The Bible and Science
The Mediterranean Flood
Glenn R. Morton*
16075 Longuista Dr.
Dallas, TX 75248
From PSCF 49 (December 1997): 238
In this paper,1 a novel theory of Noah's flood is presented which is based upon the desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea Basin. This hypothesis assumes that Noah's flood was a local event which occurred in the Mediterranean basin when it was a desiccated desert. The prediluvial events are postulated to have taken place in the eastern Mediterranean. This hypothesis explains the biblical references to lack of rain, dividing rivers, and water coming out of the earth based on natural causes. The geological and anthropological data are incorporated.
The Bible is unique among the world's religious writings in its dependence upon critical historical events. Without the creation, without Adam and Eve, without the historical events of the Fall, without the incarnation, and without the resurrection, Christianity is left in shambles. These events have traditionally been viewed as actual events in space-time and are intimately intertwined in Christian theology. In short, Christianity is a historically based religion and as such, the events depicted in the Scriptures must be historically verifiable.
There is one other important historical event mentioned in the Bible and that is the Flood of Noah. The Flood, while not crucial to the theological basis of Christianity (a Christianity lacking the text describing a historical flood would still be the same), is crucial to the veracity of the scriptural documents. The Flood story is related to us by the same document that informs us of three of the five crucial Christian doctrines. If science were to conclude that no flood occurred, then serious doubt would be cast upon the authority of the Scripture and, thus, on the historicity of the earlier temporal events: creation, Adam and Eve, and the Fall.
It is not the purpose of this paper to attempt a thorough review of previous flood theories. Others have written excellent reviews of the struggle between science and Scripture over the past few centuries and the reader can consult them.2 The important and obvious fact is that modern geology has totally rejected the concept of the global flood and this rejection has important consequences for the authority of Scripture. It is difficult, at least for me, to conceive of a divinely inspired Genesis being historically accurate in chapters 1-3 and historically false in chapters 6-9. It follows from the claim of divine inspiration that both sections are true or both are false.
In response to the rejection of the global flood by modern science, conservative Christianity has generally only offered one comprehensive view of Genesis 6-9 to the geologist and the layperson. It is the very view that geology has rejected, namely the position outlined best in Whitcomb and Morris' The Genesis Flood.3 Christian laypersons desiring a historical framework for the early chapters of Genesis accept this view eagerly. As Davis Young noted:
The only widely publicized contemporary flood theories available to evangelicals are those of scientific creationism. Small wonder that on the issue of the flood evangelicals are so attracted to that voice; it is virtually the only one speaking among us4
Because of this, it is important to find an alternative flood view.
When reading the first few chapters of Genesis, the distinct impression is gleaned that the hydrology of the world was much different in the antediluvian world. The first indication of the difference occurs in Gen. 2:5, 6 (NIV) which state:
and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground...
The first noticeable item is that there was no rain. This is an odd state of affairs. Presumably the world was still spherical before the flood, and if so, it is difficult to understand why rain did not occur. Calculations and observations reveal that the north and south poles receive, on average, only 10-20% of the solar energy as is received at the equator.5 If the equatorial energy is not transported, and equalized, the equator will become too hot for life, and the polar region too cold. Ocean currents like the Gulf Stream, and atmospheric currents like the jet stream, work to move the excess heat from the equator to the pole. While moving the heat around, masses of cold, dense air meet masses of hot, moist, and rarefied air. Hot air rises over the cold, and in doing so, moisture condenses and rain develops. The movement of the air- and thus rain- is an outcome of the geometric shape of the earth. To put it succinctly, a spherical earth causes lots of rain.
Even the idea of a water vapor canopy which is supposed to even out the temperature difference between the pole and the equator will only work when the earth has achieved temperatures far in excess of those hospitable to life.6 And if the earth's axis was tilted before the flood as it is now, the six months of darkness would cool the canopy to temperatures below which it could remain as a vapor. The vapor would condense to water causing rain.
From a physical point of view, it is unreasonable to say that streams arose to water the earth. The forces acting on water always attempt to achieve a level surface. Thus when water fills the pores of rock layers in the subsurface of the earth, it fills the rock to approximately the same elevation above sea level. For water to rise out of the ground, the entire subsurface must be saturated with water up to the ground level. This happens in a bog or swamp, where the water level does rise above the ground surface. However, this does not seem to be what Genesis is describing. Today we do not see mists rise to water the earth; rain falls to achieve that objective. The only phenomena we have that approximates what is described are artesian springs and geysers, but they are too limited in extent to water the large areas apparently implied by the Bible. We can say today that mist (i.e., rain) goes into the earth but does not come out as mist. Genesis seems to have it backwards.
In just a few verses further, the hydrology of the ancient world gets even stranger.
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates (Gen. 2:10-14 [NIV]).
The oddity in these verses is that one
river leaving Eden splits into four rivers. Nowhere in the world today can this
phenomenon be observed. Rivers join, merge, and then flow on together, but they
do not split into four rivers after having merged. The Ohio River joins the
Mississippi; the Missouri then joins both of them. After a confluence, each
river segment is bigger, wider, and deeper. Genesis is implying that after the
river left Eden, the flow was split into four rivers with each river smaller,
narrower, and shallower. Again, Genesis seems to have reversed the normal state
of affairs. Why is the normal hydrology reversed?
Finally, the last oddity of the early Genesis record is the Noachian Flood. It is one of those biblical events that makes many people uncomfortable because there has never been a widely accepted explanation for the physical cause of the events described. Scientists reject the whole notion; conservative Christians, if they think about it at all, generally accept the notion of a global flood. Others simply say that it is a legend about a Mesopotamian flood. Those who wish to hold to scriptural historicity are forced to develop a theory for the mechanism of these events. The fact that Jesus spoke of the Flood in Matthew 24 makes it far more difficult to ignore the issue. If the Son of God spoke of the Flood as a real event, then it must have been a real event; it cannot be relegated to the status of myth without doing damage to Jesus's claim of divinity. On the other hand, those who know geology know that there is little or no evidence in the geologic record for the deluge. For one who prefers biblical historicity and is in the geological sciences, the tension between these two demands can be quite difficult.
Generally, flood theories have been divided into two broad classes: local and universal flood theories. Both views have their own set of problems that seem to defy both logic and scientific data. These are outlined below.
Problems of the Universal Flood Theory
The universal flood theory has the following major scientific difficulties.
