© 2002 by Creation Research Society. All rights reserved.
Extraterrestrial Bombardment of the Inner Solar System:
A Review With Questions and Comments Based On New Information
Carl R. Froede Jr
38 No 4 pp 209-212 March 2002
The global Flood
of Genesis involved more than just water. Although not reported in Scripture,
there is abundant physical evidence in the form of impact craters and
tektite strewn fields across the globe which support extraterrestrial
bombardment occurring during this same period. It is unclear if any impact
event that might have occurred on Earth before the Flood (i.e., during
the Creation Week and/or antediluvian timeframe; Froede, 1995; 1998) could
have remained recognizable following the Flood event as the surface of
the Earth was completely reshaped by numerous forces of high-geologic
energy (Froede and DeYoung, 1996; Reed, Froede, and Bennett, 1996).
Previously, Dr. DeYoung and I proposed that extraterrestrial bombardment
of the Earth occurred with the onset of the Flood (Froede and DeYoung,
1996). We postulated that the rate of bombardment on the surface of the
Earth occurred at an initially high rate but only for a short time, with
the rate falling off dramatically (i.e., exponentially). We proposed that
a possible source of extraterrestrial material that bombarded Earth during
the Flood likely came from a former planet (i.e., Phaeton), which disintegrated
and/or exploded within the region presently known as the Asteroid Belt.
Our basis for the source planet being located in the region of the present
Asteroid Belt was based upon the intelligent design displayed by the Titus-Bode
Rule (Froede and DeYoung, 1996).
Thinking about the effects of bombardment on Earth during the Flood lead
Mr. James Brelsford and I to speculate on the effects that this event
might have had on the surface of the Antediluvian moon (Froede and Brelsford,
1998). In a short article we postulated that the Moon’s albedo likely
decreased as the original white anorthite surface was lost to meteor impacts
creating surface eruptions of large basalt flows and burial by darker
igneous materials. Additional darkening of the Moon’s surface occurs
even today as solar flares from the Sun creates a dark brown patina on
the outer surface of the anorthite. All of this darkening of the cream-to-white
colored anorthite has decreased the Moon’s original Antediluvian
reflectance (i.e., albedo) providing less reflected light back to Earth
after the Flood.
Dr. Williams and I reported on the Wetumpka Impact Crater in Alabama,
and postulated that it formed near the close of the Flood in shallow marine
conditions (Froede and Williams, 1999). The size of the crater (approximately
3.5 miles in diameter) suggests that a rather large-sized dense object
penetrated through a thin layer of sedimentary strata deep into underlying
igneous and metamorphic crust. This object would likely have been a stony
meteorite as no iron or other metal has been found in association with
Uniformitarians recognize impact craters across the surface of the Earth
and Moon. Their naturalistic model drives the age determination of each
crater. They believe that Earth’s Moon was formed from the impact
of a Mars-sized object early in Earth’s formation approximately
4.5 billion years ago (Ga). This event ripped away enough material from
the Earth to form the Moon and place it into orbit around the planet (Kerr,
2000). However, the greatest period of extraterrestrial bombardment, for
both the Moon and Earth, occurred later in their history according to
uniformitarian scientists, who continue to discover new sources of information
for age-dating this period in time.
Recently, several uniformitarian geoscientists examined and age-dated
numerous lunar meteorites and Moon rocks collected both on Earth and on
numerous past United States and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics space
flights (Cohen, Swindle, and Kring, 2000). Using 40Ar-39Ar dating methods, these scientists
determined that the Moon experienced its greatest period of bombardment,
deemed the terminal lunar cataclysm, approximately 3.9 billion years ago
(Cohen, Swindle, and Kring, 2000; Kerr, 2000). It was during the terminal
lunar cataclysm that the Moon underwent massive bombardment based on the
analysis of the over 1,700 large (12.5 to 750 mile diameter) impact craters
on its surface (Cohen, Swindle, and Kring, 2000). Earth likely experienced
over 17,000 large impact events during this same period of time (Cohen,
Swindle, and Kring, 2000). Although younger age-dates for moon rocks have
been found (suggesting later impact melt events), nothing older than the
3.9 Ga age was identified in the 43 samples of lunar rocks examined and
tested (Cohen, Swindle, and Kring, 2000).
This massive bombardment event was not limited to the Moon, but extended
throughout the entire inner solar system, including Mars (Cohen, Swindle,
and Kring, 2000), and the Asteroid Belt (McSween, 1999). Previous age-dating
of the “early heavy bombardment” period yielded dates ranging
from 4.1 to 3.4 Ga (McSween, 1999). This new ressearch places the period of
cataclysmic bombardment from 3.9 to 3.4 Ga with the rate of bombardment
falling off sharply following the onset of the impact period (Cohen, Swindle,
and Kring, 2000).
