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Hydrological sorting is the process by which objects settle in a fluid; often water; based on factors such as size and density. The following experiment shows the basic concept in action; however this only represents the simplest case.
|Put some dirt in a glass.||Pour water into the glass.||Stir the contents of the glass.||It will settle in to layers.|
The quality of the results depends on the dirt that is used. Getting dirt of from different places produces better results.
The case represented by this experiment is where there is a fixed amount of sediment. In such cases each type of sediment produces only one layer. However this is not the case with a continual influx of sediment.
|Sediment continually coming in from above.||Sediment continually coming in horizontally.|
When sediment is continually coming in then the sediment forms repeating layers, between the different types of sediment. When sediment is coming in from above the Principle of superposition may be valid but there is no reason why one layer must be totally formed before the next begins. However when sediment is coming in horizontally the Principle of superposition does not apply since all of the layers are forming simultaneously.
In both cases the thickness of layers is determined by the differences is the size and density of the particles, and the disposition rate is determined by the rate of influx of material. The result is that the thickness of the layers is not related to the disposition rate, but only to the nature of the particles being deposited.
Hydrological sorting readily explains the layered pattern found in rocks with in the context of a Global flood, but the it is difficult to tell exactly how it would affect fossil order, since the buoyancy of an organism is not apparent from fossils, since they seldom contain any soft tissue, or internal organs. A study using modern animal carcases would be a help in this area, but hydrological sorting would be just one of several factors affecting fossil order.
While hydrological sorting is a major part of Flood geology, it often a greatly misunderstood part. When properly understood it readily explains the sedimentary rock layers seen in the Earth, when placed in the context of a Global flood.
geological dating principles questioned / strata experiments