson, Epistle of Peter Periginus of Maricourt, to Sygerus of Foucaucourt, Soldier, Concerning Magnets (London: 1902).
  2. Gilbert, William. De Magnete (1600). Trans. by P. Fleury Mottelay in Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 28, R.M. Hutchins, ed. (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952).
  3. Lanzerotti, L.J., et al. "Measurements of the large-scale direct-current earth potential and possible implications for the geomagnetic dynamo," Science 229 (5 July 1985) 47-49.
  4. Parker, E.N. "Magnetic fields in the cosmos," Scientific American 249 (Aug. 1983) 44-54, see remarks on Mercury and Mars, p. 52. Hood, L.L. "The enigma of lunar magnetism," EOS 62 (21 April 1981) 161-163. Dirscoll, E. "That magnetic moon: How did it get that way?" Science News 101 (27 May 1972) 346-347. For comments, see ref. 13.
  5. Barnes, T.G. "Decay of the earth's magnetic moment and the geochronological implications," CRSQ 8 (June 1971) 24-29.
  6. — "Electromagnetics of the Earth's field and evaluation of electric conductivity, current, and joule heating of the earth's core," CRSQ 9 (Mar. 1973) 222-230. Decay rate implies conductivity of 40,000 mho/m.
  7. McDonald, K.L. and R.H. Gunst. "An analysis of the earth's magnetic field from 1835 to 1965," ESSA Technical Report IER 46-IES I (July 1967) U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D.C., Table 3, p. 14.
  8. Stacey, F.D. "Electrical resistivity of the earth's core Earth and Planetary Science Letters 3 (1967) 204-206. Likely core materials imply conductivity of roughly 33,000 mho/m, agreeing with ref. 6.
  9. Young, D.A. Christianity and the Age of the Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982) pp. 117-124.
10. Dalrymple, G.B. "Can the earth be dated from decay of its magnetic field?" Journal of Geological Education 31 (March 1983) 124-132.
11. Humphreys, D.R. "Has the earth's magnetic field ever flipped?" CRSQ 25 (Dec. 1988), in press.
12. — "The creation of the earth's magnetic field," CRSQ 20 (Sept. 1983) 89-94.
13. — "The creation of planetary magnetic fields," CRSQ 21 (Dec. 1984) 140-149.
14. — "The magnetic field of Uranus," CRSQ 23 (Dec. 1986) 115.
15. — "Reversals of the earth's magnetic field during the Genesis flood,' Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Vol. 11 (Pittsburgh: Creation Science Fellowship, 362 Ashland Ave., 1986) 113-126.
16. Merrill, R.T. and M.W. McElhinney. The Earth's Magnetic Field (London: Academic Press, 1983) 101-106.

CRSQ: Creation Research Society Quarterly, Box 14016, Terre Haute, Indiana 47803.
* Dr. Humphreys is an ICR Adjunct Professor of Physics and a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Laboratories have not supported this work, and they neither affirm nor deny its scientific validity.


Dr. Humphreys made predictions about the planets Neptune and Uranus that were eventually confirmed by space missions, only partially completed when he wrote this article.   I am sharing this article because by dating the article you can see that Humphreys made assertions about Neptune and Uranus BEFORE we actually sent vehicles out to measure their fields accurately and his predictions were correct.  Now I will share with you the current state of knowledge about said magnetic field and you will see that Humphreys was basically correct in his assertions:

The earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the earth is young

The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). This is caused by charged particles from space striking the earth’s atmosphere. These particles have been deflected towards the poles by the presence of the earth’s magnetic field (which also diverts many such particles harmlessly into space).
Credit: photo

The earth has a magnetic field pointing almost north-south—only 11.5° off. This is an excellent design feature of our planet: it enables navigation by compasses, and it also shields us from dangerous charged particles from the sun. It is also powerful evidence that the earth must be as young as the Bible teaches.

