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Global Flood Geology

"If I, as a geologist, were called upon to explain briefly our modern ideas of the origin of the earth and the development of life on it to a simple, pastoral people, such as the tribes to whom the Book of Genesis was addressed, I could hardly do better than follow rather closely much of the language of the first chapter of Genesis." Wallace Pratt, quoted by W.L. Copithorne, in "The Worlds of Wallace Pratt," The Lamp, Fall 1971, p. 14

Introduction -

Delicate Arch - UtahOur world is completely covered in monumental flood sediments such as those visible in the walls of the Grand Canyon, or in the photograph at right taken in Utah. According to Genesis 6-8 and the Biblical chronology, approximately 4500 years ago there was a global flood that destroyed all terrestrial life on earth, except for those which were stored on the ark by Noah and his family. It is therefore the basic assumption of most Biblical creationists that the stratified sedimentary layers known as the geological column have been misinterpreted by modern science, and are instead a rather obvious testament of this worldwide catastrophe.

'Genesis 7:11-12 on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

The flood is said to have been caused by a forty day rain that was accompanied by an upsurgence of subterranean waters lasting for one hundred and fifty days (chronology of the flood). A debate has been ongoing within the creation community concerning whether rainfall, or subterranean sources were the principal supply of the flood waters. It is now largely presumed that the latter was largely responsible, however, there are many factors indicating a significant change in our atmosphere has taken place as a result of this Biblical catastrophe. Some of the evidence supporting these two views will be examined below, and theories presented to offer an explanation on the cause of the flood and mechanism of settling flood water.

Vapor Canopy

Some speculate that Gen 1:6-7 is referring to a vapor canopy which collapsed during the flood. but beforehand protected the earth, or provided atmospheric stability that no longer exists. For example the size of organisms before the flood, and the productivity of various ecosystems was generally much greater than after. Also regions that are now perpetual glaciers such as Antarctica, possess fossil evidence of rich ecosystems including fossil ferns and amphibians with skulls measuring up to one meter. Such productivity could only be explained by global temperature fluctuation or drifting continents.

Genesis 1: 6-7 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

There are other indicators of an atmospheric change resulting from the flood such as the sudden appearance of rainbow following the flood, and the rapid decline in human lifespan in just the few generations after Noah. Likewise the first mention of clouds is not until after the deluge, and many believe there was no rain or clouds beforehand. However, from the Bible it is clear there were stars also visible before the flood, therefore any supposed canopy was less dense than than our standard cloud-cover today.

Genesis 9:14 - When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,
Genesis 9:16 - When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
Genesis 2:5-6 In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up--for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

The existence of the "vapor canopy" remains theoretic, but it is unquestionable that our world was tremendously affected by the flood, and the catastrophe resulted in or was caused by atmospheric changes.

Factors Suggesting Preflood Canopy or Atmospheric Change Resulting from Flood

    • Continuous forty day rain.
    • Rainbow - absent before flood; present after flood. (Clouds also?)
    • Fossiliferous plants and animals in polar regions indicating globally uniform temperatures before.
    • The tremendous decline in human life expectancy following the flood.

Fountains of the Great Deep

Genesis 7:11-12 on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth

Mid Oceanic Ridges - Global MapThe flood possibly began when the earth's crust was fractured releasing subterranean caverns of water and magma. The picture at right shows the locations of the mid oceanic ridge which resides all over the world, and are possibly where the earth was globally fractured.

The "springs of the great deep" are believed to be Ogallala Aquiferthe preflood subterranean water-table much like those that still exist today in remnant form. Unknown to many, much of the land under our feet resides upon massive ancient bodies of water such as the Ogallala aquifer pictured at left. The Ogallala Aquifer resides under several states in the US, and supplies continuous spring water such as the famous Artesian Wells (et al. Geysers). It is thought that all land masses were positioned upon aquifers at the beginning of creation which supplied free-flowing rivers before the flood. It was these ancient massive aquifers that were triggered to "burst-forth" and flooded the earth. Even though these aquifers were largely depleted, today 40% of the drinking water in the United States comes from these ancient ground waters.

What Started the Flood?

According to the Bible, God decided to destroy the earth by flood because man had become wicked, and in particular due to a race known as the Nephilim. Although the exact mechanism used may never be known, the event that triggered the breech of the "springs of the great deep" may have been caused or accompanied by other catastrophic processes. Evidence of meteor and volcanic activity is interspersed throughout the geological column, and it is presumed by some that perhaps a series of meteor impacts fractured the earth's crust causing the preflood aquifers to flow unrestricted. It can only be presumed what actually caused the flood other than the might hand-of-God, but there were clear and irreversible alterations of both our earth's crust and atmosphere as a result of the great flood.

Mechanism of Flood Water Recession

A portion of the flood water recession was accomplished by glacial formation. It is almost certain there was proportionally more land available immediately after the flood than there is currently. The ocean levels continue to rise today because of melting of glacial deposits that were formed when the earth was still completely covered in flood water. It is believed the majority of the glacial development, known as the ice ages, formed during the flood, and was responsible for land and ice bridges allowing the post flood migration of animals and humans into regions that are now completely isolated by water (i.e. Bering strait).

Today the earth's crust has sufficiently uneven elevations so that about 30% remains above the water line, however, if the present contour of the earth's surface was leveled, the entire planet would still be covered by water to a depth of 9000 feet. Much of the deformation of the earth's crust has occurred since the deposition of the stratified sediment during the flood. These layers were originally laid in horizontal rows, and have since been folded and forced upward. Therefore most of the tectonic activity responsible for mountain building has been relatively recent, and likely driven by receding flood waters.

Most of the rise in the earth's land elevation has been due to plate tectonic activity caused by spreading oceans. The continental land masses have been essentially crushed, and slabs of crust have been overthrust or subducted under others causing mountain building, and volcanism. If is presumed by some creationists, that the majority of the ocean bodies are settled flood waters, and it is this accumulation that is driving the spreading of the mid-oceanic ridge and related geological movement. It is believed the oceans have essentially stretched to accommodate the accumulation of the expelled subterranean water, and the pressure of this expanding volume displaced the newly formed layers causing deformations such as folding, and mountain formation.

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