Explore
This article is from
Creation 46(2):32–35, April 2024

Browse our latest digital issue Subscribe

The Genesis Flood for kids: The flood peaks

by Jonathan Sarfati

Published in Creation 46(2):32–35, 2024

©CMIThe-Flood-peaks
© Eva Mencnerova | Dreamstime.commt-ararat
Mt Ararat (Greater Ararat cone) in Eastern Turkey—it may not be the biblical “mountains of Ararat”

In the previous articles, we learned more about the globe-covering Flood taught in Genesis 6–8. It started in the oceans, then rose to cover the land. As it did so, all people, birds, livestock, and wild animals died—except those on the Ark. Vast numbers were buried in rock layers that spanned continents. Layer upon layer was laid down very quickly.

All bad things come to an end

Fortunately, even such a Flood doesn’t last forever. But it still lasted far longer than any local flood. Genesis 7:17–24 informs us that the Flood “prevailed” for 150 days. After that, the Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, and the water started going down. But it took more than half a year before the Flood left the land so that Noah and everyone else could leave the Ark.

How high did the Flood reach?

At the peak, the Flood covered the highest mountains to 15 cubits deep (about 7 metres or 22.5 feet). The Ark was safe because it sank only about ten cubits into the water—a third of its height. But how could water cover the highest mountains? The highest mountain today is Mt Everest—its summit (highest point) is 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft) above sea level.

The answer is: Mt Everest didn’t exist at the beginning of the Flood. Rather, the highest mountains were pushed up towards the very end of the Flood by strong forces on sediment layers that had yet to harden to rock. But we do know these mountains were once under water. The summit of Mt Everest is marine (ocean) limestone, containing fossils of creatures that lived on the sea floor.

© Etherled | Dreamstime.comMt-Everest
Mt Everest

You might have read that the air on high mountains is very thin, so climbers need oxygen tanks to breathe properly. How did Noah manage without them? The answer is: air pressure decreases with height above sea level. Noah was basically at sea level.

© Anthony Furgison | Dreamstime.comtranquil-Flood
A global flood could not be tranquil and leave the landscape and structures undamaged

Without mountains as high as there are now, there would have been plenty of water to cover all of them. In fact, if the entire earth were perfectly smooth and even—mountains flattened, and ocean bottoms raised—the water in our oceans would cover it all, to 3 km (2 miles) deep!

Was the Flood calm?

Some people have proposed a ‘tranquil Flood’ theory—tranquil means calm and peaceful. They claimed that the Flood rose, drowned all the animals and humans—then sank without a trace. However, 2 Peter 3:3–7 says that “scoffers” have no excuse to deny the Flood. This implies that it left obvious evidence, and our previous articles in this series have shown the enormous scale of this evidence!

Also, a tranquil flood makes as much sense as a tranquil explosion. Just one cubic metre of water weighs a tonne (or, about 62 pounds per cubic foot). It would be an absolute miracle if so much moving water left no trace—and the Bible has no hint of such a miracle. Even local floods leave lots of destruction in their wake. How much more a global Flood?

Calm at the Flood’s peak?

© Associtaded Press Photo/KCRAcanyons-eroded
Cavitation destroyed Oroville Dam spillway

Could the Flood have been calm at its peak? That is, when there was no land, just one worldwide ocean.

No. Our Earth is a giant ball that rotates once per day. This gives us our day-night cycle. The spinning also makes large bodies of water or air turn (see box). This is why hurricanes (cyclones, typhoons) turn anticlockwise (counterclockwise) in the northern hemisphere but clockwise in the southern.

CC BY-SA 2.5 | Axda0002 | wikipedia.coCavitation-propeller-damage
Propeller damaged by cavitation

The spinning would have caused giant circulating currents, called gyres, in the single-world ocean. The currents would have flowed at 40–80 m/s (90–180 mph), over a diameter of about 2,500 km. Water flowing at such speeds can be very damaging, and would have caused lots of erosion. The flowing water produces tiny bubbles, which then burst supersonically (faster than sound). This produces enormous heat—15,000 ºC (27,000 ºF), or 2.5 times hotter than the sun’s surface! The bubble forming and bursting is called cavitation.

Cavitation is so damaging that it will poke holes in ship propellers, even those made of hard metal. Cavitation can even tear up reinforced concrete. This happened to two of the largest dams in America—Glen Canyon in Arizona and Oroville Dam in California. In both cases, over-filling caused vast amounts of water to flow. The flow produced cavitation that broke up hard concrete and rock, then the strong currents tore them and carried them away.

If strong local currents can do so much damage, then how much more damage would a massive underwater gyre do?

© VectorMine | Dreamstime.com • © Roland Warmbier | Dreamstime.comcoriolis-effect

Why would the water circle?

Go with a friend or family to a flat merry-go-round and roll a ball on it. It should move in straight lines. But start it spinning and try the same roll. Now it will seem to curve away (deflect). Scientists call this apparent deflection the Coriolis effect. It only appears to deflect from your point of view. Someone standing on the ground will still see the ball moving in straight paths.

The earth rotates very slowly, only once per day, so we see this deflection only on a large scale. The effect is very noticeable on the scale of a hurricane or gyre. But for water draining out of the kitchen sink, the effect is too small to make a difference. Whether water drains clockwise or anticlockwise depends on other factors. For example, the tap (faucet) might be a bit off-centre, so makes the water rotate as the sink fills.

The Ark was safe!

As shown in a previous article, the Ark was a very sturdy boat. Also, God was looking after it. Most of the ocean was quite deep, away from the destructive gyres. Another benefit of deep water is that tsunamis are hardly noticeable. They also become very tall only in shallow water, then crash on land and cause lots of damage. But as shown previously, the Ark could withstand tsunami-sized waves anyway.

© Prudencio Alvarez | Dreamstime.comflood-recede

The Flood would recede

After the Flood reached its peak, it eventually came down. This was good for the Ark’s passengers. But the water flowing off the land tore up lots of rock in the process. We still see the evidence today. This will be the subject of the next article in this series.

Posted on homepage: 3 April 2024

Helpful Resources

Exploring Geology with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck
US $16.00
Hard cover
The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
US $39.00
Hard cover
How Noah's Flood Shaped Our Earth
by Michael J Oard, John K Reed
US $17.00
Soft cover
Biblical Geology 101
by Michael J Oard, Robert Carter
US $20.00
Soft cover