I'm less thrilled about some of the writing in the article, however. For example, this:
Our traditional view of deep river canyons, such as the Grand Canyon, is that they are carved slowly, as the regular flow and occasionally moderate rushing of rivers erodes rock over periods of millions of years.
Such is not always the case, however. "We know that some big canyons have been cut by large catastrophic flood events during Earth's history," Lamb says.
While I do understand what the author is trying to say, they're frankly doing a poor job of it that plays right into the sticky little hands of the Young Earth Creationists; the author makes it sound as if this example of catastrophic flooding somehow sheds doubt on to what we know about the Grand Canyon. It doesn't.
Catastrophic flooding and canyons is a fairly recent area of research that was pioneered by J Harlen Bretz - who was very much a geologist, not a young-Earth nut. He mostly looked at portions of the western US that were shaped by the glacial outburst floods from Lake Missoula during the last period of glaciation. One example of the resulting land forms is the Channeled Scablands. And the big canyons that Lamb is talking about? The coulees in that same area, such as Grand Coulee.
Morphologically, the coulees look VERY different from river canyons such as the Grand Canyon. As one example, viewed in an aerial photo, the Grand Canyon has very obvious (and incredibly entrenched) meanders - a river feature. Take a look at the Scablands and the features become much more linear - here you're looking for the features that seem to slant NE to SW; Banks Lake, for example, was made by filling in the Upper Grand Coulee with water. And there are many other features that could be compared and found different between these canyons. If you're curious, here's an aerial view of the new "canyon."
Which is why this really bothers me:
Unfortunately, these catastrophic megafloods -- which also may have chiseled out spectacular canyons on Mars—generally leave few telltale signs to distinguish them from slower events.
...so do those boulders pictured in the article itself just not count? Because the idea that catastrophic flooding (such as glacial outburst floods) were the cause of certain types of features is relatively new, we're still researching what features should be associated with what phenomena and trying to understand how they form. That is really not the same thing as there being "few" features, or that somehow slower erosional events are difficult to distinguish from flood events. Part of the elegance of Bretz's argument for the Scablands was that the Lake Missoula outburst floods explained features that really couldn't be explained by the normal action of rivers.
I have no doubt the YECs are already picking their way through the paper, taking the bits of data that support their position. That's to be expected. But the way this article has been written makes me cringe. Instead of simply focusing on the super coolness of catching a flood like this in action, or giving background of other catastrophic flood morphology in the US, we're getting these bizarre little pokings at the idea that this somehow affects our understanding of the Grand Canyon's formation. Again, it really doesn't. To me it just sounds like whoever wrote the article was searching for some sort of controversy or dramatic angle, one that was ultimately unnecessary when the solid facts are nifty enough to stand on their own. Writing FAIL.
1 - Okay, technically you could. But probably only if it involved an elaborate plot to blow up the dam upriver of Metropolis because you're just so tired of your world domination plots being foiled. And you'd likely have to be cackling all the while too, and that's just tiring.