From: (Glenn Morton) Date: Sat, 01 Feb 1997 17:39:54 -0600 Subject: Why the Flood cannot be Global (2nd try)

Why the Flood is not Global

Copyright 1997 G.R. Morton This can be freely distributed as long as no charge is made and not changes made to the text.

The recent discussion of polystrate trees has made me decide to post my reasons for beleiving that the Flood cannot be global in scope. Polystrate trees are used to try to prove that all the sediments were deposited in a single catastrophic event. They do not prove what is often claimed and young earth creationists do not often talk about the details like those below.

1. The Bible does not say that it must be global. The word which the translators translate "earth" is more often used as "land". In Genesis 6:17 "earth" and "ground" are the same word. The choice to translate 'eretz' as the "planet earth" is strictly an interpretation. Arthur Custance (1958, p. 3) points out:

"Assuming that Young's list is exhaustive, actual count shows that the word is translated Earth about 677 times and translated land 1458 times. Moreover, of the 677 occurrences in at least 100 instances the word may be equally, if not more appropriately, rendered land rather than Earth. Whereas in the cases where it is translated Land in the English the instances in which Earth would have been more appropriate are rare. That is to say, the choice of Earth or Land as a translation of the original in any particular instance is a matter of context: and on the whole, if we exclude the account of the Flood, usage elsewhere shows that the context favours the word Land rather than Earth."
Often 2 Peter 2:5 is cited as evidence that the ancient "world" was destroyed and thus the flood must be global. This verse says (NIV):
"If he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven other..."
The Greek word which is translated as "world" is kosmos. According to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon,(Thayer 1962, p. 356) the translation, in preferred order is:
  1. harmonious arrangement or order,
  2. ornament,
  3. the universe,
  4. the earth,
  5. the inhabitants of the world,
  6. the ungodly multitude,
  7. worldly affairs,
  8. an aggregate.
People act as if the absolutely only way this verse can be interpreted is applying to the earth. Considering the way the rest of the New Testament translates this word as either "worldly affairs", or the "ungodly multitude" why are these not perfectly acceptable translations?

All of the below are acceptable translations.

  1. God destroyed the harmonious order.
  2. God destroyed the earth.
  3. God destroyed the inhabitants of the world.
  4. God destroyed the ungodly multitude.
  5. God destroyed the worldly affairs.
1 Peter 3:20 says 8 people were saved in the Flood. In order to argue that this means the Flood was global, one must assume that people were spread all over the earth. This is not at all clear from the Scripture.

2. A global Flood violates the second law of thermodynamics. The earth is made of continents and ocean basins. the continental platforms are made of granite and float high above the ocean basins. On the average, the surface of the continents is 5 km above the abyssal ocean floor. On average, the sediment cover on top of the continents 1.6 km. The average surface elevation above sea level is about 600 m. The average oceanic sediment thickness is 300 m with an average elevation of -4500.

Here is why a global flood violates the second law of thermodynamics. The thickest sediments are on top of the continental platforms. If you think that this is not a problem, then perform the following experiment. Take a large brick place it onto the bottom of your bath tub. Fill the bathtub up to a level that is twice the thickness of the brick. Pour dirt into the tub and stir vigorously. let it settle out. Where do you think the thickest layer of dirt will be? It will be on the tub bottom not on the brick. In fact the sediment on the tub bottom will be twice as thick as the sediment on the brick if you truly stirred vigorously. In point of fact, the sediment is much thicker on the continents than it is in the ocean basins.

The average sediment thickness on top of the continents is nearly 1.7 km. The average sediment thickness in the ocean basins is only .3 km; a 5 to 1 ratio. This is a violation of the laws of physics for the Flood to have created the sediments as young earth creationists believe.

There are equations that can be derived which show that it is impossible to account for the sediment thicknesses by having a global flood. For more information see Morton (1980). I will stand by the problem but not my suggested solution. It has been disproven by subsequently acquired data.

Could the continents sink and then rise again after the Flood? No. If that had happened there should exist a huge, vertical fracture zone along each of these contnental shelves. There is none. During my career as a geophysicist,I have personally examined hundreds of thousands of miles of seismic data along the continental shelves of eastern Canada, the Eastern U.S, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, China, NW Africa, South Africa, Brazil, and England. In fact along some of these continental margins, not a single major fault occurs. The sediments simply thin out into the ocean. This makes these basins poor targets for oil exploration but very good regions from which to disprove the concept that the continents sank and rose during the Flood.

3. The fossils are too well sorted. I am indebted to R.S. Beal Jr. for reminding me of this. Conodonts are microscopic fossils which are the "teeth" of an ancient animal. The shape of these conodonts change with each succeeding geologic level are unique. In the Grand Canyon, in the Redwall limestone, is divided vertically into the Whitmore Wash, Thunder Springs, Mooney Falls and Horseshoe Mesa members. In each of these layers a peculiar shaped and unique conodont is found. A conodont named Gnathodes typicus is found in the Whitmore Wash member and not in the other layers. Scoliognathus anchoralis and Dolignathus latus are unique to the Thunder Springs member. Gnathodus texanus is found in the Mooney Falls member only and the conodont Taphrognathus variarus is limited to the Horseshoe Mesa member.

Conodont are extremely small and microscopes must be used to examine them. How in the world could a global flood so perfectly sort these tiny particles into layers that only contain conodonts of certain shapes? The turbulence of the flood was supposed to be so great and yet world-wide, microscopic animals are sorted vertically through the various layers of the geologic column.

In the Gulf of Mexico, when we drill wells, we always find the same vertical order of microscopic planktonic foraminifera, nannoplankton, and benthic foraminifera. I know that a peculiar shape of planktonic foram, Glob Menardi changed its coiling direction at the same geologic horizon as the last occurrence of D. brouweri "A", and the benthic foram, Cristellaria S. How could the flood so perfectly sort these small uniquely shaped creatures into vertical layers?

