My 5 yr old son, Merrick, loves the deep sea. He asked me if there are fossils on the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench being made now, as well as in the past? I had been telling him how fossils take a lot of pressure to make, like the flood, and he figures that since there is so much water pressure at the bottom of the ocean, fossils would be made more easily than on land. I really don’t know the answer to this. I know it takes a lot of pressure to make fossils so his hypothesis seems correct but I have never heard of fossils on the ocean floor. I am wondering if there is not enough sediment to form fossils, or if there are fossils down there but they have either not been discovered because no one has explored it enough or if we just have never heard of them. I thought you guys would be the best ones to ask this question. He really wants to be a deep sea explorer and a missionary when he grows up. It is also because of AIG that I believe the Word of God from the Beginning. Thank you.

– J.F., Gardner, Massachusetts

Fish Fossils

Photo courtesy of Dr. Andrew Snelling.

Many fish were buried alive and fossilized quickly, such as this fish “caught in the act” of eating its last meal.

Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis. This is a great question about fossil formation! Conditions are not right for fossils to form in deep-sea trenches for several reasons. Most sea animals that die are quickly eaten. Any “leftovers” are then eaten by scavengers, filter feeders, or other creatures. Seashells and the bones of fish dissolve completely at ocean depths greater than 14,800 feet. This is called the Calcium Carbonate Compensation Depth (CCD). The deepest part of the Mariana Trench is 35,840 feet—well below the CCD.

You may be wondering what conditions are needed for a sea creature to fossilize. Fossils form when sea creatures are rapidly buried under lots of sediment that hardens.

“Surprisingly enough, just about everybody—creationist, evolutionist, and everyone in between—agrees that individual fossil specimens themselves begin to form very, very rapidly! If a plant or animal just dies and falls to the ground or into the water, it’s quickly broken up and decomposed by scavengers, wind and water currents, even sunlight. Fallen logs, road kills, and dead aquarium fish don’t just become fossils . . . Most fossils are formed when a plant or animal is quickly and deeply buried, out of reach of scavengers and currents, usually in mud, lime, or sand sediment rich in cementing minerals that harden and preserve at least parts of the dead creatures. Evolutionists and creationists agree: the ideal conditions for forming most fossils and fossil-bearing rock layers are flood conditions.”1
– Dr. Gary Parker

Many fossils were formed during the global Flood mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 7). Catastrophic flood conditions were perfect for fossil formation during this time. This explains why there are fossils of sea creatures in strange places, such as deserts and mountaintops!

To learn more about fossil formation and sea creatures, please see the following:

Kids, we love to hear from you! If you have any questions, please ask an adult to help you submit them using this page on our website. We’ll be looking forward to receiving more interesting questions!

1Gary Parker, “How Fast?”, Creation: Facts of Life, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cfl/how-fast