1. Where did the water come from? Most advocates of the universal deluge postulate one of two mechanisms for the water's source. The first is a water vapor canopy: a layer of water vapor surrounding the earth high in the atmosphere, which when it collapses deluges the earth. Even the most determined of the canopyists can only place 40 feet of precipitable water in the canopy.7 This means that only 40 feet of water would be added to the earth's surface which, while quite damaging, is not enough to cover the mountains. The second view postulates the sinking of the continents under the present ocean level. The sinking of the continents is used by Rehwinkel and Whitcomb and Morris to account for how the water could cover the continents.8 Yet, observed rates of continental-sized vertical movements (one centimeter per year) are too slow to have submerged the continents in ten thousand years, much less in a year, unless it was done miraculously.9
2. Where did the water go? If the present earth were covered by water to a depth of 30,000 feet- enough to cover all the mountains on earth- the earth would forever after be covered to that depth. There is no place for such a quantity of water to go. This is the primary reason that vertical continental motion is advanced. With a vapor canopy alone, the water would merely run off into the oceans; but there is not enough water to have buried the mountains.
3. How did it rain for 40 days and nights?A cloud is nothing more than tiny water droplets. These water droplets are falling to earth under the influence of gravity, as any object would do. Why do clouds not fall to the earth? Updrafts blowing against the droplets balance the force of gravity, suspending the particles in midair. As droplets collide and coalesce, the droplets become so large that the updraft can no longer support them and they fall to earth as rain. These facts make it very difficult to understand how it could rain over the entire earth for forty days and nights. If rain requires an updraft, how could there be an updraft over all the earth at the same time? This is a scientific impossibility.
Thus, most universalists have felt the need for having a vapor canopy. Again the vapor canopy will not really solve this problem, since as committed canopyist Dillow has pointed out, the heat given off by a collapsing water vapor canopy would be enough to raise the temperature of the atmosphere to 2100 deg. C. To avoid the heat problem, Dillow proposes that in the year before the Flood, the canopy began to condense into a worldwide cloud cover, raising again the difficulty noted above.10
4. How did the animals migrate to the ark? The migration of the world's species to the ark is required by the universalist but that event leaves many problems unanswered. Without divine intervention, New World amphibia would be hard pressed to travel to the ark. As Dodson and Dodson note:
Even a small amount of salt water is a nearly absolute barrier to amphibians. For this reason, the Pacific Islands are usually uninhabited by amphibians, except where they have been introduced by man, as in Hawaii. Salt water also separates many freshwater fishes. For example, on the Pacific coast many freshwater streams follow more or less parallel courses to the ocean. Typically, each stream will have its own subspecies or even species. Although the expanse of salt water separating the mouths of neighboring streams may be small, the fish do not cross it.11
If the Flood was universal, then the flood waters would have been brackish, which would have killed most of the amphibians, freshwater fish, and many of the ocean species. Each type is adapted to live within a particular salinity range.
Mammals also would have problems migrating to the ark. Due to the specialized food requirements of certain species, even land can be an impassable barrier. The red tree mouse eats fir needles, nests in fir trees, and lives entirely within the boundary of the fir forest. Grasslands are as impassable to these mice as is the harshest desert to most other species. Forests lacking fir needles are a barrier to them. Without fir needles the mice starve to death. The arctic hare lives in all European mountains from the Urals west to the Atlantic, but is unable to survive in the lowlands. It is believed to have been able to migrate across these lowlands only during the time that the glaciers covered much of Europe. Its migration to the ark, as well as the migration of the red tree mouse, would seem impossible.12
Geographic features also serve as impassable barriers to other species. The opossum has been unable to invade the mountains.13 Occasionally mice are unable to cross rivers, leading to separate species on each bank.14 The armadillo, a permanent fixture on Texas highways, is not native to Texas. Being unable to swim, they did not begin moving north out of Mexico until bridges were built across the rivers. With these difficulties, it seems hard to believe in any form of naturalistic migration to the ark.
5. How were the animals cared for? Assuming that the 21,000 species of amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal had to be represented on the ark, it would require around 42,000 individuals. Assuming that each of the eight people on the ark had to take care of their share of the animals, each person would have 2,637 cages to visit each day for feeding and cleaning. If each person worked a 12-hour shift, then each cage would only get three and two-thirds minutes of attention per day. The feeding of my cat takes more time than that each day.
A straightforward reading of the chronology outlined in Gen. 7:1-10 indicates that Noah and his family had only one week during which to load all the animals. If the eight people were required to lead the 35,000 animals from the ark's door to its cage, the work load would have been crushing.15 Each member of the ark's crew would have to climb the equivalent of a 19.5 story building every hour, day and night, for the entire week prior to the Flood.16 Even the time constraints are imposing; two pairs of animals per minute must be loaded.
Other physical problems include the generation of 78,750 liters of urine per day. To carry fresh water on board to replenish this lost water would occupy 70% of the ark's volume.17 The only other alternative is for Noah to have had some type of desalination plant aboard the ark with a capacity of 80,000 liters per day.
Wood, of which the ark was constructed, is an excellent insulator and would not allow the heat to escape easily. Everyone has had the unpleasant experience of being in an overcrowded room where the body heat of the occupants makes the room unbearable. The same thing would happen on the ark. Calculations show that over ten million calories per hour would be generated by resting animals on the ark. The temperature inside the ark can be calculated to be 115 deg.C. Water boils at 100 deg. C.18 Those who have been in the Navy know how cold it can get in the bottom of a modern ship. Modern ships are made of iron, an efficient conductor of heat, while the ark was made of wood, an extremely inefficient conductor.
6. How did the plants and fish survive inundation by brackish and salty water? Very few land plants can survive in sea water for a very long time and all their seeds would be in jeopardy from the salt water bath. As noted above, the brackish water would kill both oceanic and freshwater fish.
7. How did the olive leaf grow? In Genesis 8, Noah released a dove from the ark, but it returned to the ark having no place else to go. Seven days later, Noah released a second dove, this time the dove returned with a freshly plucked olive leaf. This incident seems strange in that Noah apparently could still see no exposed land or trees from his vantage point; apparently the bird did not either during the first flight from the ark. In fact, Gen. 8:9 states that the water still covered the earth. One week later the bird brought back a freshly plucked leaf. It seems inconceivable that this could be a new shoot. Noah's purpose in letting the birds go was to determine if there was any place for them to land, which implies that the water was still so deep that Noah could not see any land or tree tops around him. The water, therefore, was still much too deep for the dove to bring back a brand new shoot from a seedling or small cutting. The only explanation is that the dove landed on the newly exposed top of a submerged tree. That raises the question of how a fully grown tree came to be in the shallow waters around the ark. This issue will be addressed later.
Any global flood model which purports
to be a scientifically supportable view of the Flood must answer the above
questions. When a global flood model fails one of the above empirical tests, the
perceived authority of the Scripture is undermined.
