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Vance Nelson’s beautiful new coffee table style book on fossils, Untold Secrets of Planet Earth: Flood Fossils, discusses aspects of the topic that will certainly be new to many readers. In addition the author adopts a chatty style which is readily understood by all. Complete with personal reminiscences and historical details concerning each topic, the author builds his discussion of each topic around spectacular illustrations.

In the first section, Mr. Nelson discusses how early readers of the Old Testament understood the shape of the ark to be essentially straight sided, more like a box than a boat, such as we understand boat design. He then presents a number of accounts by people who knew somebody who had seen a large straight sided object high up on Mount Ararat. Most intriguing is an expedition in the summer of 1917 sent out by Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Vance Nelson concludes this section with the remark that if the ark has indeed been spotted so high up on Mount Ararat, then it must indeed have been deposited there by exceedingly deep flood waters.

In the next section the author discusses how the flood presented conditions ideal for rapid fossilization of many organisms. First he discusses how sediments which form layers of sedimentary rock, give every evidence of having been deposited quickly (often from water). He provides maps of the continental aspect of the Tapeats Sandstone, the St. Peter Sandstone and the Morrison Formation, all in North America. He discusses the pressure from overlying sediments that would be required to compress tree trunks into the oval shape of many petrified logs, and he provides pictures of many curved and contorted layers of sedimentary rock that had to still be soft when the bending occurred, otherwise the rocks would be fractured.

In the same section Mr. Nelson provides illustrations and discussion of fossils which show evidence of having been rapidly entombed in sediments which soon turned to rock. Everything from ripple marks, trackways and soft tissue are pictured and discussed, as well as closed clams (obviously still living when entombed), wood, and dinosaurs displaying the famous death pose.

The last section is called “Fast Fossils.” Mr. Nelson told me that he researched this topic over the span of eight years. Firstly he provides a very nice description of the various types of fossils (molds, casts, carbon films etc.), and how they form. He then takes us on a tour of the world. We find pictures and historical background of petrified materials which are known to have formed in historical times, many of them in the last few hundred years, or even the last few decades. Thus obviously fossils do not require millions of years to be preserved, as many people suppose.

Mr. Nelson concludes with the Biblical message of the significance of the flood. The beautiful illustrations continue to the very last page. This is a book that people will want to look at and reflect upon, again and again.

Vance Nelson (2014) Untold Secrets of Planet Earth: Flood Fossils. 197 pages. 

July 2014

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