Claim Robert Ballard discovered Noah’s Flood in the Black Sea is not correct

David Swincer Grand Canyon. Note the vast horizontal sedimentary strata in the walls, which were deposited as the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising. This is the scale of catastrophe caused by Noah’s Flood.
Grand Canyon. Note the vast horizontal sedimentary strata in the walls, which were deposited as the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising. This is the scale of catastrophe caused by Noah’s Flood.

Robert Ballard, the famous underwater archaeologist who discovered the sunken Titanic, is in the news again with his claim to have found evidence for Noah’s Flood in the Black Sea.1 This old claim has been resurrected by Christiane Amanpour in her two-part ABC News special, “Back to the Beginning”.2

In 1999, using underwater robotic devices, Robert Ballard explored beneath the waters of the Black Sea for supporting evidence for a theory presented by geologists Ryan and Pitman.

In their book they said they found geological evidence that the Black Sea was once a freshwater lake, with settlements on the surrounding farmland along the shore, and that the level of the sea had risen. They hypothesized that, as the Mediterranean Sea filled with melting water at the end of the Ice Age, “an enormous wall of water” suddenly broke though the Bosporus inundating the settlements and displacing the people. They claimed this event was Noah’s Flood described in the Bible.

In an article Black Sea flood definitely not the Flood of Noah published in April 2000 in Journal of Creation (known then as Creation ex nihilo Technical Journal), I examined Ryan and Pitman’s evidence and their hypothesis in detail. My conclusion of the examination was:

“ … their claim to have found Noah’s Flood is wrong—nothing but wild, unsubstantiated speculation. Not one of the characteristics of the Black Sea flood match the tell-tale signature of the Flood described in the Bible. And their assertion that the biblical record is just a corrupted version of flood legends derived from their Black Sea flood is both wrong and arrogant. Their claim does not explain how flood legends arose, especially those in places like America and Australia. On the contrary, the flood legends are corrupted recollections of the one-and-only world-wide Flood, the true account of which is faithfully recorded in the Bible.”
NASA Earth Observatory
The Bosphorus forms part of the connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. Note the cloudy water is flowing south (down) from the Black Sea through the channel into the Sea of Marmara.

In that evaluation I also concluded that the evidence Ryan and Pitman presented for a sudden inundation of the Black Sea seemed reasonable. If the inundation did occur as they described, I concluded that it would have occurred after Noah’s Flood at the end of the Ice Age, which would have been around 1650 BC (See An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood).

However, in 2002, an international team of earth scientists from Canada, USA, UK and Turkey reported detailed investigations into the hypothesis, and rejected entirely the idea of a sudden Black Sea flood. From extensive seismic surveys, drill cores, radiocarbon dating and fossil studies they concluded that there is no support whatsoever for a catastrophic northward flow of saline Mediterranean water into the Black Sea. Rather, from the earliest times the connection was dominated by a southward flow of water from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean, exactly the opposite flow direction to that required by Ryan and Pitman’s hypothesis. (See Black Sea flood may evaporate completely for details and references.)

So, the reports circulating through the media that Noah’s Flood has been found are not correct. The evidence that is being referred to, that was found in the Black Sea, was not the result of Noah’s Flood. The evidence for Noah’s Flood is of much greater magnitude and can be seen all over the world. It includes the immense walls of Grand Canyon, for example, and also the massive White Cliffs of Dover along the English Channel. Noah’s Flood was a global catastrophe, not a gradual inundation confined to the Black Sea.

Published: 19 December 2012

References and notes

  1. E.g. Tennant, E., Flood behind Noah’s story ‘actually happened’, ninemsn.com.au, 12 December 2012. Return to text.
  2. See Millman, J., Taylor B. and Effron, L., Evidence Noah’s Biblical Flood happened, says Robert Ballard, abcnews.go.com, 10 December 2012. Return to text.