Dr. John Baumgardner

Geophysicist, Vice-President and Research Associate B.S. (Electrical Engineering), M.S. (Electrical Engineering), M.S. (Geophysics and Space Physics), Ph.D. (Geophysics and Space Physics)


John earned a doctorate in geophysics for the express purpose of addressing the tectonics issues of the Genesis Flood at a professional level.  For his Ph.D. thesis he developed a 3D mantle dynamics program known as Terra.  As research scientist for 20 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory he used computer modeling to explore and develop the concept of catastrophic plate tectonics as a primary mechanism behind the Flood.  Also while at Los Alamos, John assisted the German Weather Service in applying modeling techniques used with Terra to the task of developing their next-generation global weather forecast model.  This model, named GME, became the German operational global forecast model in 2000, and is currently used in more than 20 countries.  John further applied his expertise in numerical methods in the development of Mendel’s Accountant, a population genetics program for modeling mutation and selection.  Current research includes the refinement of Terra to accommodate much stronger variations in rock strength and thereby achieve greater fidelity in modeling the runaway aspects of the Flood cataclysm.


101 Questions and Answers Concerning Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: This set of questions and answers is an outcome of a peer review process that began early in 2009 and continued through the summer of 2011, initiated and led by Joe Bardwell, president of In Jesus’ Name productions. The review itself included six different Flood models and involved five rounds of questions from a ten-member review panel and answers from the authors of the respective models. The chief objective of the review was to evaluate the technical underpinnings of each of the models. This was by far the most probing investigation of the science behind the various attempts to explain the physical aspects of the Genesis Flood undertaken to date. The questions and answers pertaining to the catastrophic plate tectonics (CPT) portion of the review are included here.


Continue to The full CPT Review Q & A.


Selected Papers & Books:


See Also:


Research Update from Dr. Baumgardner

I would like to update you on some of my research efforts since many of us were together in St. George, Utah, a bit over a year ago.  Much of my attention has been focused on the issue of the physics responsible for the runaway subduction that occurred during the Genesis Flood.  Almost 20 years ago I showed that spectacular runaway occurs in a numerical simulation when realism in the rock deformation behavior is included.  This realism reflects what at that time had already been observed and reported from more than 30 years of laboratory experiments pertaining to how mantle minerals deform under stress.  Those experiments had demonstrated that these minerals weaken dramatically when subjected to moderate levels of shear stress, stress levels that can readily arise in a planet with the mass of the earth.  Noteworthy is the fact that the range of deformation rates used in those experiments matches the range of rates of a runaway mantle cataclysm with the Genesis time scale given for the Flood. 

Below are four snapshots from recent a calculation in 2D cylindrical geometry using this experimentally measured deformation behavior.  The thickness of the computational domain is 2890 km, the same as that of the earth’s mantle.  Color denotes temperature, while arrows indicate the rock flow velocity.  The temperature along inner boundary, at the top of the molten outer core, is 4000 K, while the temperature of the top boundary is fixed at 300 K.  A widely used reference earth model known as PREM is used to provide horizontally-averaged radial densities, temperatures and pressures in this 2D model that closely match those of the actual earth.  As to initial conditions, at 12 o’clock there is a mound of cold, negatively buoyant rock atop the boundary between the upper and lower mantle at a depth of 660 km.  (The mineral phase changes that occur at this depth present a moderate barrier to flow across that boundary.  Seismology reveals that there are portions of subducted ocean plates stranded at that depth in today’s mantle.)  Also at the initial time there are hot bumps just above the core-mantle boundary at 3 and 9 o’clock.  These initial temperature conditions spontaneously lead, after a modest interval, to the runaway episode shown in these frames.  The initial pile of cold mantle rock reaches the base of the mantle is less than two weeks’ time.  This unstable behavior is a consequence of the experimentally-observed stress weakening behavior of silicate minerals.

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The next big step in this research effort involves sharpening our understanding the actual mechanisms at the atomic level that lead to the weakening behavior within the crystals.  God provided a close friendship with a colleague, Prof. Mark Horstemeyer, who over the past thirty years has become a world expert in the deformation behavior of metals.  He, his colleagues, and graduate students at Mississippi State University have developed state-of-the-art methods for modeling, down to the atomic level, how metals behave as they are subjected to stress.  One of his recent graduate students, Heechen Cho, has modified these state-of-the-art methods for application to the earth’s silicate minerals.  The specific goal he has had for his research is to advance understanding of the physics of mantle runaway in the context of the Genesis Flood.  As part of his Ph.D. research, he incorporated his silicate material model into the 3D Terra code.  Dr. Cho completed his Ph.D. in May 2019 and is now a faculty member with me at Liberty University.  He is currently utilizing the software he has developed to explore how processes such as recrystallization, grain growth, and mineral phase change affect mantle rock deformation.  He is expecting to begin mentoring two first-year graduate students this coming fall, trusting that they will advance this research effort yet further.  It is exhilarating to be working together with gifted colleagues on these strategic issues.

