Drowned from below
Published: 10 February 2010 (GMT+10)
The globe-covering Flood of Noah involved, among other things, the breaking up of ‘all the fountains of the great deep’ (Genesis 7:11). This suggests a world-wide fracturing of the earth’s crust and the violent expulsion of water, vapours and other subterranean material such as volcanic lava. New evidence from inside the earth casts intriguing light on this global-scale scenario.
Scientists have long thought that the hot interior of the earth would be very dry, because the heat would have vaporised and driven off any water. But according to a report in New Scientist, certain minerals, even under the intense heat and pressure deep underground, can store lots of water.1 Models of the mantle, that part of the earth between the molten core and the solid crust, and notably the ‘transition zone’ between the upper and lower mantle, now describe it as ‘sopping wet’.2
What’s more, it seems that hot wet rocks are more unstable than hot dry rocks. This new information may now explain ‘why massive volcanic outbursts suddenly flood[ed] hundreds of thousands of square kilometres [of land] with lava’, as observed in a number of different parts of the geological record.3
Who could ask for a more graphic description of the behaviour of the ‘fountains of the great deep’? It is interesting that even today, up to 70% or more of what comes out of volcanoes is water, mostly in the form of vapour.
So how much water is stored in the mantle? Estimates vary from 10 to 30 times the amount in all the earth’s present oceans! Is it possible for the mantle to suddenly release this water and for the earth to be ‘drowned from below’? The author concluded that a ‘sudden outpouring of water, Noah-style’, was unlikely.4 His conclusion is consistent with God’s promise to Noah, sealed by the sign of the rainbow, never to destroy the earth with water again (Genesis 9:11–17).
We know from Scripture that water once poured from the ‘fountains of the great deep’ for five months, so that the ancient world was once literally ‘drowned from below’.
Even after all that, there is still a vast reservoir of subterranean water inside the earth. Its very existence, and the dramatic effect it has on the behaviour of the earth’s hot interior, indicates once again that the ancient Bible stories are not mythical but are historical facts and simple descriptions of a sobering physical reality.
References and notes
- Bergeron, L., Deep Waters, New Scientist 155(2097):22–26, August 30, 1997. Return to text.
- The earth’s crust is, on average, about 25 km (16 miles) thick, while the core is about 2,900 km (1800 miles) below the surface. The mantle transition zone extends roughly from a depth of 400 km (250 miles) to 670 km (420 miles). Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 23.Return to text.
- Ref. 1, p. 26. Return to text.