Does Genesis really teach a universal flood? While the interpretation of the Bible is far from my field of expertise, as an interested layperson, I am going to make a couple of observations about the interpretation of two critical phrases in the Bible. Throughout the English translations of Gen. 6-9, the Hebrew word eretzis translated "earth"." This is unfortunate since the connotation which the English word "earth" has may not be quite the same as the Hebrew connotation of eretz. Of the usages of eretz, it is translated "land" 1,458 times and "earth" 677 times. In at least 100 occurrences where it is translated earth, it could just as easily be translated "land."19
The extent of several events is determined by which English word is used as the Hebrew equivalent. In Gen. 12:10 there was a famine in the eretz. There are no contextual clues to the extent of this famine. All versions consulted translate this occurrence of eretz as "land" thus limiting the extent of the famine. How can we be sure that it was not a previously unrecognized worldwide famine? In Ex. 10:15 of the Authorized Version Bible, the King James, and the New American Standard, eretz is translated as earth, giving the impression that the plague covered the whole Earth, rather than just the land of Egypt. If it were not for verses 12 and 14, we would have no way of knowing that the most reasonable translation is "land" (used by the New International Version and the Revised Version). Again the choice of the English word would seem to determine the extent of the plague. If the verse is relating that locusts covered all the planet Earth in a previously unrecognized locust catastrophe of global extent, the first choice is correct.
1 Sam. 30:16 of the King James version has the Amalekites spread across all the Earth. Surely, the Amalekites were not in the New World. In Gen. 12:1, Abraham is told to get out of his eretz. Surely, God was not telling him to get off the planet Earth. In Gen. 41:57, the famine was said to have been severe in all the lands and people from all countries came to buy grain from Joseph. The American Indians certainly did not. In all these cases, the word eretz has the connotation of a limited area of the Earth.
The point of all this is that in the case of the Flood, it is the extent which is precisely what is at issue. Context is not very helpful in choosing how to translate the word eretz. Thus the extent of the Flood appears to the layperson to be determined by the belief of the translator.
Even the phrase "under the whole heaven" in Gen. 6:17 and 7:19 may not have universal implications. In Deut. 2:25, we are told that the fear of the Israelites was beginning to be upon all the nations "under the whole heaven." Again it is doubtful that British tribesmen in the second millennia B.C. were afraid of the Hebrews nor do primitive Papua New Guinea tribesmen fear them today. The same phrase occurs in Job 37:3. The Job 37:2-5 passage seems to be a clear reference to hearing the thunder from the lightning which in verse 2 had been unleashed beneath the whole heaven and sent to the ends of the earth. Since it is impossible to hear in Dallas, the thunder generated by a lightning strike in New York City, it would appear that the heaven in the phrase "beneath the whole heaven" is much more limited in connotation than it is usually interpreted in the Genesis passages. It appears to me that "under the whole heaven" refers to an area from horizon to horizon and not to the entire surface area of the Earth. Thus, from the textual evidence, imputing a universalist interpretation on the Gen. 6-9 flood may not be correct.
Problems of the Local Flood Theory
However, pointing out problems with the global flood alone is not enough. The local flood theory also has major problems that are equally difficult to answer. The following problems with the local flood view have led to its rejection by many conservative Christians.
1. How could the human race be localized? This is an absolute must for the local flood theory, since it is difficult to read Genesis in any other manner than the destruction of the entire human race. The entire population must have been localized along some river valley or topographic low. As mobile as humankind is, this localization could only have occurred early in humankind's history. But most of the topographic lows on earth have local places people could easily flee to and survive outside the ark.
2. Where did humankind live? This question has always plagued this view. Without an identified locality, the local flood viewpoint can neither be attacked nor defended. It retains the appearance of the fictional movie, Star Wars; it happened long, long ago in a valley far, far away.
All attempts to specify the location have met with failure. In 1929, Sir Leonard Woolley announced the discovery of the famous "Flood layer" at Ur in Iraq. Many local flood theorists immediately latched on to this layer as evidence of Noah's flood. A few months later Stephen Langdon announced the discovery of some similar strata a few hundred miles to the north at Kish. This was trumpeted as proof that a huge flood had wiped out Mesopotamia several thousand years ago. Glee turned to sorrow when it was later discovered that the flood layer did not even cover all of Ur and that the clay layer at Kish was not contemporaneous with that at Ur. The two layers were not even in the same century.20
Other local flood advocates also suggested locations for the Flood. Hugh Miller advocated that the Flood occurred in the Caspian Basin,21 but there is no evidence of such an event within the past several thousand years. To have a flood- global or local- leave no evidence of itself strains credibility.
3. How did the ark land on a mountain if the ark was carried downhill in a local flood? This is the most serious objection to the local flood theory and barring the solution of this puzzle the local flood theory must be rejected. In 1993, flooding occurred in the upper Mississippi River Valley. There were nearly thirty days of rainfall causing the river to overflow its banks. If the ark had been in the Mississippi flood plain, the waters would pick it up and carry it down to the Gulf of Mexico. Once in the Gulf of Mexico, it is difficult to see how it could land on a mountain in Montana. Gen. 8:4 (NIV) states clearly: "and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." This problem must be answered in order to have a viable local flood theory.
4. Why was the ark necessary?
If the flood was local, then why did Noah and the animals not simply migrate?
After all, that is the technique used to save Lot and his two daughters from the
destruction of Sodom. They simply left before burning sulfur rained down on the
town. Custance suggests that God did not want to destroy the ancient world
without fair warning and indeed, this is the way God often works in impending
disasters.22 He warned Ninevah with Jonah's visit;
and the people repented. God warned Jerusalem of its impending destruction
before Nebuchadnezzar, but the people did not repent. So Custance's idea sounds
like a reasonable suggestion. However, when looked at in more detail, the
suggestion falls apart. Noah could have preached and then left just before the
Flood. Custance responds rather weakly that Noah was ignorant of the Flood's
extent and assumed it to be universal.23 The verbal
warning of Jonah worked quite well, so it is difficult to see why it would not
have worked with the antediluvians.