In the 1970s, the creationist physics professor Dr Thomas Barnes noted that measurements since 1835 have shown that the field is decaying at 5% per century1 (also, archaeological measurements show that the field was 40% stronger in AD 1000 than today2). Barnes, the author of a well-regarded electromagnetism textbook,3 proposed that the earth’s magnetic field was caused by a decaying electric current in the earth’s metallic core (see side note). Barnes calculated that the current could not have been decaying for more than 10,000 years, or else its original strength would have been large enough to melt the earth. So the earth must be younger than that.

Evolutionist responses

The decaying current model is obviously incompatible with the billions of years needed by evolutionists. So their preferred model is a self-sustaining dynamo (electric generator). The earth’s rotation and convection is supposed to circulate the molten nickel/iron of the outer core. Positive and negative charges in this liquid metal are supposed to circulate unevenly, producing an electric current, thus generating the magnetic field. But scientists have not produced a workable model despite half a century of research, and there are many problems.4

Graph of magnetic field decay over time, showing reversals and fluctuations
How the earth’s magnetic field has changed. The intensity could not have been much higher than the starting point shown, indicating a young age.

But the major criticism of Barnes’ young-earth argument concerns evidence that the magnetic field has reversed many times—i.e. compasses would have pointed south instead of north. When grains of the common magnetic mineral magnetite in volcanic lava or ash flows cool below its Curie point (see side note) of 570°C (1060°F), the magnetic domains partly align themselves in the direction of the earth’s magnetic field at that time. Once the rock has fully cooled, the magnetite’s alignment is fixed. Thus we have a permanent record of the earth’s field through time.

Although evolutionists have no good explanations for the reversals, they maintain that, because of them, the straightforward decay assumed by Dr Barnes is invalid. Also, their model requires at least thousands of years for a reversal. And with their dating assumptions, they believe that the reversals occur at intervals of millions of years, and point to an old earth.

Creationist counter-response

The physicist Dr Russell Humphreys believed that Dr Barnes had the right idea, and he also accepted that the reversals were real. He modified Barnes’ model to account for special effects of a liquid conductor, like the molten metal of the earth’s outer core. If the liquid flowed upwards (due to convection—hot fluids rise, cold fluids sink) this could sometimes make the field reverse quickly.5,6

Now, as discussed in Creation 19(3), 1997, Dr John Baumgardner proposes that the plunging of tectonic plates was a cause of the Genesis Flood (see online version). Dr Humphreys says these plates would have sharply cooled the outer parts of the core, driving the convection.7 This means that most of the reversals occurred in the Flood year, every week or two. And after the Flood, there would be large fluctuations due to residual motion. But the reversals and fluctuations could not halt the overall decay pattern—rather, the total field energy would decay even faster (see graph above).8

This model also explains why the sun reverses its magnetic field every 11 years. The sun is a gigantic ball of hot, energetically moving, electrically conducting gas. Contrary to the dynamo model, the overall field energy of the sun is decreasing.

Dr Humphreys also proposed a test for his model: magnetic reversals should be found in rocks known to have cooled in days or weeks. For example, in a thin lava flow, the outside would cool first, and record earth’s magnetic field in one direction; the inside would cool later, and record the field in another direction.

Three years after this prediction, leading researchers Robert Coe and Michel Prévot found a thin lava layer that must have cooled within 15 days, and had 90° of reversal recorded continuously in it.9 And it was no fluke—eight years later, they reported an even faster reversal.10 This was staggering news to them and the rest of the evolutionary community, but strong support for Humphreys’ model. (See also Dr Humphreys’ online article The Earth’s magnetic field is young.)

Drawing of Earth's magnetic field

A ‘force-field’ around the earth.

The earth’s magnetism is running down. This world-wide phenomenon could not have been going on for more than a few thousand years, despite swapping direction many times. Evolutionary theories are not able to explain properly how the magnetism could sustain itself for billions of years.


The earth’s magnetic field is not only a good navigational aid and a shield from space particles, it is powerful evidence against evolution and billions of years. The clear decay pattern shows the earth could not be older than about 10,000 years.

