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The remarkable landscape around Provadia, Bulgaria

Fortress Ovech overlooking Provadia, Bulgaria

How Noah’s Flood formed it

Today’s feedback is from S.A. from Bulgaria asking about a fascinating geographic feature near his home town.

Hello CMI

I have a question for your geologist. What do you think about the formation of the canyon in which the town of Provadia is situated in Bulgaria. I live here, and I was wondering how it was formed. We are located about 50 km from the Black Sea and we know there was a local flood back in 5600 BC (according to some secular scientists). Do you think so? All the rocks on the top of the plateau contain marine shells.

Thanks in advance :)

CMI writer/speaker Dr Tas Walker responded:

Hi S.A.,

Thank you for the information you sent about your town of Provadia in Bulgaria. It is a beautiful area and most interesting geologically. The drone video1 you linked to was excellent.

The photo you sent (figure 1) shows how Provadia sits in a long narrow valley, or canyon, with high escarpments to the west and the east. These cliffs rise to a plateau which once extended right across the landscape. The plateau was eroded into sections when the valleys formed. The top of the plateau is capped by a thick light-coloured rock that forms steep cliffs at the top of the escarpments. The lower portion of the escarpments, below these cliffs, slopes more gently out into the valleys. You can tell that the plateau was once continuous across the area because the same types of rock is exposed at the top of every escarpment.

The light-coloured rock that forms the top of the plateau (figure 1) is described on the geological map you sent me as “upper Cretaceous rocks—limestone, sandstone, organic limestones”. The limestone would be deposited in a marine setting and explains the presence of marine shells on top of the plateau. In many places, including Australia, the top of the Cretaceous represents the last sediments that were deposited as the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising (see article The Great Artesian Basin, Australia), and this is likely the case here in Bulgaria.

Figure 1. Provadia, Bulgaria, looking north. Steep cliffs to the west and the east rise to a plateau. The Provadiyska River flows south through the town. To the east of the town, a long neck of land runs alongside the valley, on which was built the Ovech Fortress. Then, to the east of that lies another valley, narrower than the first, along which another river flows south. And to the east of that valley the plateau continues.

All the rocks in the area, including the rocks around Provadia, would have been deposited during Noah’s Flood as the flood waters were rising. This was an enormous catastrophe, and the geological strata would have been deposited over an enormous area. This would have continued for as long as the water was rising until they covered the whole earth.

Then, the plateau would have been carved flat by the waters of Noah’s Flood while they completely covered the landscape, and as they were moving as a vast, continuous sheet. On many continents great thickness of sediment, of the order of kilometres thick, were eroded from the land surface at this time, leaving a planation surface, given that name because it was planed flat. Here it is likely to be the same situation, with the top of the plateau representing the planation surface. This article about the erosion surface on Africa explains the process in more detail. The period of time during the Flood when these rocks were removed from the surface has playfully been called the ‘erodozoic’ (see figure 14 of the article about Africa).

The waters of Noah’s Flood flowed off the continent and reduced in depth until eventually some land emerged above the surface of the water. When this happened, the waters then flowed in wide channels through the intervening spaces, carving gorges and valleys into the landscape. After the waters had flowed off the continent and the Flood had ended, the present-day rivers and streams now use the same channels originally carved at the end of the Flood. One feature of these valleys is that they are much larger than the rivers that flow through them, a characteristic called an over-fit valley. This is a feature of the valley in which Provadia sits, in that the Provadiyska River is much smaller than the present valley.

Another remarkable feature of the Provadiyska River is that it cuts through the plateau, forming the valley in which Provadia is situated. This is a geographical feature known as a ‘water gap’, and a tell-tale evidence of Noah’s Flood. If the landscape was eroded by the processes that we see happening today, such as rainfall and slow erosion, we would expect the river to flow around the plateau, not through it. How did it erode through? This is a feature of the receding waters of Noah’s Flood, where the flow channel was established while the water level was much higher and covered the whole area. The valley was carved by the water as it drained and its level reduced. See the article Do rivers erode through mountains which explains the mechanism in detail.

Figure 2. Terrain view of the area around Provadia. Red = water level up to 50 m higher than present sea level. Orange = water 50–100 m higher. Yellow = water 100–230 m higher. Pale green (unshaded terrain view of Google Maps) land above 230 m. Provadia is situated some 50 km to the west (left) of Varna, in the narrow valley that shows as a red vertical band. The plateau can be seen either side of Provadia as a pale green area.

One helpful tool to visualise how the waters of Noah’s Flood receded is Google Maps terrain view, especially an application where layers can be added representing raised water levels (HeyWhatsThat Sea Level Rise). Figure 2 displays such a map. On this map, yellow highlights areas that would be covered by water if the level was 230 m higher than today’s sea level, orange for water levels 100 m higher, and red for water levels 50 m higher. Areas of land above 230 m show as pale green, which is the unshaded terrain view of Google Maps. Provadia is situated some 50 km to the west (left) of Varna, in the narrow valley that shows as a red vertical band. The plateau can be seen either side of Provadia as a pale green area. It’s about 40 km long and 5 km wide, and on its western side it curls around to the south.

Notice the large yellow area to the north of the plateau (figure 2) indicating that, once the waters of Noah’s Flood had reduced below the level of the plateau, an enormous volume of water would have been held in this area. By following the red path, you can see that this water would have drained to the south through the Provadia valley, then flowed to the south east, then to the north, and finally to the east past Varna into the Black Sea. This provides a graphic illustration of how the waters of Noah’s Flood drained.

Another feature of the Provadia Valley and the steep cliffs on either side (figure 1) is the lack of debris at their base. There is some material at the base due to the soft nature of the lower sediments, but there is not much compared with the width of the valley. In fact, between the escarpments on either side the valley floor is reasonably flat. This indicates that the cliffs were eroded recently, and that the eroded material was carried out of the area leaving the valleys clear. This feature is a characteristic of many valleys formed by the tail end of Noah’s Flood when the last of the floodwaters were draining from the continent. The huge volume of water that would have flowed through the Provadia Valley as the area to the north drained explains the absence of debris.

The adjoining valley to the east (figure 1) is an example of a valley where the debris has not been carried completely out of the area. Very late in Noah’s Flood, after the water level had dropped below the level of the plateau, there was only a small volume of water trapped upstream that would have drained through this adjoining valley, not enough to transport the debris away. This is indicated by the yellow shading on figure 2 related to this valley.

You ask about a flood at 5600 BC. This would be the hypothesis proposed by geologists Pitman and Ryan that the Mediterranean Sea broke through the Bosporus around 5600 BC causing a rapid rise in the level of the Black Sea. They claim the biblical account of Noah’s Flood is a corrupted version of their Black Sea flood. However, for many obvious reasons their proposal does not match what the Bible describes, as discussed in this article The Black Sea flood Definitely not the Flood of Noah. To make things worse, further research into the sediments in the Bosporus have concluded that there never was a flooding of the Black Sea as proposed by Pitman and Ryan.

Thanks for your inquiry. I hope this helps you understand how your area was formed during Noah’s Flood.

All the best,
Dr Tasman Walker
Scientist, Writer, Speaker
Creation Ministries International (Australia)

Published: 12 January 2019

References and notes

  1. Крепост "Овеч" от птичи поглед, Bird’s eye view of Ovech Fortress, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F89L5iSFmUw accessed 12 December 2018; I also found this drone footage: Ovech Fortress, Provadia, Bulgaria (drone footage), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ape9qPaQmA, accessed 12 December 2018. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

How Noah's Flood Shaped Our Earth
by Michael J Oard, John K Reed
US $17.00
Soft cover