5. Can a local flood last for a full year? The length of time that it took for the flood waters to rise seems extraordinarily long, if the Flood were merely a local one. According to Genesis 7, the waters rose for 40 days and remained for another four months before beginning to abate. Although the time frame for a major riverine flood can last that long, the events surrounding such a flood do not match the biblical account. Instead of having merely 40 days of rain, a major flood requires months of heavy rain. Champ Clark relates the events surrounding a major Mississippi flood:
In August 1926, unusually heavy rains began to fall over much of the Mississippi drainage basin. By September, tributaries in eastern Kansas, northwestern Iowa and parts of Illinois lapped over their banks. Throughout the autumn and winter the rains continued: on New Years's Day, 1927, a Cumberland River gauge showed a record reading of 56.2 feet, more than 41 feet above the reading of the previous August.24
The crest of the flood did not reach southern Louisiana until the middle of May 1927. The basin had experienced nine months of flooding, but much less than that at any one point along the river. At Vicksburg, Mississippi, the hydrograph showed that the river was in flood for only four months.25 The second largest flood on the Mississippi this century was in 1973. The hydrograph shows only three months of flooding at Vicksburg for the 1973 flood and only two months of flooding for the third greatest flood in 1937. If the ark could float along with the crest, then the length of time for flooding would be about correct but the period of rainfall would be wrong.
Riverine flood waters generally travel at a few miles per hour. If the ark were in Mesopotamia, the flood waters in the river would push the ark out into the Persian Gulf within a week. As far as Noah would be concerned, the Flood would be over within a week.
6. Why such a large ark for a local
flood? The ark was much bigger than was necessary for a local flood. This
objection to a local flood is based upon the assumption that the unit of
measurement, the cubit is known. According to Whitcomb and Morris, the cubit
measured from 17.5 to 20.65 inches in length.26
Under the assumption that the cubit was 17.5 inches, the ark would have been 437
feet by 73 feet by 44 feet. A boat of this length was not made in historical
times until the fifteenth century. It was the seaworthy, Chinese navy's Cheng
Ho- the longest wooden boat ever made- estimated to have been 538 feet long,
built in 1420.27
The carrying capacity of a vessel such as the ark was surely too large to build simply for the preservation of a few local varieties of animals, which is what the local flood advocates often suggest. Custance suggests an escape for this conundrum; he suggests that the length of Noah's cubit was much smaller than the commonly accepted value.
The dimensions of the Ark are given as 300 cubits long, 50 cubits across, and 30 cubits deep. This is generally interpreted as meaning that the vessel was 450 feet by 75 feet by 45 feet. This is an immense structure. It may be that the Ark really was of such proportions: but may also be that the terms of measurement are no longer correctly known. The cubit may not at this early period have been equal to 18 inches.28
If Custance is correct, the Ark may
have been significantly smaller than is commonly assumed.
These are the problems which each viewpoint of the Flood- global and local- must overcome to be viable. The hypothesis must be absolutely conformable to the information given in Scripture and consistent with scientific observation. At least one of these views is wrong. But until a hypothesis is presented which can solve the unique problems of either view, it is scientifically impossible to determine the correct one. While I am still unable to present a coherent view of the global flood which solves its problems, there is a hypothesis which does solve the scientific problems of the local flood. It is to that hypothesis that we now turn.
The Desiccation of the Mediterranean Basin
Over the past century as more was learned of the geology of the Mediterranean region, a picture developed which pointed toward some strange events having taken place in the region's history. When workers were drilling for water in southern France, a deep erosional channel was found beneath the Rhone River. The Rhone, which empties into the Mediterranean, had cut a massive channel into the hard granite bedrock 300 feet below the ocean surface at Valence, France. Subsequent drilling proved that the channel continued for more than 124 miles south to La Camarque, where the canyon bottom was found to lie more than 3,000 feet below sea level.29 Rivers are unable to cut the bedrock below sea level, but the Rhone had. In Sicily a deep-water deposit called the Trubi marl lies directly atop a shallow-water salt deposit.30 In 1961, when the first seismic data were collected in the Mediterranean Sea, amazing features were discovered on the sea floor. The sound reflections revealed features in the deep, abyssal part of the sea that looked exactly like the salt domes drilled in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. Salt domes reflect almost no sound and produce a characteristic quiet zone on a seismic line. The mystery which salt domes present to the geoscientist is that there is no known manner in which 6,500 to 10,000 feet of salt can be deposited on the floor of a deep ocean basin.31 In the late 1960s, the Conrad, a seismic survey vessel from Lamont-Dougherty Research Institute, collected data which displayed a massive erosional channel across the Mediterranean Ridge thousands of feet below sea level.32 At the time, nobody really believed what the data clearly showed.
1961, when the first seismic data were collected in the
Mediterranean Sea, amazing features were discovered on the sea floor.
Geologists studying the coastal regions of Libya and Egypt found numerous river-cut channels buried beneath the North African coast, including one under the Nile cut into bedrock to an astounding depth of 4,500 feet.33 A cave system, extending deeper than 6,600 feet below sea level, was found on Malta. Because caves can only form in rocks lying above sea level, this constituted a major mystery.34 Finally, karsts (sink holes related to caves which also can only be formed above sea level- like those in Florida) are found on the Mediterranean Ridge more than 6,600 feet below sea level.35
All these facts, and others, formed an incongruous set of facts which needed explanation before the geologic history of the Mediterranean Sea could be outlined. It was not until the August and September 1970 voyage of the D/V Glomar Challenger, a research vessel used to drill into the oceans' bottoms to sample the sediment, that these discordant facts were joined into a coherent and understandable picture by the work of Kenneth Hsu and W. B. F. Ryan.
Off the coast of Majorca in the
Balearic Sea, the drill ship recovered a core which contained both anhydrite and
stromatolite. Anhydrite is an evaporitic mineral which forms only at
temperatures higher than 35 deg.C (95 F).36 Finding
this mineral under 8,500 feet of water, where the temperature is always less
└C, was quite a shock.37 But the discovery of the stromatolite proved at once that this ocean basin had been nearly empty.38 Stromatolite is a peculiar, shallow-water, thinly-layered algal deposit which depends upon photosynthesis to form and is only found in waters less than 30 feet deep!
The voyage also discovered desiccation cracks filled with salt, eolian (wind-blown) silts, shallow-water ostracods (small clam-like creatures) and desert-like alluvial fan deposits (an alluvial fan is a conical-shaped deposit of sediment which occurs at the base of mountains, not under the sea).39 It gradually became obvious that the Mediterranean Basin had largely been a dry desert, but how could this have been?
The juxtaposition of
a shallow-water deposit overlaid
by a deep-water deposit is only understandable
if an empty Mediterranean basin is suddenly, catastrophically
refilled by the opening of the Gibraltar dam.
