Glacial Theory vs Disintegration Theory

The disintegration theory and the glacial theory, two opposing theories about the origin of the drift, can be compared by means of their predictions. This is a list of questions and the corresponding predictions and explanations offered by each theory.


Glacial Theory

Disintegration Theory

What is the significance of the way cross strata in the sandy drift wraps around embedded pebbles?
The lack of directional effects is anomalous since the patterns of cross strata are interpreted as due to fast currents.
If the patterns of cross strata in the drift formed by a non-sedimentary process such as in situ disintegration there would be no directional effects such as lee-side tails.
The drift contains an abundance of rounded pebbles, stones and boulders, that seem to have been rounded by abrasion during transport in streams. Is that assumption about their origin correct?
The glacial theory assumes the pebbles and boulders of the drift were transported in glacial meltwater streams and rounded by abrasion, but the area required for each rounded pebble and boulder to have been exposed to the base of the ice and transported for a sufficient distance to become rounded is lacking; it is unclear how it could have happened.
The disintegration theory says the drift boulders and pebbles formed in place, as concretionary nodules, during the disintegration process. The idea that pebbles and boulders  became rounded during transport is unnecessary.
The composition of most of the pebbles and boulders in the drift reflects local bedrock but there is also a great variety in their composition. How is that explained?
The glacial explanation is that pebbles and boulders that are not local to the area have been brought from distant sources by the ice sheet. But the variety of pebbles seems greater than the number of possible source areas.
The variety of composition of pebbles and boulders is due to the chemical alteration of rocks that accompanied the disintegration. This included crystallization and dehydration, and segregation of the various combinations of minerals mixed together in concretions as the external conditions of temperature and pressure rapidly changed.
Do conglomerate boulders in the drift indicate multiple ice ages? The conglomerate boulders in the drift are often interpreted as tillite, or rocks produced by ancient glacial episodes. The boulders and pebbles of the drift formed in place, already rounded and smooth, as the component minerals separated into nodules. The conglomerate pebbles and boulders in the drift were also formed by concretionary processes. A mass of pebbles was incorporated into a larger concretion, that became a boulder when the surrounding matrix disintegrated.
In some of the cross stratified sand and gravels of the drift in southern Ontario the composition of the boulders and pebbles contrasts with the composition of the sand. The sand consists of quartz and feldspar, but most of the boulders are carbonates. How is that explained?
This is anomalous in the glacial theory as the boulders are thought to have been rounded by abrasion during transport so the finer materials would probably be the detritus from all the grinding and crushing, so the compositions of boulders and sand should be similar.
During the disintegration process, the components of a mix of minerals that was stable at high pressure separated out in response to a lower confining pressure. Carbonates formed concretions which became boulders when the matrix around them disintegrated. The matrix may have initially contained hydrous amorphous silica which crystallized to quartz in successive layers. The crystallization of amorphous silica is exothermic so the heat released would have promoted further crystallization of subjacent layers. The sand produced in this manner consists mainly of quartz with some feldspar and minor amounts of other minerals such as garnets and iron oxides.
Patterns of drumlin orientation in North America seem to correspond to the region of uplift as indicated by tilted sedimentary cover and the location of exposed Shield rocks. What is the significance of this?
No significance is indicated in the glacial theory, as the age of the tectonic uplift long preceded the ice ages.
The tectonic uplifts that caused the tilting of Palaeozoic sediments and exposed the Canadian Shield caused the catastrophic currents and streamlining of sediments that resulted in patterns of drumlins.
How are stratified drumlins explained? The stratified drift is attributed to deposition in outwash streams of glacial meltwater. The advancing ice must have passed over these sediments and streamlined the surface. The streamlining was due to fast currents which shaped the sedimentary rock, and disintegration penetrated the rock after the streamlining occurred. The patterns of stratification in the drift were formed by successive disintegration surfaces, which were fronts of crystallization that penetrated the rock.  
Drumlins in some regions seem to have an orientation that is contrary to the radial pattern expected by a spreading ice sheet, for example in the Guelph and Woodstock drumlin felds in southern Ontario, where the flow was in a northwesterly direction. How is that possible?
No explanation available.
The currents that caused the streamlining were generated by uplift of submerged areas towards the southeast, that spilled waters to the northwest, which caused the streamlining that produced the drumlins.
The bedrock surface is irregular beneath drumlins. What is the explanation?
None available.
It is due to the variable depth of penetration of the disintegration surface.
The orientation of striations on bedrock below the drift and the orientation of streamline features such as drumlins and flutings are used to determine the direction of ice movement in the glacial theory. Do these correspond? In the glacial theory these should agree since both are attributed to the movement of the ice sheet. The bedrock striations are attributed to the effects of expansion during the formation of the drift by in situ disintegration. The streamlined features on the drift surface are attributed to fast currents, so these need not correspond.
Should the orientations of striations on bedrock beneath the drift and those on exposed surfaces of bedrock correspond?  Since the striations were all made by the movement of the ice sheet, the striations should all correspond. Striations on exposed bedrock could be due to the transport of boulders by fast currents. Those under the mantle of drift were likely caused by the expansion effects during disintegration. Crossing patterns of striations are common, and these may record effects of both of these mechanisms.

