Fountains of the great deep on Mars?


Image NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems The planet Mars, like Earth, has clouds in its atmosphere and a deposit of ice at its north pole. But unlike Earth, Mars has no liquid water on its surface. The rustlike color of Mars comes from the large amount of iron in the planet’s soil.

In recent decades, unmanned planetary rover missions have sent back more and more photographs and other data from the mysterious ‘red planet’. Each time, it seems, most researchers are increasingly convinced that water caused the surface features of Mars. In fact, they have often proposed massive planetary-scale flooding. One imagined ‘epoch’ in Mars’ geological past, which is said to have coincided towards the end of that era with extensive flooding by water, is called the Noachian Epoch. An associated large southern landmass on the planet has been named Noachis Terra, or “Land of Noah”.

Whether or not these reconstructions of the geological history of Mars are accurate, it has always been particularly ironic to creationists. I.e. secular researchers have no problem accepting a global or near-global flood or floods on Mars, despite not having found a drop of liquid water anywhere on Mars to date (and even before there was any ice found). But a global Flood on Earth, a planet that is mostly covered by water? No way! How could that be? “Where is all the water for such a flood?”, they mockingly ask, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are standing on a planet that is mostly covered by water.

Ask what happened to the water for the massive flooding on Mars, and there is no shortage of theories. It might have been locked up beneath the surface, then come out and since evaporated, dissipating to space. Or perhaps it has gone back down there again. Or both.

“Ah, you mean, like fountains of the great deep on Mars?”

“Yes, you could call it something like that.”

“So could that have happened here on Earth, like it says here in Genesis?”

“Whaat? No way!”

All the fountains of the great deep broke up …

Adding to the irony is a recent news release on analysis of images from the Mars Express. It claims that deposits called LTDs, which most closely resemble Earth sediments, were formed “when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface”.1

And now, in addition, comes a claim of still more frozen water on Mars—from the well-regarded journal Science (322, p.1235, 21 November 2008). Ground-penetrating radar on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests the presence of “vast Martian glaciers of water ice”.2 To date, the only ice found on Mars has been at polar latitudes. The report suggests that because the ice exists “under protective blankets of rocky debris” this has prevented it from evaporating into outer space. True, there still has been no liquid water found on the red planet, but these ‘blanketed’ storehouses of ice are huge. Added to the water at higher latitudes,3 it would probably represent enough water to cover the entire planet to some 20 cms in depth. And remember that they think this is the remnant of water that has not yet dissipated into space—either because it is at high (cooler) latitudes or protected under insulating layers of dust and rock.

Water, water, everywhere …

Image NASA/JPL Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Global Surveyor orbiting Mars in 1997.

On top of this are other recent discoveries suggesting a huge reservoir of subsurface water on Saturn’s moon Titan.4 The same article points out how there are now three other Solar System objects suspected of having huge, deep oceans—the moons called Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

“Fountains of the great deep” are not a problem, it seems—anywhere but on Earth which is two-thirds covered with water. In fact, there is so much water in Earth’s oceans alone that if its surface features were smoothed out, the water would cover the planet to a depth of about 3 km (1.8 miles). Furthermore, seismic studies suggest that beneath the surface, in one form or another, there is still sufficient water to fill Earth’s oceans more than ten times over again.5

But then, the Apostle Peter wrote long ago of “scoffers” who would be “willingly ignorant” of the fact that “long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.” (2 Peter 3:3–6)

Postscript: One hardly hears anything about Mars’ polar icecaps anymore—perhaps because these have been progressively shrinking, a politically incorrect fact. Why so? Because on Mars, any ‘global warming’ can’t be due to human activity. If Earth and Mars are both warming, it would tend to point the finger more at increased solar activity.6

Published: 13 January 2009


  1. ‘Groundwater Springs Played Important Role In Shaping Mars, Perhaps Sheltering Primitive Life’, Sciencedaily.com, 12 December 2008.Return to text.
  2. See www.utexas.edu/news/2008/11/20/mars_glaciers. Return to text.
  3. The polar icecaps have long been said to be composed of carbon dioxide (‘dry ice’). Return to text.
  4. See news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7307584.stm. Return to text.
  5. See ‘Drowned from below’ creation.com/article/246. Return to text.
  6. See news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html. For CMI’s general approach to this debate, see creation.com/article/4817. Return to text.

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