If the Strait of Gibraltar were to be dammed up today, the Mediterranean would evaporate in approximately 1,000 to 4,000 years. This is prevented only by the continued influx of new Atlantic waters, since more water is lost by evaporation than is replenished by river flow. Small basins with brine lakes would be all that would remain in a Mediterranean basin in which Gibraltar was closed.40 The continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia would appear as a surrounding ring of 10,000-foot-tall mountains. The rivers pouring off the continents would begin to erode huge canyons into the continental shelves, like those discovered over the past century. Huge alluvial fans would be deposited at the base of the continental slope, like those discovered by the D/V Glomar Challenger in 1970. Anhydrite would be deposited on the former sea floor since the temperature would easily be above the critical 35 deg.C temperature. Salt would also be deposited in some areas, while fresher water areas would allow for the deposition of stromatolites. Rain water falling on Malta would percolate through the subsurface limestones forming a cavern system all the way down to the abyssal levels of the Mediterranean. Caves cannot form under sea level since sea water is so full of lime that it cannot dissolve the limestone rock and form the cave. The erosional channel on the Mediterranean Ridge could easily have been cut 6,600 feet below sea level as one Mediterranean sub-basin spilled into another through a narrow opening. The feature has the appearance seen where Lake Erie spills into Lake Ontario, eroding a channel between the two lakes by means of Niagara Falls.
If the Gibraltar Strait were then to be suddenly opened, the Mediterranean would quickly fill with water again. As mentioned above, the Sicilian Trubi marl is a deep water deposit lying directly on top of a shallow water salt deposit. The evidence which proves that it is a deep water deposit is that it contains the remains of ocean life-forms which only live 3,000 feet below sea-level. The juxtaposition of a shallow-water deposit overlaid by a deep-water deposit is only understandable if an empty Mediterranean basin is suddenly, catastrophically refilled by the opening of the Gibraltar dam. Geologically speaking, one day the sea floor was desert; the next, it was deep ocean.
When was the Mediterranean a desert? Five and one-half million years ago. This is coincident with the appearance on earth of the first hominids. The oldest known hominid is from Lothagam, Kenya and is dated to 5.5 million years ago.41
The Prediluvial World
The Mediterranean desiccation has major implications for the interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis and the lack of rain. The lack of rain would be understandable, since the major source of water for rainfall in the Mediterranean region is the Mediterranean Sea itself. Without that abundant supply of moisture, rain would practically cease in the region. The prevailing wind in this region is from the north in January and from the east in July.42 This would make it extremely unlikely that any rain would fall in this basin. It is a well-known fact that there is a rain shadow in basins immediately downwind from mountains because an air mass moving downhill lowers its relative humidity. This means that any moisture contained in the air as it spilled over into the desiccated Mediterranean basin would be even less likely to form rain clouds. The basin would be on the lee side of huge mountains in all directions.
While it is rare for a region not to receive rainfall, it is not unknown. The Atacama Desert in Chile, a 600-mile-long region of the Andes, has been nearly rainless for the past 400 years. It has regions where rainfall has never been observed.43 Other areas go as long as five years or more without any rain and the rains which occur only fall on small parts of the desert only two to four times per century.44 Thus, for the Mediterranean to dry up, creating a region which did not receive rain, would not be that novel.
The reversed hydrology becomes understandable if the Bible is describing an area similar to the desiccated Mediterranean basin. Concerning the mists or streams which rose out of the ground, two possibilities exist. First, the hydrostatic head on the aquifers underlying the surface of the continental plateaus would have been busy disgorging their contents along the former continental slope, which was a mountainside when the Mediterranean basin was emptied. As an example, today the coastline of Egypt has the potential of discharging 1.5 billion cubic meters of water per year from subsurface flow without depleting the underground reserves of water.45 Second, the strange description of the division of the rivers can only be accounted for in a situation similar to that of the desiccated Mediterranean. At the foot of the continental slope, where a prediluvial river's gradient would begin to level out as it approached the level of the abyssal Mediterranean plain, two things would occur. The river would begin to deposit its load of sediment, causing the formation of a conical shaped alluvial fan. This, in turn, would cause the stream to split into many smaller channels. This phenomenon can be observed today in smaller versions such as deltas, submarine fans, and alluvial fans. Today the Nile River splits into two major and three minor streams at its delta. This split continues onto the sea bottom, where five submarine canyons radiate out from the Nile delta onto the Nile submarine fan. A similar split in the Mississippi River can also be seen in southern Louisiana.
Consider the first description of Eden:
Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed (Gen. 2:8 [NIV]).
Why is it mentioned that the garden is in the east? In the east of what? The location is a relative term and has been normally interpreted to imply somewhere east of Israel. It is possible, considering the paucity of evidence, to claim that the term refers to the eastern Mediterranean basin. The characteristics of a desiccated eastern Mediterranean basin seem to match those described in Genesis which, by itself, should be a powerful argument.
The next few verses lay out the prediluvial geography quite specifically.
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates (Gen. 2:10-14 [NIV]).
If the land spoken of here is in the eastern Mediterranean basin, the rivers spoken of could be the branching of the Nile flow after it fanned out on the abyssal floor. One branch flows slightly northeast; one flows north; and the other two flow to the northwest. One of these rivers flowed through the land Havilah, where there was gold and onyx, and "aromatic resin." According to Derek Kidner, the word which is translated as "aromatic resin" might be better translated as pearls.46 Resin seems to be a poor match with the other riches found in Havilah, but pearls would fit the nature of the listed items. There is a place on the Mediterranean floor which would fulfill this description.
The characteristics of a desiccated
eastern Mediterranean basin seem
to match those described in Genesis...
Biju-Duval et al. note that an ophiolitic complex extends from Oman to Turkey and then continues across the Mediterranean floor across Cyprus.51 Ophiolites are igneous rocks which were once part of the ocean floor and are well known for their mineral deposits. One part of this ophiolite chain presently rises above sea level on the island of Cyprus. These mineral rich deposits contain onyx (Chalcedony),47 copper,48 iron, manganese,49 silver, and gold.50 If the area of Cyprus was part of the land of Havilah, then oyster beds with pearls inside them would have been exposed high on the slopes of the continent of Asia. The oysters which grew along the Asiatic seashore prior to the time when the Mediterranean dried up, would be stranded high on what then appeared as a mountain chain. One could walk along the mountain slope, open the shells of dead oysters, and find pearls.
One might object to this identification
by pointing out that some geographical features are named: two rivers in
Mesopotamia, the Tigris and Euphrates, the country of Asshur and the land of
Cush which lies south of Egypt, at least according to later designations. How
are these issues to be resolved?
One possibility is that the rivers of Genesis 2 are rivers which formerly poured into the Mediterranean. The Pishon could have been a river coming off Cyprus, where there is gold. The Gihon could have been an ancient name for the Nile which flowed through Cush, located in its traditional place south of Egypt. The Tigris and Euphrates refer to the ancient courses of those rivers.
