millions of tourists visit Katoomba, a city one hour’s drive west of Sydney,
Australia’s biggest city. There they enjoy the spectacular Three Sisters.
These ‘ladies’ are not a group of performers, but a huge rock outcrop. Set
in a World Heritage Area of the Blue Mountains, the Sisters are now
something of an Australian icon.
Near the lookout at Echo Point, the Sisters watch over an impressive valley.
On a clear day, Kings Tableland looms in the distance (see panorama, below).
Throughout the day, the vista alters as the changing sunlight transforms the
magnificent colours of the Three Sisters. At night, their floodlit shape
looks stunning against the blackness of the night sky.
Most visitors don’t realize they are looking at compelling evidence for the
global Flood described in the Bible.
1: Many geologists consider the Sydney Basin (pink) is connected to large,
long sedimentary basins (lighter pink) to the north. This sedimentary
network is over 2,000 km (1,200 miles) long and contains rich deposits of
coal and gas, the products of buried vegetation. Overlaying sediments have
been omitted from the figure.
The sandstone, of which the Sisters are made, points to huge watery
deposition. The valleys and gorges, shaped when the Sisters were carved, are
evidence of immense watery erosion. The Biblical global Flood explains this
deposition and erosion. Let’s look a bit closer.
It’s not difficult to appreciate that the sandstone covers an immense area.
From the lookout, we can see that the same rocks form steep cliffs all
around the gorge. Before the magnificent valley was eroded, the sandstone
strata covered a large area.
But the strata extend much further than we can see from the lookout. From
Katoomba they reach 160 km (100 miles) south, 160 km north, and 160 km to
the east—an immense rectangular deposit of sediment (see Figure 1).1
Geologists call it the Sydney Basin, the resting place for massive volumes
of sediment eroded from the Lachlan Fold Belt to the west, and the New
England Fold Belt to the east.
Image sourced from
Image available for purchase
Many geologists consider the Sydney Basin is the southern end of a 250-km
(160-mile) wide system extending 2,000 km (1,200 miles) north (Figure 2).2 The
immense size of the deposit is evidence for catastrophe—but there’s more.
We see that the sand in the Three Sisters is deposited in layers. The road
cuttings in the area give a better view, or we can examine the overlying
Hawkesbury Sandstone that forms steep cliffs around Sydney (Figure 4).
Joining the prominent, horizontal layers is a faint, inclined layering
called ‘cross bedding.’ This indicates that the sand was deposited by
Later, kilometre–thick deposits of sediment and vegetation were dumped on
top, concealing the connection between the Sydney Basin and the northern
basins. The later–deposited sediments contain abundant water resources in
what is called the Great Artesian Basin.
Figure 6 shows how moving water makes a wavy pattern in the sand on the
bottom. The water pushes the grains of sand up the back of each sand wave
until they reach the top. Then they roll down the front of the sand wave.
Thus, the sand waves move forward, forming the pattern of cross bedding. The
orientation of the sand waves indicates the direction of flow. The thickness
of the cross beds indicates the speed of the water and its depth.3
From the size of the cross beds, geologist Dr Patrick Conaghan, Senior
Lecturer at the School of Earth Sciences at Macquarie University, determined
the conditions under which the sand was deposited. In 1994 he described a
wall of water up to 20 m (65 feet) high and 250 km (150 miles) wide coming
down from the north at enormous speed.4 This catastrophic interpretation is
consistent with what we would expect during the Biblical Flood.
The sandstone formations are very thick, ranging from 100 m (330 ft) to 200
m (660 ft) or more.1
To accumulate such thick deposits of sand, the water level in the Sydney
Basin must have risen continuously. Otherwise, the sand would have been
carried through the area to deeper water. Yet, in the thick sandstone
formations, there are no indications of extended time breaks between
deposition (e.g. inhabited horizons containing preserved fossil
communities). Deposition from the fast-flowing water was continuous in an
Figure 3: A
vertically-exaggerated east–west cross section of these later sediments,
which were the
last sediments deposited as the floodwaters were rising on the Earth.
The evidence therefore points to huge volumes of sediment being eroded from
the continent and carried in a ‘river’ hundreds of kilometres wide and
thousands of kilometres long. No river on the face of the Earth today is
anywhere near this large. This ‘river’ sorted the sediment into its
different sizes, which is why so much sand was deposited in the same place.
Thus the Three Sisters speak of unusual catastrophic deposition, consistent
with the global Flood described in the Bible. The sand was deposited as the
water level was increasing on the Earth, during the first part of the
one-year Flood—the Inundatory stage.5
Some of the sand formations may have been deposited in just a few days.2
Well after the sediments of the Sydney Basin were deposited, in the second
part of the Flood the offshore ocean floor began to sink and the Blue
Mountains began to rise. The water then covering Australia began to run off
the continent. As it did, it rapidly cut the landscapes.
At first the water flowed in sheets, shaving flat vast areas of the
continent sometimes producing ‘planation’ surfaces. Then, as the flow
reduced, the water cut wide valleys like those we see around the Sydney
area. As the volume of water continued to decrease, narrower valleys were
cut at the edges of plateaus, like those we see from the Three Sisters
lookout (Echo Point).
Image sourced from
Image sourced from
When the water
had completely receded and the land was dry, large valleys remained where
the flow had been. These valleys end abruptly in blind, steep walls. We see
waterfalls today at the ends of these valleys, but they are only tiny
remnants compared with the flow of water that eroded the valleys (Figure 5).
