Also Available in:
This article is from
Creation 42(2):16–17, April 2020

Browse our latest digital issue Subscribe

The oceans show us a young earth



Long ages of millions of years is a very widespread belief today. It is seen as the wand by which the problems of turning particles into people can be magically waved away. Of course, though having ‘millions of years’ available is a necessary condition for chemical and biological evolution, it is not sufficient—we have often shown how these can be ruled out for other scientific reasons.

The ‘millions of years’ idea first came from geology—from the rock layers. More precisely, from the interpretation that these layers supposedly formed by the same slow and gradual processes we see happening today, at more or less the same rates. This is the belief system called uniformitarianism. It was not the result of scientific evidence, but was imposed upon the evidence.

This belief system a priori rules out the biblical Flood as a possible explanation. Conversely, the Flood would have performed all that geological work shown in the rocks in a short time, rather than millions of years.

Of course, the waters of that Flood ended up in today’s seas. Just by standing on the shoreline, we can get a sense of the vastness of God’s power in creating this planet and all the water on it, as well as the awesome scope of God’s judgment in the Flood. But we can learn a great deal more from those majestic waves; there are many lines of evidence from the oceans that refute the idea of millions of years and resoundingly affirm biblical history.

Using uniformitarian assumptions—to defeat long ages

The oceans present us with another way of ‘dating’, because we can measure the rates of various processes with respect to the oceans. And using the long-ager’s own belief system of uniformitarianism, we get ‘maximum ages’ that do not square with the secular long-age paradigm. They do not, however, present any problem for the biblical timeline of history. Thus, uniformitarianism is self-refuting with respect to the scientific evidence we have available.

Ocean salt

The salinity of our oceans can give us a ‘clock’ of sorts, because we are able to estimate the amount of salt entering our oceans as well as the amount that leaves. It turns out that much more is entering than leaving, so the oceans are getting saltier over time. So let’s use this as a uniformitarian ‘clock’ by assuming the processes have stayed much the same. Starting with fresh water, how long would it take for the oceans to become as salty as they are?

A study by creation scientists Steve Austin and Russell Humphreys, using the most conservative numbers available, gave an absolute upper limit (not actual age!), of 62 million years.1 While this may seem like a long time, it is actually far too low a number to accommodate the secular age for the ocean of 3.8 billion years.2 And note that the oceans would have started out with some salt in them, plus a stupendous amount of salt and other minerals would have been added during the Flood from erosion and volcanism.

More recent estimations show even more salt entering than Austin and Humphreys accounted for, meaning the estimate should be even lower.3 Simply put, the oceans should be much saltier than they are today if they were anywhere near as old as the secular timeline claims. The only ‘out’ for long-agers is to assume that the rates have dramatically changed—which undermines the whole idea of uniformitarianism!

Accumulating nickel

We can also measure the rate at which nickel enters and leaves Earth’s oceans. If there is too much nickel dissolved in ocean water, it becomes toxic. According to a UK environmental health guideline, concentrations higher than 30 parts per billion are toxic for marine life—yet that concentration would have already been reached in just 1,076,000 years at current rates of input!

However, we also know that mineral ‘nodules’ containing nickel form on the sea floor, so could this explain the low level of nickel for the long-ager? Simply, no—even if all the nickel entering the ocean were being deposited in these nodules, based upon current estimates it would only take 168,000 years to accumulate all the nickel currently found in the nodules. Just as for salt, nickel is also entering our oceans far too quickly for the old-earth timeline of history.4

Where is all the seafloor sediment?

We observe the accumulation of sediment on the ocean floor coming from the erosion of our continents. In some places, like river mouths, our coastlines are gradually growing as the process of erosion dumps sediment from the land into the seas; at the same time, canyons and gorges on land are growing deeper by these same erosional processes. Everything is getting closer to sea level, with the faster changes happening at the highest elevations and steepest areas.

On average, the depth of sediment on the ocean floor is less than 400 metres (about 1,300 feet), with some areas of the ocean floor having no mud at all. We would not expect to find this if the oceans were extremely old. We can also estimate the maximum rate at which subduction (one crustal plate gradually being thrust under another) could be pulling sediment back into the crust. Assuming that this rate has always been the same (again, uniformitarianism against itself), it is far too slow to account for this result; not enough seafloor mud is getting eliminated by this process. In fact, at the present rate, all the sediment would have been accumulated in under 12 million years.5 And once more, the dramatic erosive power of a year-long global Flood means that it would have actually happened much more quickly even than that.

Gigantic submarine canyons

All over the world, we find examples of huge canyons offshore, some greater even than Grand Canyon, which are located in deep water and run perpendicular to the coastline. One such example is Monterey Canyon offshore from Monterey, California. This canyon reaches a maximum wall height of 1,700 metres (5,600 ft)! But even this pales in comparison to the highest submarine walls—found in Capbreton Canyon, which reach 3,000 metres (10,000 ft). What explains the existence of these huge canyons underwater?

Uniformitarian geologists are at a loss, admitting that there are currently no widely accepted theories capable of explaining them. However, looking at these features from the perspective of a young earth and Noah’s Flood makes perfect sense. They were carved by ‘channelized flow’ coming off the continents in the recessive stage of the Flood. That is why they are often found seawards of valleys on the land. The same rapid channelized flow that carved the valley on land also carved the submarine valley offshore.6

A total picture

The oceans do not show the appearance of age we would expect if they were really billions of years old. This is consistent with the Bible; the oceans of today began on Day 1 of Creation Week, some 6,000 years ago, covering the earth.

Today’s oceans contain more than enough water to flood the whole earth. If we were to flatten out all the current unevenness on the land and seafloor, the water present would cover the whole earth nearly 3 km (2 miles) deep! Tectonic movements of the earth’s crustal plates at the onset of the Flood would account for the water flooding the land.

After the Flood, as Psalm 104:8 seems to indicate, “the mountains rose, the valleys sank down”, giving us the very uneven surface of the planet we now inhabit. Even Mount Everest, one of the planet’s tallest peaks, would have been uplifted at the closing stages of the Flood, coming into being at that time as a brand-new feature. (It is measured to be still rising, though much more slowly, today.) So no wonder it has limestone with marine fossils on its summit. All this answers the age-old questions of ‘Where did all that water come from?’ ‘Was there enough to cover the earth?’, and, ‘Where did it all go?’

As we’ve seen, our oceans not only contain many evidences that confirm the Bible’s history, but they still contain the very same waters that inundated the planet long ago—the very same waters that carried Noah’s Ark.7

Posted on homepage: 15 March 2021

References and notes

  1. Austin S.A. and Humphreys, D.R., The sea’s missing salt: a dilemma for evolutionists, Proc. Second International Conference on Creationism, Vol. II, pp. 17–33, 1990. Return to text.
  2. Why do we have oceans? oceanservice.noaa.gov, 25 June 2018. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J., Salty seas, Creation 21(1):16–17, 1998; creation.com/salty. Return to text.
  4. Whyte, D., Nickel concentration indicates young oceans, Creation 38(3):54–55, 2016; creation.com/nickel. Figures used are those updated on 8 March 2021. Return to text.
  5. Walker, T., The mud is missing, Creation 32(3):52, 2010; creation.com/missing-mud. Return to text.
  6. Oard, M., Submarine canyons bigger than Grand Canyon: Carved as Noah’s floodwaters receded, Creation 41(3):48–51, 2019. Return to text.
  7. Batten, D., Ed., The Creation Answers Book, Chap. 12: Noah’s Flood—what about all that water? creation.com/cab12. Return to text.

Helpful Resources