Possible Source Areas
What are the possible source areas for such a tremendous volume of extraterrestrial
material to bombard the inner solar system at such an early period of
time in its history? Some uniformitarians look to imaginary sources like
the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt—imaginary because they have never
been detected, only postulated (Froede and DeYoung, 1996). These postulated
areas are purported by uniformitarians to provide our solar system with
the comets, asteroids, and extraterrestrial debris likely to explain the
impact features observed within the solar system.
Kerr (2000) reported that researchers in Boulder, Colorado are proposing
an idea that early in the development of the solar system newly forming
Neptune and Uranus (orbiting between Jupiter and Saturn at the time, only
to be thrown out to their present orbit later) could have generated both
cometary and asteroid debris which was drawn inward in sufficient quantities
to explain the impact craters found within the inner solar system. Theories
like this one will continue to be proposed in an attempt by uniformitarians
to explain a plausible source of extraterrestrial material necessary to
account for the massive bombardment experienced by the inner solar system.
Although the asteroid belt is considered as a potential source of extraterrestrial
materials by both Kerr (2000) and Cohen, Swindle, and Kring (2000) it
is rejected due to the size of existing asteroids, because a planetary
body within the asteroid belt never existed, or that the uniformitarian
age-dating of the bombardment event does not match with the age-date model
for the asteroid belt.
Young-Earth Creationist Interpretation
It has been proposed by several young-earth creationists that the Earth
was bombarded by extraterrestrial materials initiated with the very onset
of the Flood (Froede and DeYoung, 1996; Froede and Williams, 1999; plus
references therein). There is abundant physical evidence both on the Earth
and Moon as well as exhibited by other terrestrial planetary bodies and
satellites within the inner solar system to support this concept. I believe
that even if impact features formed on Earth or within the solar system
during the Creation Week or antediluvian timeframes, they could not have
persisted because of the destructive geologic forces in operation during
However, some young-earth creationists disagree and invoke two cratering
periods in Earth history. Dr. Faulkner postulates a major period of bombardment
during the Creation Week with the source material being derived from debris
associated with the creation of the Sun, Moon, and planets (similar in
theory to the uniformitarian concept that asteroids and comets are merely
debris left over from the formation of the planets; McSween, 1999), and
a later minor period of bombardment during the Flood (Faulkner and Spencer,
2000). Personally, I do not believe that a pre-Flood (i.e., Creation Week
or antediluvian timeframe) impact event on the Earth could be differentiated
from the massive impact event experienced by the entire inner solar system
during the Flood. I would like to see evidence in support of this position,
along with some discussion about how to differentiate (based on the physical
evidence) between the two periods.
Mr. Wayne Spencer has postulated that the solar system was visited by
a swarm of celestial objects during the Flood (Faulkner and Spencer, 2000).
I have problems with understanding the extraterrestrial bombardment models
proposed by both Faulkner and Spencer, and ask for clarification on the
- Where is
the source(s) of all of the extraterrestrial materials which bombarded
Earth at the Creation Week or later during the Flood (whether invoking
a major or minor impact event)?
- If this event only happened 4,500 to 6,500 years ago
then why have astronomers not been able to locate this comet/meteor
swarm still moving out in space with the advance telescopes we have
in operation today (and have had for several decades)? The Kitt Peak
National Observatory (Figure 1) presently has six telescopes in operation.
Many of these telescopes have been operating for more than thirty years.
Why have facilities like this one or the many others like it across
the Earth not been able to identify a moving swarm of celestial objects
as has been postulated by Faulkner and Spencer (2000)? It is likely
because this “swarm” does not exist. I contend that the
majority of extraterrestrial material which impacted the inner solar
system during the Flood was probably derived from the Asteroid Belt.
and I (1996) postulated a 4 to 5 month lag between the disintegration/explosion
of Phaeton within the Asteroid Belt and the initiation of extraterrestrial
bombardment of Earth at the onset of the Flood. How long did it take
the proposed “swarm of celestial objects” moving in space
to hit Earth (i.e., where is its point of origin and what is the traveling
speed of the “swarm?”)? How far away in space would it exist
from Earth at creation or in the universe today? With this knowledge
young-earth creationists should be able to identify this swarm in space
adding physical evidence to support the model.
- Please explain
the concept of how God’s creation week work is pronounced “good”
if it is under extraterrestrial bombardment during this period of time?
Did God create the heavens and the Earth before the Fall of man with
a swarm of celestial objects moving toward Earth?
|Figure 1 - The top of Kit Peak west of Tuscon, Arizona.
lack of any physical evidence from a known source area, which could account
for the “swarm of celestial objects” which impacted the Earth
and inner solar system during the Flood, challenges both Faulkner and
Spencer (2000) theories. Models are necessary but with no physical substance
they become dead-end “stories.” Young-earth creationists need
to be very careful in developing models which lack any physical basis.
Model(s) must also comply with the framework of Scripture. Failure on
either point should result in the rejection of any proposed model.
