Geochemical Clocks: Sea Salt

Geochemical Clocks: Sea Salt

I’ve recently begun a series on the various geochemical clocks that can be used to calculate the age of the earth. The reason I have been doing this ties back to my recent article on worldview. Many people convert to the evolutionary worldview after seeing what they understand as proof that the earth is millions of years old.  Since this directly contradicts the clear reading of the Biblical text,  this has convinced many people to simply walk away from Christianity. However, many of these geochemical clocks are either unreliable or point to a young earth, and thus support the Biblical view.

The salinity of seawater is a largely reliable geochemical clock.  Observational science has shown that the salinity of the ocean is around 35 grams of salt per liter of salt. Most of the salt in the ocean is sodium chloride, but there are other minerals present as well. For the purposes of this article, we will refer to all the minerals collectively as salt.  Every year, this number goes up slightly as minerals are deposited from the continents. This increase in salinity was confirmed in 2008 study in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters.

There is a known amount of salinity added to the oceans each year.  Around 458 million tons of salt enters the ocean each year. It comes mostly ar runoff from the rivers.  Natural processes do remove some of this salt. However, not all of it. Only around 122 million tons is removed naturally through mechanisms like shell building and sea water spray onto land. That means approximately 336 million tons of salt is added to the oceans every year.  There are approximately 1.35e19 liters of water in the ocean. Therefore, since there are 35 grams per liter,  there are around 4.73e20 grams of salt in the ocean, which translates into around 5.21e14 tons of salt. With numbers that big, adding 336 million tons a year doesn’t add up to much. However, since the addition rate is known, and the current salinity is known, it is possible to work backward and determine how long it would take to accumulate this level of salt in the ocean.

Using the numbers derived in the preceding paragraph, it is possible to determine how long the oceans have been in existence in their present form. To do this, we are conceding the evolutionary-uniformitarian assumption that the net rate of salt entering the ocean has been constant.  Based on that assumption, it is possible to work backward from the current salinity and determine how long it took for the salinity to reach current levels. This also assumes that the original salinity was zero,  which is what evolution would predict.  Using the above numbers, the amount of salt in the ocean would accumulate in 1.5 million years. However, accounting for the time it would take for the salt to disperse throughout the ocean, the absolute maximum age of the oceans is around 42 million years old.  Since evolutionists estimate that the oceans are around 3.8 billion years old, this is a significant issue for their theory.

Now some might say that creationists have a problem since this number is extremely larger than the predicted Biblical age of the earth. However, recall back to the first article we published on Geochemical clocks. It is not an issue if the clock gives an age longer than expected. However, it is a huge issue if the clock is too short because the clocks give a maximum timeframe, not a minimum one.   If the oceans were 3.8 billion years old, at the current rate of salt deposition, the salinity would be absurdly high, beyond the dissolution point. Creationists have no issue with sea salt dates because the flood would have deposited vast amounts of minerals in the oceans, greatly increasing the salinity of the oceans. Of course, there were significant amounts of catastrophic events post flood that may also have deposited sediments into the ocean, further increasing the salinity.

Evolutionists will undoubtedly raise objections to this. In fact, some already have. One particular gentleman wrote up an extensive critique of the salt argument, which I read through dutifully, hoping to glean some insight. It turned out that the article was largely invective against creationists in general and had little hard science behind it.  Others slightly more reasonably cite numerous scientific papers saying that the salinity of the ocean is changing variably due to global warming. Since those papers were largely written to increase the hype of the global warming hoax, I take their claims with a grain of salt. Even if salinity change varies in areas of the ocean, which it does, the average salinity takes that into account.  Further, by their own global warming logic, ocean salinity should be decreasing as the ice caps melt and release water into the ocean. The northern hemisphere has conflicting reports, with one particular one citing an approximated one percent increase in salinity, the southern hemisphere is indisputably increasing.  There is ice at both poles and it should be melting at the same rate as the global temperature supposedly rises. Yet the southern hemisphere has increased in salinity, as well as possibly the north.   The universally acknowledged idea, however, is that the overall ocean salinity is stable at best and, in some papers considered to be increasing, is a strong statement against both global warming, and evolution.

The sea is getting saltier. That’s the inescapable conclusion I came to. I read some of the responses to the argument, and acknowledge that there are mechanisms to remove salt from the ocean. However, not enough is removed to make up for the influx coming in, at least according to the current body of information available.  Thus the salt in the sea is a somewhat reliable clock which points to a much younger earth than evolutionists need for their theory to be true.

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