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Noah's Long Distance Travellers

Since 2006 Creation Encounter leaders have been working in association with other scientists like Michael Oard and Peter Kleviberg [1] on the quartzite project. This is an on-going project resulting in an evolving map and technical articles (see below). This work has made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge for creation/flood evidences. Long distance quartzite boulders are powerful evidence for Noah's Flood.

Quartzite pebbles (under 2.5 inch diameter) to cobbles (2.5-10 inch diameter) are found in spots scattered throughout the greater Northwest and eastward into Saskatchewan and North Dakota. It would be easy to overlook their significance unless you ask where they came from. Their quality and hardness indicate that their source is the Belt Supergroup strata found in Western Montana, Idaho, and north into Canada along the Continental Divide.


So, in the greater Northwest, the only source for rounded quartzite rocks occur in the Northern Rockies. Yet rounded quartzite boulders are found scattered eastward into the Northern Great Plains over 700 miles from their source. (see map below)   Also the boulders are found scattered westward in spots throughout Oregon and Washington some found along the Oregon and Washington coasts at least 400 miles from their source. Modern rivers and flash floods don't come close to explaining the velocities and distances most quartzites have traveled.

Many boulders like these in the picture were found in Central Oregon, several miles east of Paulina. Some are 12 inches across (long axis) and weigh more than 90 lbs. Quartzite is sandstone that has been changed by heat and pressure into a rock so hard that it can be carried long distances without disintegrating like most other kinds of rock do. Many show abundant percussion marks (pointed at in photo) indicating transportation in torrential waters.

Quartzites come in an infinite variety of colors and design. Some are banded with the original colors of the sandstone strata. So how can you tell if a rock is quartzite? Often they are unusually smooth and well rounded and have a sort of semi-translucent look to them. If you break one open with a hammer (or another hard boulder) the internal texture is grainy and has a sort of granulated, glassy appearance.

The question is how were they transported some four to seven hundred miles from their source at less than .01 degree gradients? Applying open-channel flow equations (Chezy equations) for boulders 6 inches across would require currents of at least 65 mph in waters hundreds of feet deep.[1] (Modern flash floods seldom exceed 20 mph even when traveling down steep slopes).


The Underwood Gravels (Troutdale Formation), visible on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, contains numerous quartzite cobbles originating from outcrops near the present-day Idaho/Montana border.

Several variations of an "ancient torrential river" theory have been proposed by conventional geologists. The "Ancient Columbia River" has been proposed to explain boulders in south central Washington and the Columbia Gorge.[2] Ancient "Paleo-torrents" have been proposed to explain boulders found in the High Wallowas [3] and the Elkhorn Mtns. of Oregon.[4] These theories have been called "an outrageous hypothesis" even by the experts because they are wholly inadequate to explain the widespread distributions and distances. Despite a thorough analysis of the conventional literature, none could be found that has addressed the transport problems associated with the boulders of Central Oregon or the Washington Coast. In an article presented at the 4th International Conference on Creationism, Klevberg and Oard [1] calculated possible transport mechanisms for quartzites found in Saskatchewan.


The most rational explanation for the widespread quartzite boulders is suggested in the Bible. In Psalms 104 the Bible speaks of the end of Noah's Flood: "At thy rebuke [the waters] fled ... the mountains rose; the valleys [ocean basins] sank down to the place which thou didst establish for them. Thou dist set a bound which they should not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth." Ps. 104:7-9 RSV

Quartzite distribution is just one of many well documented evidences for a recent global flood.[5-9] Simply put, the significance of these evidences is this: If the flood happened the way the Bible says it did; then the evidence for evolution collapses. The earth's rocks, fossils, and landforms either represent the processes of the Flood of Noah's day or they represent long ages of evolution. They cannot represent both models at the same time.

The real issue at stake for Christians is the reliability of scripture. Many Christians have compromised their belief in the accuracy of the Bible. They say that because Genesis 1-11 can't be considered historically accurate, it must therefore be written in the language of myth or allegory and should be considered to merely illustrate "spiritual truths." Sadly, this view of scripture undermines faith in the inerrant Word of God and opens the door to many other theological problems. For example, if the first part of the Bible isn't true historically, then who decides when the Bible starts telling the truth? If the Bible's history can't be trusted, then how can the Bible's message of sin and salvation be trusted?

Furthermore, if we have lost the absolute authority of the inspired Word of God, then we have lost an objective basis for justice and morality. Then who decides what is good, or right, or just? Evolution and creation are more than just scientific interpretations. They provide a basis for two entirely different worldviews and as such they have far reaching implications for their adherents.

To learn more, see "References and Further Reading" and this list of related articles by Creation Encounter members.


References and further reading

1.  Klevberg, P. and Oard, M.J. 1998. "Palehydrology of the Cypress Hills Formation and Flaxville Gravel. 4th International Conference on Creationism, Pittsburg, PA. See:

2.  Fecht, Reidel, and Tallman, 1987. "Paleodrainage of the Columbia River System on the Columbia Plateau of Washington State," WA Div of Geology and Earth Resources Bull 77.


3.  Allen, J.E., 1991 "The Case of the Inverted Auriferous Paleotorrent - Exotic Quartzite Gravels on Wallowa Mt. Peaks." Oregon Geology; vol. 53, #5, Sept. 1991.


4.  Trafton, "Paleogeographic Implications of ... Quartzite bearing fluvial sediments, Elkhorn Mts., Northeast Oregon;" Dept of Geology, Carleton College.


5.  Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P. 2005. “Flood transported quartzites—east of the Rocky Mountains.” Journal of Creation 19(3):76–90. See:


6.  Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P. 2006. “Flood transported quartzites: Part 2—west of the Rocky Mountains.” Journal of Creation 20(2):71–81. See:


7.  Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P. 2006. “Flood transported quartzites: Part 3—failure of uniformitarian interpretations.” Journal of Creation 20(3):78–86. See:


8.  Oard, M.J., Hergenrather, J., and Klevberg, P. 2007. “Flood transported quartzites: Part 4—diluvial interpretations.” Journal of Creation 21(1):86–91. See:


9.  References 5-8 are summarized in Hergenrather, J. 2006. “Noah’s long-distance travelers: Quartzite boulders speak powerfully of the global Flood.” Creation 28(3):30–32. See:


10.  Morris and Whitcomb, The Genesis Flood, Master Books, 1961. For many other articles on Flood evidences visit and check their Q&A index pages for Noah's Flood, Geology, Fossil, and Noah's Ark sections.

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