There is no way that such minuscule water flows could have carved the huge
valleys. This pattern of erosion is exactly what we would expect during the
final phase of the global Flood.
In the late 1700s, these steep cliffs prevented the early settlers of Sydney
finding their way through the Blue Mountains to more grazing land. The first
explorers followed the rivers, only to be stopped by the steep cul-de-sacs
at the ends of the valleys. Little did they realize that these obstacles
were produced by the drainage of Noah’s floodwater. Then, in 1813, the
famous explorers Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson found their way using an
innovative ridge-top route—by following the eroded remnants of the uplifted
What about carbon dating?
One reason people don’t connect the Three Sisters with Noah’s Flood is that
the rocks are supposed to be about 230 million years old. At this age they
obviously could not have formed in a flood 4,500 years ago. However, there
is a problem with the way rocks are dated. Basically, long-age geologists
get the dates wrong because they make wrong assumptions about the past. In
particular, they ignore the catastrophic effects of Noah’s Flood.
Diagram courtesy Steve Austin, Grand Canyon: Monument to catastrophe, ICR.
Long-age geologists assume that sedimentary rocks were deposited slowly,
e.g. by rivers like those we see on Earth today. With so much sedimentary
rock, they imagine that it took millions of years. But catastrophic
conditions during Noah’s Flood would have deposited lots of sediment quickly
and eliminated the need for millions of years. Evidence of such catastrophic
deposition, as we have seen, is preserved in the rocks themselves.
For these rocks, long-age geologists have assigned an age of around 230
million years based on their fossil content and their relative position in
the sequence of rock layers in the region. Recently, a creationist geologist
measured the carbon-14 content of a piece of wood found in a quarry in the
overlying Hawkesbury Sandstone.7
Long-age geologists wouldn’t bother analysing for carbon-14 because they
believe the rock is 230 million years old. All carbon-14 should have
disappeared by 50,000 years, at the most. There should be no carbon-14 left.
However, the analysis confirmed a small but significant amount of carbon-14
in the wood—clear evidence that the sandstone is less than 50,000 years old.
The small level of carbon-14 does not reflect an age, but rather the low
concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere before the Flood (carbon-14 has
been building up since the Flood).
Evidence of Noah’s
The Three Sisters are an Australian tourist icon. They are also evidence of
Noah’s Flood. These sandstone monuments display evidence of large-scale
catastrophic deposition and immense watery erosion. That is exactly what we
would expect from Noah’s Flood. Not only are the Three Sisters an icon of
Australia, they are also an icon of the reliability of the Bible.
phenomenon of vertical fossil tree trunks
Photo by Andrew Taylor
Broken tree trunks deposited vertically in thickly bedded sandstone 40
km (25 miles) north of Sydney, overlooking the South Pacific Ocean.
Located on the eastern side of ‘Box Head’ in Bouddi National Park, the
head forms the northern entrance to the Hawkesbury River.
This sandstone is part of the Gosford Formation. Lying under the
Hawkesbury Sandstone, it is approximately equivalent to the formation
comprising the Three Sisters, over 100 km (60 miles) west. Excellent
cross bedding is obvious in the layers above the logs.
The blocky appearance of the deposit and the cross bedding point to
deposition from deep, fast-flowing water. The thickness of the deposit
indicates that the water was continually deepening as the sand was
These logs did not grow here but were washed into place. The trunks
are broken with no sign of soil or roots. They testify to the violent
forces which uprooted and smashed an ancient forest, sorting roots and
trunks from leaves and branches. The leaves and branches were
deposited in other strata of the Sydney Basin. They form the coal
measures that are now mined for power generation.
Update 15 September 2008: Since writing this report I have been able
to inspect close up these vertical objects at Box Head and discuss
their identification with others. I described them here as being
vertical logs but on closer inspection in the field they seem instead
to be unusual iron concretions. There are numerous other vertical
concretions of various shapes in the sandstone in that area. Even as
iron concretions these objects are unusual in their shape and
Although these particular objects do not now appear to be tree trunks,
it does not alter the fact that these sandstone deposits comprising
the cliffs and the wave platform were deposited very quickly over a
huge area pointing to the fact that the Sydney basin was formed by a
large watery catastrophe, consistent with Noah’s Flood.
Jones, D.C. and Clark,
N.R. (Eds.), Geology of the Penrith 1:100,000 Sheet 9030, New
South Wales Geological Survey, Sydney, 1991.
Sediment transport and the Genesis Flood—Case
studies including the Hawkesbury Sandstone,
Sydney, CEN Tech. J. 10(3):358–378, 1996.
Austin, S.A. (Ed.),
Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe,
Institute for Creation Research, California, pp. 33–35, 1994.
Woodford, J., Rock
doctor catches up with our prehistoric surf, The Sydney Morning Herald
30 April, 1994, p. 2. For more detail, see: Conaghan, P.J., The Hawkesbury
Sandstone: gross characteristics and depositional environment,
Bulletin, Geological Survey of New South Wales 26:188–253,
Walker, T.B., A
Biblical geologic model, In: Walsh, R.E. (Ed.), Proceedings of The
Third International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science
Fellowship, Pittsburgh, pp. 581–592, 1994;
Info Blue Mountains
Dating dilemma: fossil wood in ‘ancient’ sandstone,
Creation 21(3):39–41, 1999.
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