The only reasonable explanation is that the layers were laid down over a very, very long time period.

4. The rates of deposition are too great to have allowed any animal life to have survived to leave traces of itself high in the geologic column. Below Glen Rose, Texas lies approximately 15,000 feet of sedimentary rock which contains fossils of all sorts. On the surface at Glen rose are dinosaur tracks.

15,000 feet of sediment, which is deposited in 365 days, is being deposited at the rate of 41 feet of sediment per day or 1.7 feet per hour. At these rates, a dinosaur must fight the deep and raging waters of the flood for an entire year, never sleeping or getting sick (or he would be buried after merely 12 hours). During this year of fighting to stay on top of the sediments, he must be able to find food and fresh water throughout the year. Only after doing all of this, the dinosaur lives through the flood so he can leave his footprints along the Paluxy River.

But dinosaurs are not the only ones who must perform this amazing feet. In the rocks at Glen Rose one can find huge and small snails, and some type of bivalve-big and small- (I am not an expert in their names). Since bivalves normally open up upon their death, we can surmise that these were alive when they were buried and fossilized. But since they were found on top of the sedimentary column, these snails must have performed supergastropodian feats of movement in order to avoid being buried. This is not likely. It is far more believable that these animals lived where they grew and that the dinosaurs were walking on a mudflat, stepping on the bivalves and snails.

5. Astronomical cycles seen in the sediments. Various cyclicities have been observed in the thicknesses of laminae of various sedimentary sections throughout the world. Variations in laminae thickness have been observed over periods of 11 years solar cycle) 20,000 years precessional cycle, 100,000 year cycle of the earth's orbital eccentricity. These cyclicities are seen in rocks like the Eocene Green River formation of Wyoming, the Devonian Catskill Delta, a Triassic Hungarian carbonate platform, The Newark basin of New Jersey.( See Fisher and Roberts 1991, p. 1147; Fischer and Lee, 1993, p. a112; Balog et al, 1995;)

Why should these cyclicities be seen in rocks deposited during a single year? Why do the cyclicities correspond to the earth's orbital elements?

6. Why are mudcracks found in the geologic column since the flood was an aqueous event?

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This is a vertical sequence from California. Old Highway section Ridge Basin Group 80 m thick top Mollusks mudcracks ripplemarks gypsum sandstone (cross-bedded) [snipped portion] Mudcracks burrows crossbedded sandstone plants and vertebrate remains ripple marksu mollusks bottom~ Martin H. Link and Robert H. Osborne "Lacustrine facies in the Pliocene Ridge Basin Groups: Ridge Basin, California" in Modern and Ancient Lake Sediments ed. by Albert Matter and Maurice E. Tucker London: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1978 p. 179.

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Another vertical section

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Pyramid dam section 90 m thick bottom mudcracks mudcracks mudcracks crossbeds 2 erosional surfaces ripplemarks gravel 2 burrow layers plant remains 2 erosional surfaces 2 layers with burrows slump folds burrows ripple marks crossbedded sandstone burrows sandstone burrows slumpfolds~ Martin H. Link and Robert H. Osborne "Lacustrine facies in the Pliocene Ridge Basin Groups: Ridge Basin, California" in Modern and Ancient Lake Sediments ed. by Albert Matter and Maurice E. Tucker London: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1978 p. 179.

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Another vertical section

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frenchman flat sections mudcracks at bottom then pebbly sandstone then burrows in shale then sandstone (pebbly) then dark grey sandstone (crossbedded) then redbrown breccias and conglomerate then burrows then stromatolites then red mudstone with mudcracks then plant remains ~ top of section Martin H. Link and Robert H. Osborne "Lacustrine facies in the Pliocene Ridge Basin Groups: Ridge Basin, California" in Modern and Ancient Lake Sediments ed. by Albert Matter and Maurice E. Tucker London: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1978 p. 178.

7. Absolutely NO living species of terrestrial animal can be found in Mesozoic and Paleozoic rocks. Life HAS changed. If the animals found in the fossil record represent the remains of animals which lived prior to the Flood, and if the animals alive today are the descendants of animals which got off the ark, then why are there no living forms in the flood sediments? Why are there no whales or dolphins found in Mesozoic and Paleozoic rocks?


The Bible does not require a global flood, and the evidence goes against that view. Local flood theories are Biblically acceptable and observationally required.


Beal, Jr., R. S. 1997. Neither/Nor: An Evangelical Assessment of the Evolution/Creation Controversy, Prescott: unpublished manuscript, p. 70.

Balog,A., J. F. Read, and J. Haas, 1995. "Late Triassic Milankovitch Cycle Record of a Hungarian Marine Carbonate Platform Compared with Record from Italian Alps and United States Rift Basins, AAPG-SEPM-EMD-DPA-DEG Conv Pap. Abstracts, 1995, p. 6A in Petroleum Abstracts, April, 22, 1995, p. 1313, Abstract # 596, 165.

Custance, Arthur C.,1958. The Extent of the Flood, Doorway Papers, 41, (Ottawa: Privately Published)

Fischer,Alfred G., and Lillian T. Roberts, 1991. "Cyclicity in the Green River Formation (Lacustrine Eocene) of Wyoming," Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 61:7, December 1991.,

Fischer,Alfred G. and Calvin Lee, 1993. "Milankovitch Signature in the Catskill Delta," Annual GSA Meeting, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 25, No. 6, 1993,page A-112

Morton, Glenn R. 1980, "Prolegamena to the Study of the Sediments", Creation Research Society Quarterly, 17:3:162-167


Foundation, Fall and Flood

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