If the land spoken of
[in Gen. 2:10-14] is in the eastern
Mediterranean basin, the rivers spoken of could be the branching
of the Nile flow after it fanned out on the abyssal floor.
In the past 5.5 million years, Africa has continued to drift northward crashing into Eurasia. The Tethys Sea formerly stretched between Africa and Europe and India and Asia. As Africa and India have drifted north, they have closed the Tethys Sea. The Black and Mediterranean Seas are the last remaining remnants of a once large ocean.
This continental collision has caused much alteration in the topography of the Turkish highlands by altering and creating new river courses. It is in the Turkish highlands that the Tigris and Euphrates begin. They go to the southeast today because of the doming of the land along the Dead Sea Rift. This doming creates a highland on each side of the rift and has cut off the paths of these two rivers. Initially, the Tigris flows southwest toward the Mediterranean out of its source, Lake Van. The Euphrates has an initial southwestward course out of the central Turkish highlands but is turned back to the southeast toward the Persian Gulf by the highlands which exist running north-south with the Dead Sea Rift. Even today the Euphrates comes within 62 miles of the Mediterranean Sea. Only slight alterations in the present topography would allow the Euphrates to once again pour into the Mediterranean.
Another objection might be that deep basins like the one being postulated would be too hot for creatures to live. There is paleogeographic evidence that this is not so. The hippopotamus was able to travel from the Nile to Cyprus during this time frame.52 The Hippopotami inhabiting the Nile simply followed it down into the Mediterranean from where they traveled a short distance to another river coming off Cyprus. From there, they merely followed the Cyprus river upstream.
The desiccation of the Miocene Mediterranean did have an effect on the climate of Europe. Hsu notes:
Although the deterioration of climate in the east preceded the Messinian Stage, the desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea had nevertheless left its imprint on the European climate, as illustrated by the fossil floras of the Vienna Basin. During the Middle Miocene (Helvetian) large evergreen leaves Cinnamomophyllum (Poltawa element) were predominant. During the early Late Miocene (Tortonian) small, serrated, thin-skinned deciduous leaf forms (Turgaya element) became more numerous. Both of these became rare or disappeared altogether during the late Late Miocene (Sarmation or Messinian time), when tough, mostly smoothed-edged rounded leaflets of woody, Leguminosae became the dominant flora remains. Apparently a warm and dry savanna covered the Vienna Basin when the Mediterranean was being desiccated. Willows, poplars, and water elms grew only along water courses. As the forest was turned into a grassland, the grazing animals moved in: the late Miocene fauna of the Vienna Basin consisted largely of antelopes and gazelles. A cooler and damp climate returned at the beginning of the Pliocene when the Mediterranean assumed its present configuration; the Turgaya elements reappeared and the Vienna Basin was again turned into extensive deciduous forests.53
The Mediterranean Basin Model
In this model of the Flood, Noah and the preflood world would have been living on the floor of the Mediterranean. Noah would have built the ark there with the local animals being loaded onto it. Since they might never have seen rainfall, the idea that it could rain would be quite a difficult concept for the antediluvians to swallow, thus explaining their rejection of Noah's warnings.
A prediction of this view is that humanity had lived on the Mediterranean Sea floor. Another prediction is that at some time such evidence will be found. But this view also requires some type of human to exist from 5.5 million years to the present. There are two anthropological discoveries separated by 30 years which indicate that the genus Homo, our genus, may extend back to at least 4.2 million years ago.54
For the antediluvians, life would have come to an end when the dam at Gibraltar catastrophically failed. Hsu hints at the size of the failure needed to cause the Flood described by Noah when he states:
One can picture the desiccated Mediterranean as a giant bathtub, with the Strait of Gibraltar as the faucet. Seawater roared in from the Atlantic through the strait in a gigantic waterfall. If the falls had delivered 1,000 cubic miles of sea water per year (equivalent to 30 million gallons per second, 10 times the discharge of Victoria Falls), the volume would not have been sufficient to replace the evaporative loss. In order to keep the infilling sea from getting too salty for even such a hardy microfauna as the one found in the dark gray marl the influx would have had to exceed evaporation by a factor of 10. Cascading at a rate of 10,000 cubic miles per year, the Gibraltar Falls would have been 100 times bigger than Victoria Falls and 1,000 times more so than Niagara. Even with such an impressive influx, more than 100 years would have been required to fill the empty bathtub.55
All it would take for the Flood to occur would be for these falls to erode their way through to the Atlantic Ocean. There is an indication of how deeply the Gibraltar Dam collapsed. The Trubi marl in Sicily, mentioned above, contained bottom dwelling animals that can only live in water depths in excess of 3,000 feet. The dam at Gibraltar must have broken at least to that depth so that these animals could crawl or be washed into the Mediterranean basin. This means that the collapse would have been catastrophic. Calculations show that with a break 3,000 feet deep, 15 miles wide, and a water speed of 15 miles per hour, the entire Mediterranean would refill in 8.4 months, an extremely short time compared with the massive quantity of water needed to fill this large basin.
As the water rushed in, the first phenomenon which would occur is that the air would begin to rise as it was replaced by the fluid filling the basin. The air would pick up moisture via evaporation from the flood water as it continued to pour into the Mediterranean. As the air rose, adiabatic cooling would take place. Adiabatic cooling is the cooling that occurs in a rising body of air which cools at 10 deg. C per kilometer. As the air cools, the moisture contained in the air condenses to form clouds which eventually will produce rain. Since the air over an area of 964,000 square miles was moving upwards simultaneously, the rains from this mechanism would be torrential! The modern world has never seen such a convection cell. Forty days of rain is easy to account for without having to postulate the impossible (e.g., air moving upwards all over the world for the year prior to the flood as required by Dillow's suggestion).
In this hypothesis of the Flood, Noah
would have looked out his window and seen the tallest peaks in his land being
covered by the deluge. His entire land and all that was in it would be
destroyed. The rain would not be confined entirely to the Mediterranean basin.
The air rising out of the basin would push out in a way that would cause
torrential rains far from the present shorelines. Thus even the surrounding
regions would not have escaped the deluge which is one possible explanation for
the need of an ark. If the ark grounded on the Mediterranean shore, which Noah
formerly knew as the mountains of Ararat, all he would see would be a flooded
landscape. The continuing rains and humidity in the air would prevent him from
seeing distant peaks. Ft. Worth is 30 miles west of Dallas. On a clear day one
can see the skyline of that great city from Dallas, but if there is much
humidity or haze, no amount of squinting will allow those buildings to be seen.
