Where did all the water come from?
The earth’s mantle is over 2,800 km thick, extending from the core to the crust. The upper mantle is known as the ‘depleted mantle’ because geologists believe material has come out of it onto the earth’s crust. There is still enough water in the mantle to fill the oceans at least ten times over.1
The bible tells us that water for Noah’s Flood came from two sources.
We read in Genesis 7:11 that ‘all the springs of the great deep burst forth’. It’s likely that this water came from the earth’s mantle. Geologists calculate that the rocks in the mantle still contain within their mineral structure enough water to fill the oceans at least ten times over.1 They also recognize that material has come out of the outer part of the mantle, which they call the ‘depleted mantle’.2 Some suggest also that uplift of the ocean floor spilled water onto the continents.3
Genesis 7:11 records that water also came from the sky: ‘the floodgates of the heavens were opened’. This was not normal rain because it continued for 40 days until the Ark began to float. The water kept rising on the earth for five months and eventually covered all the high mountains (Genesis 7:19).
How could it rain for so long? We don’t know for sure but creation scientists have suggested some possibilities:
- Collapse of a thick water-vapour canopy which surrounded the pre-Flood earth high in the atmosphere. Calculations indicate this could not have held much water, but it may explain some.4
- Jets of water shooting high into the atmosphere from under the earth and falling back as rain.5
- Intense cyclones called hypercanes that developed over warm ocean water (heated by underwater volcanic eruptions).6
- Water dumped on the earth by a swarm of comets. The craters on the moon point to an intense solar system bombardment, and some creationists suggest this happened during the Flood.7
- A combination of these.
Noah’s Flood was a one-off event and we did not see it happen. Even so, the sources of water recorded in the Bible are consistent with our understanding of the structure of the earth.
References and notes
- Williams, A., Drowned from below, Creation 22(3):52–53, 2000. Return to text.
- Partial melting of the Upper Mantle is held to have generated the continental crust. Return to text.
- Baumgardner, J., 3-D finite element simulation of the global tectonic changes accompanying Noah’s Flood, 2nd ICC, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, pp. 35–45, 1990. Return to text.
- Vardiman, L., Climates before and after the Genesis Flood, ICR, California, pp. 7–21, 2001. Return to text.
- Baumgardner, J., Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: The physics behind the Genesis Flood, 5th ICC, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, pp. 113–126, 2003. Return to text.
- Woodmorappe, J., Hypercanes: rainfall generators during the Flood? Journal of Creation 14(2):123–127, 2000. Return to text.
- Faulkner, D., A biblically-based cratering theory, Journal of Creation 13(1):100–104, 1999.
(Available in Dutch)