Origin of the Earth’s magnetic field

Swirling cloud

The Humphreys Proposal

Dr Humphreys proposed that God first created the earth out of water.1 He based this on several Scriptures, e.g. 2 Peter 3:5 which concludes that the earth was formed out of water and by water. After this, God would have transformed much of the water into other substances like rock minerals. Now water contains hydrogen atoms, and the nucleus of a hydrogen atom is a tiny magnet. Normally these magnets cancel out so water as a whole is almost non-magnetic. But Humphreys proposed that God created the water with the nuclear magnets aligned. Immediately after creation, they would form a more random arrangement, which would cause the earth’s magnetic field to decay. This would generate current in the core, which would then decay according to Barnes’ model, apart from many reversals in the Flood year as Humphreys’ model states.

Observational support from the fields of other planets

The planet Neptune as photographed by the Voyager probe

Dr Humphreys also calculated the fields of other planets (and the sun) based on this model. The important factors are the mass of the object, the size of the core and how well it conducts electricity, plus the assumption that their original material was water. His model explains features which are deep puzzles to dynamo theorists. For example, evolutionists refer to ‘the enigma of lunar magnetism’2—the moon once had a strong magnetic field, although it rotates only once a month. Also, according to evolutionary models of its origin, it never had a molten core, necessary for a dynamo to work. Also, Mercury has a far stronger magnetic field than dynamo theory expects from a planet rotating 59 times slower than Earth.

Even more importantly, in 1984, Dr Humphreys made some predictions of the field strengths of Uranus and Neptune, two giant gas planets beyond Saturn. His predictions were about 100,000 times the evolutionary dynamo predictions. The two rival models were inadvertently put to the test when the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past these planets in 1986 and 1989. The fields for Uranus and Neptune3 were just as Humphreys had predicted.4 Yet many anti-creationists call creation ‘unscientific’ because it supposedly makes no predictions!

Humphreys’ model also explains why the moons of Jupiter that have cores have magnetic fields, while Callisto, which lacks a core, also lacks a field.5 (See Dr Humphreys’ online article Beyond Neptune: Voyager II Supports Creation)

Cause of the earth’s magnetic field

Materials like iron are composed of tiny magnetic domains, which each behave like tiny magnets. The domains themselves are composed of even tinier atoms, which are themselves microscopic magnets, lined up within the domain. Normally the domains cancel each other out. But in magnets, like a compass needle, more of the domains are lined up in the same direction, and so the material has an overall magnetic field.

Earth’s core is mainly iron and nickel, so could its magnetic field be caused the same way as a compass needle’s? No—above a temperature called the Curie point, the magnetic domains are disrupted. The earth’s core at its coolest region is about 3400–4700°C (6100–8500°F), much hotter than the Curie points of all known substances.

But in 1820, the Danish physicist H.C. Ørsted discovered that an electric current produces a magnetic field. Without this, there could be no electric motors. So could an electric current be responsible for the earth’s magnetic field? Electric motors have a power source, but electric currents normally decay almost instantly once the power source is switched off (except in superconductors). So how could there be an electric current inside the earth, without a source?
The great creationist physicist Michael Faraday answered this question in 1831 with his discovery that a changing magnetic field induces an electric voltage, the basis of electrical generators.

Imagine the earth soon after creation with a large electrical current in its core. This would produce a strong magnetic field. Without a power source, this current would decay. Thus the magnetic field would decay too. As decay is change, it would induce a current, lower but in the same direction as the original one.

So we have a decaying current producing a decaying field which generates a decaying current … If the circuit dimensions are large enough, the current would take a while to die out. The decay rate can be accurately calculated, and is always exponential. The electrical energy doesn’t disappear—it is turned into heat, a process discovered by the creationist physicist James Joule in 1840.

This is the basis of Dr Barnes’ model.

Addendum: Answering sceptical objections

Exponential Decay?