Similarly, Noah would not be able to see very far. As the rain tapered off, Noah
would have seen the distant peaks.
Since the ark would
have landed on the present seashore - known
to Noah as the mountains of Ararat- the subsequent generation...would
not believe that what they now see as coastline was really the mountains of Ararat.
The astute reader will question the flow direction of the water running off the flooded rim of the Mediterranean basin. Water would be flowing off the land toward the center of the basin. Any object attempting to float toward shallow water would be pushed back by the advancing water. So how was the ark able to land on the shoreline of Turkey?
The addition of the weight of 3.7 million cubic kilometers of water would depress the basin causing earthquakes which would continue over the next few centuries. However, the earthquakes, making that adjustment, would begin immediately. The ark could have been pushed onshore by a minor tsunami. All tsunamis do not have to be huge; they come in all sizes. One only ten inches high struck Seattle, Washington in response to a minor Pacific earthquake.56 Once grounded, the ark would most likely remain stranded.
Since the ark would
have landed on the present seashore- known
to Noah as the mountains of Ararat- the subsequent generation,
hearing that the ark had landed on mountains, would not believe that
what they now see as coastline was really the mountains of Ararat.
They would presume that the landing
site was further inland or further north, where there were "real" mountains:
mountains which they could see. Thus, the misidentification of the present Mt.
The ark would either have rotted, been plundered for housing, firewood, etc., or have sunk beneath the Mediterranean due to the tectonic down-warping of the coastline in response to the new weight of water in the basin. If this view is correct, the search for the Ark on the present Ararat is futile.
The incident with the olive tree and the dove is really only understandable with a local flood. It is inconceivable that the olive leaf had survived one year under water and there certainly was not enough time for a new olive plant to sprout, barring the miraculous. In this model, the olive tree could have lived along a stream course somewhere higher than the general inundation that would have taken place along the coastline. When the bank gave way, the tree was washed downstream and grounded in the area of the ark, where the dove took the leaf and returned it to the ark. Noah would then know that the land was nearby.
Whitcomb and Morris
attempt to explain the olive by saying that only a few months are necessary
between the planting of an olive branch and the sprouting of the leaves.57
Only forty-seven days had elapsed between the appearance of the mountain tops
and the plucking of the olive leaf. There would not have been enough time for
the olive to sprout.
The model of Noah's Flood presented here is a novel but plausible scenario for the Flood, which fits all the disparate facts outlined in Genesis and in the geological record of the Mediterranean. The model handles the listed problems as follows:
1. The localization of the human race. The view must assume that one of three conditions held: (1) the flood occurred early enough in human history so that there was not widespread migration throughout the world; (2) the lands surrounding the Mediterranean were too hostile to navigate (but this violates God's command to fill the earth); or (3) humankind, in its rebellion, refused to disperse. A refusal to disperse could have some bearing on God's reaction to a similar refusal to disperse at Babel.
2 The location of the local flood is identified. The importance of this is that it allows rational discussion of the implications which the view predicts. Evidence for and against the view can be collected. It also removes the nebulousness of most local flood theories.
3. The Mediterranean basin provides the only location on earth in which a local flood could transport the ark to the top of 10,000-feet-tall mountains. This most serious of objections to a local flood is negated by the chosen location. Furthermore, the Mediterranean basin exactly fits the hydrologic and mineralogic description of the preflood countryside.
4. The ark was needed to save the lives of Noah and his family and the animals. Due to the vast areas over which rain would occur in such a catastrophe, migration of Noah and the animals would be unlikely.
5. The Mediterranean basin provides the only location which can explain why the flood would last a little over one year in duration.
6. The size of the ark is poorly understood due to a loss of the relevant length of the cubit.
One objection which must be countered is the charge that advocating a local flood is equivalent to giving in to the demands of modern geology. Strictly speaking this is not true since as Filby notes, Matthew Poole in 1670 and Edward Stillingfleet in 1662 both argued for a local flood prior to the advent of geological knowledge.58
From the point of view of a
geoscientist who believes the biblical account, it is reassuring that there
exists a hypothesis which exactly fits the facts outlined in the biblical
record. While this hypothesis is not concordant with the most widely held view
of the Flood, it should be judged not upon how well it fits our present view but
upon how well it fits the available facts of theology, geology, and physics.
paper is a slightly modified extraction from Glenn R. Morton, Foundation,
Fall and Flood: A Harmonization of Genesis and Science ( Dallas: DMD
Publishing Co., 1994).
2Davis A. Young, "Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part 1)," Westminster Theological Journal 49 (1987): 1-34; - - - , "Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part 21)," Westminster Theological Journal 49(1987): 257-304; Martin J. S. Rudwick, The Meaning of Fossils (New York: Neale Watson Academic Publications, Inc., 1976); and John C. Greene, The Death of Adam (New York: The New American Library, 1959).
3John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1961).
4Davis A. Young, "Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part 2), Westminster Theological Journal 49 (1987): 288.
5M. I. Budyko, Climatic Changes (Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union, 1977), 37.
6Glenn R. Morton, "Can the Canopy Hold Water?" Creation Research Society Quarterly 16 (1979:80): 164. Often Venus is cited as an example of a canopied planet with uniform temperatures but its temperature pole to pole is in excess of 900└
└ F. See also, David E. Rush and Larry Vardiman, "Pre-Flood Vapor Canopy Radiative Temperature Profiles," Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism 2 (Pittsburgh: Creation Science Fellowship, 1990), 231-45 esp. 238.
7Joseph C. Dillow, The Waters Above (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), 237.
8Alfred M. Rehwinkel, The Flood (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1951), 124; and John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1961), 77.
9Frank D. Stacey, Physics of the Earth (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1969), 199.
10Dillow, The Waters Above, 272-3.
11Edward O. Dodson and Peter Dodson, Evolution: Process and Product (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1976), 356.
12Dodson and Dodson, Evolution: Process and Product, 19.
14Arthur C. Custance, The Extent of the Flood, Doorway Paper No. 41 (Ottawa: Privately Published, 1958), 24.
15Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood, 69.
16Using the standard interpretation of 18 inches for the length of the cubit, the second floor of the ark is 15 feet above the first floor and the third deck is 30 feet above. Dividing 17,500 pairs of animals among eight people yields 2,187 pairs to be loaded by each human. Assuming that one-third will be loaded on each floor, then 729 will be loaded on the second floor and 729 will be loaded on the third floor. The floor in a modern office building is about ten feet tall. Thus a trip to the third floor of the ark is equivalent to a three story trip and a trip to the second floor is a 1.5 story trip. Thus, during the week each person must climb the equivalent of a 3280 story building. Dividing 3280 by 168 hours in a week yields 19.5 stories per hour which must be climbed each hour of the week.
