Does Coconino Sandstone disprove Genesis?

Does the Coconino sandstone disprove Genesis?

Footprints in Coconino sandstone
Image from Wikimedia Commons, and is in Public Domain

The Coconino sandstone is a layer of fine-grained rock present in much of Arizona and the Grand Canyon. It is thought to have originated in desert conditions due to the presence of cross-beds formed on sand dunes, and the ‘distinctly’ desert-like polished sand grains. And so this presents a problem for the global flood (see Genesis 7:19) as mentioned in Genesis. If the rock layers above and below the Coconino sandstone were laid down by water as creation geology tells us, how could sandstone formed in a desert originate from a flood? Was there a period of drought and desert in the middle of the global flood?

Not so Fast!

As it turns out, the desert sand dunes appear to be no such thing! They seem to be, in fact, underwater ‘dunes’ caused by storms.[1] The lower angle of the ‘dunes’ in the Coconino sandstone also supports this conclusion.

Palaeontologist Leonard Brand conducted experiments, published in a mainstream journal, finding that the fossilized footprints present in the Coconino sandstone were most likely made underwater and not in a desert.[2] The footprints show how the animals were moving in one direction while their feet were pointing in a different direction — which suggests an underwater current at work.

The supposed desert polish found on the sand grains is not a problem either. They could have been wind eroded just like any other sand until the flood hit and redeposited them.

Once again, a seemingly indestructible challenge to creationist flood geology fails upon closer examination.


  1. See: Visher, G.S., Exploration Stratigraphy (Penn Well Publishing Co., Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1990), 2nd edition, pp. 211–213. Back to text
  2. Brand, L., Field and laboratory studies in the Coconino Sandstone, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 28:37, 1979. Back to text
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