On another front, prompted by a Ph.D. creationist colleague in Europe, I have been taking some steps to advance some of the C-14 research we undertook some 15 years ago under the auspices of the RATE project.  One of the surprising findings from the earlier work was that high levels of C-14 exist in diamonds found in alluvial, or stream bed, environments.  Below is a table from chapter 8 of our RATE technical report (available at http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Carbon-14-Evidence-for-a-Recent-Global-Flood-and-a-Young-Earth.pdf) that shows the measured levels of 14C in six diamonds from Namibia.  The units are percent modern carbon (pMC), where a value of 100 percent equates to the ratio of 14C/C ratio of the atmosphere in 1950 before the era of atmospheric nuclear testing.  In terms of the absolute ratio, the value of 100 corresponds to about one 14C atom out of a trillion (1012) carbon atoms.  Even though that ratio is incredibly tiny, modern accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) techniques can measure 14C/C ratios as small as 10-17.  The values in Table 5 are well above that threshold value, so there is almost no room for uncertainty that these diamonds truly contain significant amounts of C-14.

Table 5. AMS 14C results for six alluvial diamonds from Namibia. The AMS laboratory’s high precision procedure was used, but no standard background correction has been applied.

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I provided a thorough analysis in that chapter in the RATE report that there is no way that uranium and thorium, at present rates of nuclear decay, could produce such 14C levels in natural terrestrial environments.  The 14C levels measured in these diamonds therefore represent another powerful line of supporting evidence for a recent episode of accelerated decay.  It is also useful to note that the RATE study also measured 14C levels above the AMS threshold in diamonds mined from kimberlite pipes, but these were notably lower than those in the alluvial diamonds. 

Despite the breakthrough nature of the RATE discoveries, as my European colleague points out, the case for accelerated nuclear decay demands multiple replications of the key findings to be persuasive to scientifically trained people.  Based on his own experience in presenting the RATE results to well-educated audiences, he is urgent about the need for additional experimental confirmation of our RATE findings.  I am therefore seeking to find good sources of diamonds, especially where it is possible to obtain geological samples from the exact locations where the diamonds are mined.  Obtaining a positive correlation between the 14C levels in the diamonds and the U/Th concentrations in the environment where they are found would lend even stronger support to the accelerated decay explanation.  Of course, such correlation should exist only if the diamonds have not subsequently been eroded from the sedimentary environment where the accelerated nuclear decay occurred which produced their 14C.  But in many cases that should be possible to determine from a knowledge of the geology context of the deposit and the surrounding region.  Such a project like this one is not a trivial undertaking.  I am looking for scientific colleagues who might have the time and freedom to join me in such a research endeavor.

On yet another front, I am continuing to apply computational methods to investigate how the continental fossil-bearing sediment record was formed during the Flood.  For the past nine years I have been working on a numerical code named Mabbul to study this important topic.  As a result of this research I have become convinced that the primary driving force for the water processes responsible for the erosion, transport, and deposition of the sediment involved were repetitive, very large amplitude tsunamis generated by the locking and unlocking of overriding and subducting plates in subduction zones during the Flood.  In my latest major iteration of this work I included moving continents in the model, beginning with a continent distribution that appears to be a good approximation to the one which existed at the Flood’s onset.  I reported the results at the last ICC in 2018.  A significant feature in those results which I failed to recognize at that time was the amazing, but rough, correlation in the large-scale sediment distribution pattern at the end of the Flood in the model with the sediment distribution pattern that exists on earth today.  The two frames shown below provide the two distributions.

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Note that both maps provide only a coarse representation of the sediment distribution.  The second map is actually intended to show the locations of the so-call shield areas of the world, where the exposed shields tend to have little to no sediment cover.  The green areas, designated covered shields, by contrast typically have a thick sediment cover.  The gray areas are regarded as tectonic belts and may or may not have significant sediment cover, depending on location.

A good place to begin in comparing the two maps is Africa.  Note that the Mabbul model displays thick sedimentation across the northern margin of Africa/Sinai with much less sediment elsewhere in reasonable agreement with the shield map.  The same general trend also holds for South America, India, Australia, and North America.  The agreement is not bad for Eurasia, but it is poor for Antarctica.

Given that the Mabbul model is very much at its beginning stages, I am extremely encouraged by this correlation, as rough as it is.  I am eager to find a graduate student who senses a call from God to advance this work much further.  Currently, I have an undergraduate engineering student who is working to model the locking and unlocking of the overriding plate with the subducting plate at a subduction zone to explore what occurs when the plate velocities are dramatically higher as they were during the Flood.  One of the main issues to be addressed in that study is to estimate the amplitude of the tsunamis that are generated.

I invite you to pray for all these projects, that God might direct and provide insight, understanding, resources, and people, to the end that He might be honored, His word might be reverenced, and Christ’s church might be strengthened and emboldened.