17A human, on average passes 1.5 liters of water per day. If we assume that the average size of the ark occupant was that of a sheep, which has 1.5 times the mass of the human, the average output each day is 2.25 liters per animal. 35,000 x 2.25 = 78,750 liters = 21,000 gallons = 78.75 cubic meters. A 365-day supply of water occupies 28,743 cubic meters. Using an 18-inch cubit yields a volume of the ark of 39,560 cubic meters, meaning that the needed fresh water would fill 72% of the ark's volume. Of course, this need will be reduced somewhat by the quantity of rain which can be collected on a daily basis. If the rain ceased after 40 days, there would still be a need for 64% of the ark's volume to carry water.
18Very slight motion produces 288 calories/hour in man. Scaling this value for the 35,000 sheep-sized animals, means that 10,080,000 calories per hour are generated by the animals aboard the ark. This is convertible to 22,715 joules/sec.
Due to structural considerations, the sides of the ark would have had to have been constructed of thick wood to resist the forces of the waves. Very little heat would be able to escape through these thicker portions. Most of this energy must therefore be radiated from the top of the ark. The top of the ark can be made from thinner, more conductive wood. The area of the ark's top is 137.2 meters x 22.8 meters = 3137 square meters of surface area. The heat radiated from any surface is governed by the Stefan-Boltzman law. The temperature at the top of the ark needed to radiate away this energy is:
(Tark -Tsky)4 = E/Aomega
where A is the surface area, omega is the Stefan-Boltzman constant (5.67 x 10-8 Joules/m2/K4/s and Tark is the temperature in degrees of the Kelvin scale of the ark's top surface, Tsky is the temperature of the atmosphere (~25 deg. C) and E is the energy needed to be disposed of (22,715 joules/sec.) Plugging the above values into the equation yields a value of 115 deg.C for the top of the ark. Water boils at 100 deg. C.
19Custance, The Extent of the Flood, 3. According to Strong's Hebrew's Dictionary, The Bible Library (Oklahoma City: Ellis Enterprises, Inc, 1992), CD-ROM, eretz (776) means country, earth, field, ground, or land. In all meanings except one, "earth," the word has a meaning which is limited in geographical extent.
20>Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood, 110-1.
21Hugh Miller, Testimony of the Rocks (New York: Hurst and Co., 1957), 357.
22Custance, The Extent of the Flood, 18.
24>Champ Clark, Flood (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1982), 73.
26Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood, 10.
27Alan Russell, editor, Guinness Book of World Records (New York: Bantom Books, 1988), 278.
28Custance, The Extent of the Flood, 20.
29Kenneth Hsu, The Mediterranean Was a Desert (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), 102.
30Ibid., 104, 112.
31Kenneth J Hsu, "When the Mediterranean Dried Up," Scientific American 227 (December 1972): 27.
32Hsu, The Mediterranean Was a Desert, 119-20.
35Kenneth J. Hsu, "The Miocene Desiccation of the Mediterranean and Its Climatical and Zoogeographical Implications," Die Naturwissenschaften 61 (1974): 140.
36Hsu, "When the Mediterranean Dried Up," Scientific American 227 (December 1972): 31.
37M. Grant Gross, Oceanography (Columbus: Charles E. Merrill Books, Inc., 1967), 71, 74.
38Hsu, The Mediterranean was a Desert, 14-7.
39- - - , "The Miocene Desiccation of the Mediterranean and Its Climatical and Zoogeographical Implications," Die Naturwissenschaften 61 (1974): 139; K. J. Hsu, W. B. F. Ryan, and M.B. Cita "Late Miocene Desiccation of the Mediterranean" Nature 242 (1973): 242-3; Hsu, The Mediterranean was a Desert, 104, 149.
40Hsu, "When the Mediterranean Dried Up," 29 and A. Debendetti, "The Problem of the Origin of the Salt Deposits in the Mediterranean and of Their Relations to the Other Salt Occurrences in the Neogene Formations of the Contiguous Regions," Marine Geology 49 (1982): 96. See also N.V. Yesin and V.A. Dmitriyev, "On the Possible Mechanism of Formation of the Messinian Evaporites in the Mediterranean Sea," International Geology Review 29 (March 1987): 64 - 70. It is interesting that the data in favor of the complete desiccation of the Mediterranean is all observational and the objections are all theoretical.
41A. T. Chamberlain, "A Chronological Framework for Human Origins," World Archaeology 23, no. 2 (1991): 140.
42Howard J. Critchfield, General Climatology (Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, 1966), 93-4.
43Anonymous, "Atacama Desert," The Multimedia Encyclopedia (Novato, CA: The Software Toolworks and Grolier Inc., 1992).
44Anonymous, "Atacama Desert," Encylcopaedia Britannica 2 (1982), 254 and Anonymous, "Deserts," Encyclopaedia Britannica 5 (1982), 606.
45Robert P. Ambroggi, "Water Under the Sahara," Scientific American 214 (May 1966): 28.
46Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, 1967), 64.
47B. Biju-Duval et al., "Geology of the Mediterranean Sea Basins," in Creighton Burk and Charles L. Drake, The Geology of Continental Margins (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1974), 714.
48I.G. Gass, The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Dhali Area, Geological Survey Department, Cyprus Memoir 4 (1960): 79.
49Th.M. Pantazis, The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Pharmakas-Kalavasos Area, Geological Survey Department, Cyprus Memoir 8 (1967): 158.
50P.S. Bagnall, The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Pano-Lefkara-Larnica Area, Geological Survey Department, Cyprus Memoir 5 (1960): 16, 70.
51Gass, The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Dhali Area, 92, 102.
52Hsu, The Mediterranean was a Desert, 177.
53Hsu, "The Miocene Desiccation of the Mediterranean and its Climatical and Zoogeographical Implications," Naturwissenschaften 61 (1974): 141.
54B. Patterson, and W.W. Howells, "Hominid Humeral Fragment From early Pleistocene of Northwestern Kenya," Science 156 (1967): 64-6. See also Charles Oxnard, Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution: Morphometric Studies of Australopithecines (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), 98; Peter Andrews, "Ecological Apes and Ancestors," Nature 376 (Aug. 17, 1995): 555-6; and M. G. Leakey et al., "New four-million-year-old hominid species from Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya," Nature 376 (August 17, 1995): 565-71.
55Hsu, "When the Mediterranean Dried Up," 33.
56Science and Technology Week, Cable News Network, July 31, 1993.
57Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood, 104-6.
58Frederick A. Filby, The Flood Reconsidered (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Co., 1970), 83-4.