Some sceptics have claimed that an exponential decay curve is wrong, and a linear decay should have been plotted. Now, both exponential and linear decay curves have two fitted parameters:
  • Exponential decay (i = Ie-t/τ) requires the parameters I and τ.
  • Linear decay of the general form y = mx + c requires the gradient m and y-intercept c.
If the fit were similar, there is no statistical reason to choose one over the other. The fit is very similar for the limited range of data available, with no significant difference between the two.
However, it is a well-accepted procedure in modelling of regression analysis to use meaningful equations to describe physical phenomena, where there is a sound theoretical basis for doing so. This is the case here. Currents in resistance/inductance circuits always decay exponentially, not linearly, after the power source is switched off. For example, in a simple electric circuit at time t with initial current I, resistance R and inductance L, the current is given by i = Ie-t/τ, where τ is the time constant L/R—the time for the current to decay to 1/e (~37%) of its initial value. For a sphere of radius a, conductivity σ and permeability μ, τ is given by 4σμ/π.

A linear decay might look good on paper, but it’s physically absurd when dealing with the real world of electric circuits. In fact, linear decays are rare in nature in general. Conversely, exponential decay is firmly rooted in electromagnetic theory.

Thomas Barnes, who first pointed out magnetic field decay as a problem for evolutionists, was a specialist in electromagnetism and wrote some well-regarded textbooks on the subject. But most of his critics are crassly ignorant of the subject.

Another important point is that these calculations point to a maximum age of the earth. Even if the sceptics were right about a linear decay, it would still point to an upper limit of 90 million years, and this is far too young for evolution.

A final point is that if the decay really were linear, we haven’t got much time left before the earth’s magnetic field disappears!

Multipole components of the field

Some sceptics have claimed:
… only the dipole-field strength has been “decaying” for a century and a half … the strength of the nondipole field (about 15% of the total field) has increased over the same time span, so that the total field has remained almost constant. Barnes’ assumption of a steady decrease in the field’s strength throughout history is also irreconcilable, of course, with the paleomagnetic evidence of fluctuations and reversals [in the geomagnetic field] (Ecker, 1990, 105)’
The ‘authority’ turns out to be an anti-creationist dictionary compiled by an anti-Christian librarian with, as far as we are aware, no scientific training! Dr Humphreys answered in July 2001:
‘Litany in the Church of Darwin: “The non-dipole part of the earth’s magnetic field shall save us!” That is indeed an old and dismissive evolutionist argument. Tom Barnes discussed it in his papers during the 1970s. I discussed it near the end of my paper “A Physical Mechanism for Reversals of the Earth’s Magnetic Field During the Flood”.6

‘Over 90% of the field is dipolar (two poles, one north and one south), but the rest of it is non-dipolar, or multipolar, such as the quadrupole part (two north and two south poles), the octopole part (four north and four south poles), etc. Just imagine the fields from bar magnets tied together at various angles to one another.

‘In the 1970s, the evolutionists claimed that the very large energy (units are Joules or ergs) disappearing from the dipole part of the field is not really converted into heat, but is somehow being stored in the non-dipole part, later to be resurrected as a new dipole in the reverse direction. Some papers showed that the average field intensity (units are Teslas or Gauss) of some of the non-dipole parts is increasing slightly.7
‘But field intensity is not energy. To get the total energy in a component, one must square the intensity in a small volume around each point, multiply by the volume and a certain constant, and add up all the resulting energies throughout all space. The non-dipole intensities fall off (with increasing distance from the earth’s center) much faster than the dipole intensity, so the non-dipole parts are not able to contribute nearly as much energy to the total as the dipole part. That means the small increase in some non-dipole field intensities does not appear to represent nearly enough energy to compensate for the enormous energy lost year by year from the dipole part.

‘I have my doubts that the paper referred to actually proves the point the evolutionists want to make, that “non-dipole energy gain compensates for dipole energy loss”. Not only does my eyeball estimate above disagree, but the theory of reversals in my 1990 ICC paper disagrees [As shown below, Dr Humphreys no longer has his doubts—he (and anyone who checks the numbers) now knows that the evolutionist claim is fallacious]. It says that some energy will go into non-dipole components, but not nearly enough to compensate for the energy loss from the dipole part. The reversal process I propose is not efficient; it dissipates a large amount of energy as heat. I discussed this, including non-dipole parts by implication, in the second-to-last section (“The Field’s Energy Has Always Decreased”) of my Impact article on the ICR website.

