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Pollen Order in Varves Presents Problems for the Flood
               by Glenn R. Morton
            Copyright 2002 by G.R. Morton

This may be freely distributed so long as no charge is made to the reader and no alterations are made to the text.

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Pollen released by each species of plant is uniquely shaped and palynologists, those who study pollen, can tell different pollen from different plant species apart. This characteristic of pollen has implications for which model of earth history is correct--a global flood or an evolutionary earth. Each of these views predicts a different distribution of fossil pollen.

The evolutionary/old earth prediction follows this line of logic.  Plant pollen and spores are found throughout the sedimentary rocks of the earth.  Geology teaches us that over the millions of years during which the sediments are deposited, pollen and spores released by the plants and blown by the wind is deposited  with the sediments.  Because of the fact that evolution occurs and plants go extinct and new ones evolve, the scientific viewpoint would imply that we should find different pollens in different strata with clear starting and ending points for the pollen. 

The global flood view would view the geologic column as having been deposited during a one year global flood. The pollen found in with the rocks would mostly have been given off by plants before the flood and we should expect a thorough mixing of the pollen with no clear starting and ending points in the geologic column. All pollen should be found at all levels because according to the YEC model, all plants were on earth prior to the flood and were doing their thing, releasing pollen and spores into the wind. And then the flood would stir it all up. After all, the flood was a turbulent and chaotic event, eroding miles of pre-flood rock and depositing miles of new sedimentary rocks.

What do we find?  A recent article in the AAPG Bulletin discusses pollen found in rocks in Northern South America, Venezuela to be exact. As one drills deeper into the sediments of Lake Marcaibo (a prolific oil producing region) one encounters the pollen in a predictable pattern.  I have used the data in that article to construct a slightly modified spreadsheet from what is presented in the article. You can easily download the spreadsheet here and see for yourself that the pollen appears in a predictable pattern with species appearing and disappearing in an ordered pattern.  There is no chaotic mess as would be expected under the global flood model.

Pollen also varies cyclically in some of the yearly varves, which is exactly what one would expect if the varves were truly yearly deposits. Flint writes:

"A rhythmite deposited in a lake near Interlaken in Switzerland consists of thin couplets each containing a light-colored layer rich in calcium carbonate and a dark layer rich in organic matter. Proof that the couplets are annual, and therefore varves, is established on organic evidence, first recognized by varves, is established on organic evidence, first recognized by Heer(1865). The sediment contains pollen grains, whose number per unit volume of sediment varies cyclically being greatest in the upper parts of the dark layers. The pollen grains of various the upper parts of the dark layers. The pollen grains of various genera are stratified systematically according to the season of blooming. Finally, diatoms are twice as abundant in the light-colored layers as in the dark. From this evidence it is concluded that the light layers represent summer seasons and the dark ones fall, winter and spring. Counts of the layers indicate a record that is valid through at least the last 7,000 years B. P. " ~ Richard Foster Flint, Glacial and Quaternary Geology, New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1971, p. 400.

I fail to see how this can be explained by a global flood.