Yosemite National Park – Evidence for a Recent Ice Age

July 31, 2015

Yosemite National Park – Evidence for a Recent Ice Age

Yosemite National Park is home to the highest water fall in North America, 5,000 foot vertical rock faces, lush sprawling valleys, and active glaciers, and it’s all contained within an expansive wilderness that’s roughly twice the size of the city of Los Angeles.

Fun Facts:

  1. Yosemite National Park is larger than the State of Rhode Island! Woah!
  2. Dropping water from 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America!
  3. Half Dome rock, rising 5,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, is America’s sheerest cliff with a 93% grade![i]
  4. El Capitan is the largest upright block (a.k.a. monolith) of granite in the world!

How and When Did Yosemite Form?

Evolutionary Geologists Say… The popular opinion among evolutionists is that the Yosemite Valley was initially scratched out by the flow of the Merced River. Gradually, over millions of years, the mountains rose and the river flowed faster, cutting out the initial small valley. Then over hundreds of thousands of years several ice ages came and went and with each passing the valley was cut deeper. This opinion fits into their theory of uniformitarianism, which says that everything that happens in the present, also happened in the same way in the past. The scientists claim that the uniform repetition of these natural events is how the earth (and the Yosemite Valley) was formed. Creationist Geologists Say… Creationist too believe that the initial Yosemite Valley was cut out by a water feature, but our proposed source and time period vary greatly from the evolutionist’s theory. Creationists believe that the global flood as described in Genesis was the causation behind the formation of the Valley. Based on the days of creation and the genealogies as recorded in Genesis, the global flood is calculated to have occurred some 4,500 years ago[ii]. Starting with that date, we know from observable models that erosion alone from the Merced River couldn’t have carved out the Yosemite Valley. Glaciers however, certainly could, and Yosemite Valley contains strong evidence that the Valley was once filled with ice to a depth of 3,000 feet. Again, Creationist too agree that glaciers during an ice age were certainly the main culprit behind the formation of the Valley as we know it today. Where then lies the disagreement? Evolutionists refuse to use the Bible to help them understand geology. Therefore, they categorically reject the notion that the Yosemite Valley could have been formed within a 4,500 year timeframe because to them, the Flood couldn’t have happened, for that would bring validity to the antithesis of their worldview and the foundation of their belief system. And unlike Evolutionists who believe “the present is the key to understanding the past[iii]”, a Creationist’s understanding of the past, according to God’s inerrant Word, is what informs him of the present.

Where is the Disagreement Regarding the Science?

Evolutionist believe there were as many as 40 ice ages over the past several million years and collectively they formed the Yosemite Valley. Creationist believe there was only one great ice age.

Is there any Observable Evidence that a Glacier formed Yosemite Valley?

Evidence for a Glacier -Yosemite

Granite Scratches Show Glacier Movement (left) and U-Shaped Valley of Yosemite (right)[/caption] Yes, there is solid evidence of at least one single ice age that contributed to the formation of Yosemite. U-Shaped Valleys, like Yosemite Valley, are generally the result of a glacier. As glaciers slowly move down the slope of an existing valley it often smooth’s out the rough rock edges and rounds the bottom of the valley. V-Shaped valleys on the other hand, such as the Grand Canyon, occur when a water feature, such as a mighty river, erodes the surrounding land and “cuts” into the earth. Furthermore, visible scratch marks on the sheer granite surfaces, which were caused by enormous sheets of ice as they ground downhill, give us more observable evidence for a great glacier.

What Does the Evidence Say?

Using Evolutionists' model of uniformitarianism (claiming that everything that happens in the present also happened in the same way in the past), doesn’t explain how 3,000-4,000 feet of ice could have developed to cover the Yosemite Valley. There isn’t a valid theory or model that can support this. In order for it to occur, the conditions of the past would have to have been radically different than today. We know, however, through modeling, that the geologic and atmospheric conditions after a global flood could produce the conditions needed for one major ice age.[iv] Dr. Larry Varidman, Ph.D. of the Institute for Creation Research said,

“The enhanced snowfall and greater frequency of storms during the Ice Age appear to be adequate to explain glaciation in the Sierra Nevada in a young-earth timeframe. Glaciers thousands of feet thick could have readily developed in hundreds of years following the Genesis Flood.”

Take Away

Yosemite is a magnificent destination for man to leisurely enjoy and study! The formation of the valley points to even more evidence for a global flood and thus, a powerful Creator. God is the author of all creation and only He knows all of the details of the formation of our incredible planet. When in doubt, we always turn to His word, which may very well speak specifically about an ice age after all -

He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold? He sends out His Word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. Psalm 147: 17-18

[i] http://www.nationalpark-adventures.com/el-capitan-half-dome-yosemite-national-park.html

[ii] http://www.icr.org/article/ice-age-glaciers-at-yosemite-national-park

[iii] http://www.icr.org/article/present-key-our-past/

[iv] http://www.icr.org/article/ice-age-yosemite-national-park

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