‘As further evidence, I used the authoritative International Geomagnetic Reference Field data—more than 2500 numbers representing the earth’s magnetic field over the whole twentieth century. The bottom line is this:

‘In the most accurately recorded period, from 1970 to 2000, the total (dipole plus non-dipole) energy in the earth’s magnetic field has steadily decreased by 1.41±0.16%. At that rate, the field would lose at least half its energy every 1500 years, give or take a century or so. This supports the creationist model that the field has always been losing energy—even during magnetic polarity reversals during the Genesis flood—ever since God created it about 6000 years ago.

‘The evolutionists, on the other hand, have no workable, mathematically-analyzable theory of reversals. They are claiming that whatever process actually caused the reversals was 100% efficient—that the total energy in their hoped-for future dipole field will be equal to the total energy which was in the dipole field at its last peak (about the time of Christ). That is, their faith in a billion-year age for the field requires them to believe that each cycle is resurrected phoenix-like from the ashes of the previous cycle—with no losses.

‘Put another way, the Church of Darwin requires them to believe that the Second Law of Thermodynamics—that all forms of energy devolve down to heat—does not apply to planetary magnetic fields. Sound familiar?’

Later, Dr Humphreys published ‘The Earth’s magnetic field is still losing energy’, CRSQ 39(1)1–11, March 2002, which explains the above and more in detail (see full article, and his Creation Matters layman’s summary—The Earth’s Magnetic Field: Closing a Loophole in the Case for its Youth, March/April 2002—both off site). The abstract of the CRSQ paper reads:
‘This paper closes a loophole in the case for a young earth based on the loss of energy from various parts of the earth’s magnetic field. Using ambiguous 1967 data, evolutionists had claimed that energy gains in minor (“non-dipole”) parts compensate for the energy loss from the main (“dipole”) part. However, nobody seems to have checked that claim with newer, more accurate data. Using data from the International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) I show that from 1970 to 2000, the dipole part of the field steadily lost 235 ± 5 billion megajoules of energy, while the non-dipole part gained only 129 ± 8 billion megajoules. Over that 30-year period, the net loss of energy from all observable parts of the field was 1.41 ± 0.16 %. At that rate, the field would lose half its energy every 1465 ± 166 years. Combined with my 1990 theory explaining reversals of polarity during the Genesis Flood and intensity fluctuations after that, these new data support the creationist model: the field has rapidly and continuously lost energy ever since God created it about 6,000 years ago.’


  1. D. Russell Humphreys, The creation of planetary magnetic fields, Creation Research Society Quarterly 21(3):140–149, 1984. Return to text.
  2. L.L. Hood, The enigma of lunar magnetism, Eos 62(16):161–163. Return to text.
  3. The Voyager measurements were 3.0 and 1.5 x 1024 J/T for Uranus and Neptune respectively. N.F. Ness et al., Magnetic fields at Uranus, Science 233:85–89, 1986; A.J. Dessler, Does Uranus have a magnetic field? Nature 319:174–175, 1986; R.A. Kerr, The Neptune system in Voyager’s afterglow, Science 245:1450–51. Return to text.
  4. Dr Humphreys had predicted field strengths of the order of 1024 J/T—Creation Research Society Quarterly 27(1):15–17, 1990. The fields of Uranus and Neptune are hugely off-centred (0.3 and 0.4 of the planets’ radii) and at a large angle from the planets’ spin axis (60° and 50°). A big puzzle for dynamo theorists, but explainable by a catastrophe which seems to have affected the whole solar system (see Revelations in the solar system). Return to text.
  5. Magnetic moon findings support creationist’s theory Creation 19(4):8, 1997. Return to text.
  6. Humphreys, D.R., Physical mechanism for reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the flood, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:129–142, 1990. Return to text.
  7. Barraclough, D.R., Geophy. J. Roy. Astr. Soc., 43:645–659, 1975. Return to text.