Apparently, the only problem that either Faulkner or Spencer (2000) have
with the source material being derived from a planet (exploding or disintegrating)
in the asteroid belt is with the amount of time that it would take to
clear the inner solar system from the debris. Uniformitarians estimate
that the time necessary to remove debris from the inner solar system ranges
between 10 to over 100 million years (Kerr, 2000; McSween, 1999). However,
it is acknowledged by naturalists that the celestial objects that presently
travel through the inner solar system which originated from the Asteroid
Belt would be of recent origin (McSween, 1999). Presently, no young-earth
creationist has published an evaluation of the time necessary to remove
extraterrestrial debris originating from the Asteroid Belt moving toward
the inner solar system.
It has been estimated that there are over one million asteroids within
the Asteroid Belt (McSween, 1999). Its origin remains a topic of debate.
While DeYoung and I (1996) postulated that the Asteroid Belt represents
the remains of a disintegrated or exploded planet, there are other possibilities.
The Asteroid Belt could have been created in place without ever having
been a planet (but the composition of the various asteroids fit well with
the collective composition of a small planet not to mention that Types
1 and 2 chondrites experienced aqueous alteration, i.e., the minerals
reacted with water inferring a planet with water [McSween, 1999]). It
is also possible that the Asteroid Belt formed from the disintegration
of a number of planetesimals. According to uniformitarians, the debris
forming the Asteroid Belt dates to the same age as Earth (approximately,
4.5 billion years) and yet the number of objects crossing Earth’s
orbit are few (Heide and Wlotzka, 1995). This suggests that the inner
solar system has swept up much of the past debris ejected from the Asteroid
Belt. It is widely recognized that Jupiter exerts such a massive gravitational
effect on the asteroid belt that it can send asteroids toward the Sun
even today. The existence of Kirkwood gaps in the Asteroid Belt suggests
that Jupiter has had (and continues to have) a major effect on the existing
asteroid belt, one that supports a viable source for extraterrestrial
materials useful to bombard the inner solar system.
If we take the age of the Earth, Moon, and Asteroid Belt along with the
period of bombardment postulated by uniformitarians as relative and not
actual, and compare them to a Biblical framework for Earth history (e.g.,
Froede, 1995, 1998), it would be easy to correlate the period of greatest
extraterrestrial bombardment to the Flood. If bombardment occurred during
the Creation Week then we would expect age-dates to correspond to 4.5
Ga, the purported uniformitarian age of the Earth, Moon, and Asteroid
Belt. However, what is reported is a period of heavy bombardment well
after (i.e., 3.9 Ga) the formation of these space objects. I contend that
although these uniformitarian age-dates do not provide any direct evidence
in support of Flood bombardment, the relative ages supports the concept
that bombardment occurred which could correspond to the Flood.
Young-earth creationists and uniformitarians agree that the Earth, Moon,
and inner solar system experienced tremendous extraterrestrial bombardment
in the past. New age-dating using 40Ar-39Ar on lunar rocks and meteorites
by uniformitarians has served to refine the time when this event occurred.
They postulate that the lunar impact cataclysm occurred early in the history
of the Moon with confidence that the entire inner solar system was also
effected by extraterrestrial impacts. The source of the extraterrestrial
materials remains a mystery as uniformitarians look to nonexistent fields
of comets in deep space or debris created with the origin of planets.
Although uniformitarians acknowledge that the asteroids within the asteroid
belt make an attractive source of materials readily available for the
bombardment of the inner solar system, they reject it for the 3.9 Ga bombardment
period based on various model-driven reasons.
Young-earth creationists apparently have several models from which to
choose when attempting to explain the impact craters observed on the Earth,
Moon, and inner planets. The problem presently is locating a source
of material that meets the time frames and physical evidence necessary
to support the Bible-based young-earth Flood framework. I contend that
the most likely source for extraterrestrial materials is from the Asteroid
Belt as it continues to supply bombardment materials to the inner solar
system. To invoke other source areas requires some basis of physical substantiation
and explanation within the Biblical framework.
The origin of the Asteroid Belt will always be a subject of discussion;
whether it formed from a single exploding/disintegrating planet or series
of planetesimals, from the collision of multiple space objects within
the region, or possibly even as an asteroid belt original to the Creation
Week. I believe that the Asteroid Belt likely provided the “celestial
objects” which impacted all the terrestrial planets (and satellites)
within the solar system during the global Flood of Genesis (which can
be viewed as occurring on the scale of at least the inner solar system).
To invoke another source for massive extraterrestrial bombardment either
before or during the Flood requires some defense in the form of physical
evidence—none of which has been offered to date. Thus, I contend
that the Asteroid Belt provides a plausible and defensible source of materials
for the bombardment of the inner solar system with the onset of the Flood.
I am grateful for the review provided to me by Emmett Williams. John Reed
also provided helpful assistance in getting this document in acceptable
shape for publication. I am thankful for the support I continue to receive
from my wife Susan. Glory to God in the highest (Prov 3:5–6).
CRSQ: Creation Research Society Quarterly
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