Do roches moutonnees occur on bedrock surfaces buried beneath the drift?
Yes, because the glacial theory says the ice eroded bedrock before the deposition of the drift, so streamlining of the bedrock under the drift would be expected.
No, because if the surface of bedrock was formed by disintegration, and is buried beneath the drift, it cannot have been exposed to fast currents. An exception would be if the drift had been redeposited over a streamlined surface.
Eskers may sometimes cross over drumlins. Where this occurs, should there be an unconformity beneath the esker?
Yes, because the glacial theory says drumlins formed when ice was moving, but the esker formed when the ice was stopped, and deposited its debris in a subglacial tunnel or crevasse over the drumlin.
No, because the eskers formed where expanding drift layers on either side thrust up a pressure ridge. The drift strata in the drumlin would be continuous with that in the esker and form an anticline over it.
Which direction should bedrock striations beneath an esker be oriented? Since eskers are interpreted as ridges of river gravels, and rivers beneath, in or on the ice would probably flow towards the perimeter of the ice sheet, in the direction of ice movement, the general trend of striations would be parallel to the eskers. Striations would be oriented normal to the trend of the esker. The expanding drift layers on either side moved towards the esker which was pushed up as a pressure ridge, that relieved horizontal stress in the drift.
Indicator minerals in the drift were used to locate kimberlite pipes that became diamond mines in Canada. Doesn't that support the glacial theory? Erosion of bedrock containing kimberlite pipes and the dispersion of the drift by glacial ice is believed to have produced the trains of indicator minerals At Lac de Gras, samples from the drift in the immediate vicinity of the kimberlite pipes contained hundreds of grains of indicator minerals, while samples from 40 to 50 km in the down current direction contained less than 20 grains. Dispersion of indicator minerals was due to erosion of the drift by fast currents. Patterns of drumlins and other streamlined features indicate the flow directions.
How can large bedrock rafts of fragile materials such as chalk occur in the drift?
In the glacial theory it is claimed that these have been transported by an ice sheet, but it is difficult to understand how ice sheets could transport and deposit huge bedrock slabs without crushing them.
The explanation is that they were formed in place, and during the in situ disintegration that caused the drift, some sections of bedrock remained intact.
Why are there disintegrated, rounded sand and clay balls in the drift?
These seem rather anomalous in the Glacial Theory, as disintegrated rocks would not have survived abrasion during transport.
They are easily interpreted in an in situ disintegration explanation as there was no transport or abrasion involved. They are concretions or boulders that were disintegrated.
What about prairie mounds? These are very numerous over vast areas of Western Canada and parts of the USA. They are elevated plateaux with a rim at the perimeter, and a depressed center.
Conventional explanations invoke depostion of debris from blocks of ice when the ice melted, but ice sheets generally don't disintegrate into isolated blocks, they melt at the perimeter.
They can be explained as effects of expansion of the drift during the disintegration process which formed the drift. Thicker sections of drift expanded laterally into surrounding regions, pushing up a ridge at the perimeter. Sediments were deposited as the land slowly emerged from the sea.

Copyright © 2006 by Douglas E. Cox
The Creation Concept | Controversy About the Glacial Theory