Related articles

Related articles


  1. K.L. McDonald and R.H. Gunst, ‘An analysis of the earth’s magnetic field from 1835 to 1965,’ ESSA Technical Report, IER 46-IES 1, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, 1967. Return to text
  2. R.T. Merrill and M.W. McElhinney, The Earth’s Magnetic Field, Academic Press, London, pp. 101–106, 1983. Return to text
  3. T.G. Barnes, Foundations of Electricity and Magnetism, 3rd ed., El Paso, Texas, 1977. Return to text
  4. Measurements of electrical currents in the sea floor pose difficulties for the most popular class of dynamo models—L.J. Lanzerotti et al., Measurements of the large-scale direct-current earth potential and possible implications for the geomagnetic dynamo, Science 229:47–49, 5 July 1986. Also, the measured rate of field decay is sufficient to generate the current needed to produce today’s field strength, meaning that there is no dynamo operating today, if it ever did. Return to text
  5. D.R. Humphreys, Reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the Genesis Flood, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:113–126, 1986. The moving conductive liquid would carry magnetic flux lines with it, and this would generate new currents, producing new flux in the opposite direction. See also the interview of Humphreys in Creation 15(3):20–23, 1993. Return to text
  6. Humphreys, D.R., Physical mechanism for reversals of the earth’s magnetic field during the flood, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:129–142, 1990. Dr Barnes, who had opposed field reversals because no mechanism could be demonstrated, responded (p. 141): ‘Dr Humphreys has come up with a novel and physically sound approach to reversals of the magnetic field.’ Return to text.
  7. D.R. Humphreys, Discussion of J. Baumgardner, Numerical simulation of the large-scale tectonic changes accompanying the Flood, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 2:29, 1986. Return to text
  8. The field intensity (B) fluctuated up and down during and after the Flood, but the total field energy always decreased. For the technically minded, the energy is the volume integral of B2. Return to text
  9. R.S. Coe and M. Prévot, Evidence suggesting extremely rapid field variation during a geomagnetic reversal, Earth and Planetary Science 92(3/4):292–298, April 1989. See also the reports by Dr Andrew Snelling, Fossil magnetism reveals rapid reversals of the earth’s magnetic field, Creation 13(3):46–50, 1991 The Earth’s magnetic field and the age of the Earth, Creation 13(4):44–48, 1991. Return to text
  10. R.S. Coe, M. Prévot and P. Camps, New evidence for extraordinarily rapid change of the geomagnetic field during a reversal, Nature 374(6564):687–692, 1995; see also A. Snelling, The principle of ‘least astonishment’, Journal of Creation 9(2):138–139, 1995. Return to text.

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Anonymous said...

Jon Woolf said...

The Grand Canyon is a very compelling testimony FOR the Flood as mentioned many times here previously.

No, it's compelling testimony against the biblical flood, as demonstrated in detail here.

As for the geomagnetic field: since its strength has varied continuously throughout the geologic record, whether you accept geologic time or not the magnetic field's strength proves nothing about how old Earth is.

radar said...

Jon, Steve Austin has produced enough evidence to make the Grand Canyon a good place to illustrate the certainty of a global flood. Darwinist arguments range from ignorant to laughable. I mean, in the canyon itself there are actually places where the beds alternate back and forth, which is a feature of flood sedimentation, not to mention the formation of all the side canyons which are typical of a dike break formation but NOT explicable by long ages. I've posted lots of evidence for the flood layering that the canyon represents.

There is not anywhere near enough talus to suggest the Grand Canyon is much older than maybe 4,000 years. The idea that anyone would think that little dinky river formed the Grand Canyon? Funny.

I just posted an article on the LOT, Jon, you might want to read it. It applies to the magnetic field as well as the Sun and to all natural processes, like it or not. Einstein knew it. You smarter than Einstein? If Einstein was born a baby boomer, I bet he would be a Deist/Theist working for the Discovery Institute or a Christian working for an organization like ICR or AIG or Creation Ministries International.

Jon Woolf said...

Austin's claims are nonsense that collapse under the weight of his errors. As I showed.

Yes, the second law of thermodynamics applies to all physical processes. However, your use of it as an argument against evolution proves yet again that you are familiar with neither the evidence nor the theory of evolution.

Tell me, was it a violation of entropy when the lizards of Pod Mrcaru evolved the ability to eat leaves, and changed physically in multiple ways in the process? Set a Pod Mrcaru lizard side by side with its ancestor from Pod Kopiste, and you'd think you had two different species.

Was it a violation of entropy when snakes evolved to neutralize newt poison? When rattlesnakes added neurotoxins to their venom mix? When mosquitoes and other insects found ways to resist insecticides? When Flavovirium developed the ability to eat nylon?

Of course not. Because genetic variation actually represents an increase in genetic entropy.

"Hot Lips" Houlihan said...

"If Einstein was born a baby boomer, I bet he would be a Deist/Theist working for the Discovery Institute or a Christian working for an organization like ICR or AIG or Creation Ministries International."

Why would he? Creationism hasn't made any progress since his day, and YEC is just ludicrous. Einstein wouldn't ignore, for example, that C-14 dating has long falsified YEC.

Speaking of which, where is this famous "calibration" of yours?

It doesn't exist, does it?


It's not possible to re-calibrate the measurements in any plausible way to get your desired result - and still line up with all the other evidence.

Anonymous said...

"The idea that anyone would think that little dinky river formed the Grand Canyon? Funny."

The idea that you think that that's the opposing argument is what's funny.

Anonymous said...

"Was it a violation of entropy when snakes evolved to neutralize newt poison? When rattlesnakes added neurotoxins to their venom mix? When mosquitoes and other insects found ways to resist insecticides? When Flavovirium developed the ability to eat nylon?"

No, it wasn't. What more is there to say?

radar said...

You say that these things "evolved' and yet there is not one shred of proof that evolution took place in any of those cases. All recent modifications in organisms have been a result of existing genetic information OR broken systems that may have yielded a "new" ability at the expense of the full functionality of the system. It appears that the ability to ingest nylon was already inbuilt into the organism, which is actually kind of cool.

radar said...

Oh, no, radiocarbon dating calibration has been explained in this blog. It is not that difficult to understand if you go back and read what was written and watch Ian Juby's video. It is hilarious to see you try to assert that there is "contamination" in these samples! Nice try NOT!

Einstein was a big fan of real science and willing to believe what he discovered. Thus he was able to upset the Newtonian apple cart with Relativity. In the light of the discoveries of not just DNA but all the complexities thereof and the information needed and etc? I cannot imagine that Einstein would not cast evolution aside. I have too much respect for his intellect and dedication to truth-seeking. That nature made him great and caused him to discover fundamentals of science we use today.

Newton was not WRONG per se, he simply described the Universe at the macro level. Einstein found that at the edges and at the micro level there was something amiss and eventually came to posit and promote General Relativity, which scientists in general came to embrace.

Einstein was not WRONG, but as we go deeper we get to Quantum Mechanics as atomic sub-particles behave in ways we cannot so easily nail down. Matter does not disappear or reappear but it does seem to be able to travel at beyond the speed of light at the sub-atomic level. Seems is the key word, since the behavior of quarks is not understood well. Is a quark the smallest? Is particle X? What about strings? No one has a full understanding of sub-atomic particle behavior. This is probably the place God finds amusing. Scientists come to the end of their knowledge in micro-world. Spins are set only when observed. Explain THAT!

Jon Woolf said...

Einstein found that at the edges and at the micro level there was something amiss and eventually came to posit and promote General Relativity, which scientists in general came to embrace.

If that's what you really believe happened, then no wonder you have such a jumbled idea of science.

Einstein's reputation is built on three distinct, equally important discoveries. The first and in many ways the most important is wave-particle duality, as observed in light. Second is Special Relativity, which he developed to explain the failure of the Michelson-Morley experiment. Third is General Relativity, which he developed while trying to extend the rules of Special Relativity to apply to objects under acceleration.

Einstein was not WRONG, but as we go deeper we get to Quantum Mechanics as atomic sub-particles behave in ways we cannot so easily nail down.

Quantum Mechanics is unrelated to either theory of relativity. Quantum theory has to do with subatomic energy physics, while both versions of relativity are theories about motion physics. And Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics: his belief that "God does not play dice with the Universe" led him to reject the uncertainty principle, a decision in which he was later shown to be very wrong.