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Yes, Noah's Flood may have happened but not over the whole earth.

The Bible says that the rains that
created the Noachian Flood lasted
for 40 days (Genesis 7:17), that the
waters prevailed on the earth for
150 days (Genesis 7:24), and after
these 150 days the waters gradually
receded from the earth so that by
the seventh month and the seven-
teenth day, Noah’s Ark came to rest
upon the mountains of Ararat
(Genesis 8:4). A year plus two
months and twenty seven days later
the earth was dry enough so that
Noah, his family,and the load of ani-
mals could disembark from the Ark
(Genesis 8:14). Because this flood
was intended by God to destroy all
flesh on earth (Genesis 6:13) and
because sedimentary rocks on all
continents contain fossils that sup-
posedly represent the “destroyed
flesh of all life, it might be thought
that the Bible story, describing a
whole-earth flood, was true.
However, interlayered with these
fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks on
all continents are layers of evapor-
ite rock salt (sodium chloride), gyp-
sum (hydrated calcium sulfate),
anhydrite (calcium sulfate), and var-
ious potash and magnesium salts,
which are associated with red beds
(shales) containing fossilized mud
cracks (Schreiber and others 2007).
Many of these mineral com-
pounds and red beds have com-
bined thicknesses on different con-
tinents of more than one kilometer
(~3,281 feet) (Collins 2004). The
red beds are red because they con-
tain red hematite (iron oxide)
which formed from magnetite
grains that were oxidized while
the muds were exposed to oxygen
in open air. The mud cracks can
form only under drying conditions
that cause the mud to shrink and
form polygonal cracks.The evapor-
ite mineral compounds in the lay-
ers are deposited in the correct
chemical order that corresponds
to the solubility of each kind of ion
in these compounds and whose
increasing concentrations during
the evaporation of water would
cause them to precipitate in a pre-
dictable depositional sequence as
the water volume decreased. Such
evaporite deposits would be
expected to occur where a marine
sea was once present and which
disappeared when the sea became
completely dry.
Therefore, one could expect
these evaporites to be at the top of
the supposed Noachian Flood
deposits when the water suppos-
edly receded and the land dried
out, but certainly not in different
levels in between older and
younger fossiliferous “Flood
deposits”.We read in the Bible that
there is only one time in which the
Flood waters are said to recede
and leave the earth dry.That is, no
multiple worldwide climatic con-
ditions are described in which
flooding, then drying to a dry
earth, more flooding, more drying
to a dry earth, in repeated cycles
occur over and over again in that
Flood year.On that basis, it is logi-
cal that all the kinds of evaporite
deposits and red beds in many dif-
ferent levels in the supposed
Noachian Flood deposits could
form only in local climates with
desert drying-conditions and could
not possibly have formed all at the
same time — a time when a flood
covered the whole earth for more
Noah’s Flood
May Have
But Not
Over the
Whole Earth
Lorence G Collins
Department of Geological
Sciences, California State
University Northridge
The Bible (Genesis 6-9) describes a
worldwide flood (the Noachian
Flood), covering even the highest
mountains of the earth and the
construction of a huge boat (a rec-
tangular box-like craft) that trans-
ported animals, at least two of a
kind of all land animals on the
earth. The Qur’an (Suras, chapters
11 and 71) has almost a duplicate
story with a similar huge boat that
transported animals and a world-
wide flood. In addition two older
stories exist in ancient Babylonian
epics that describe a huge flood.
One is the Epic of Gilgamesh,
describing a flood on the
Euphrates River (Academy of
Ancient Texts nd).The other is the
Epic of Atrahasis, which has a huge
flood on the Tigris River (Byers
In the Epic of Gilgamesh,
Gilgamesh is warned that a god
plans to destroy all humanity and
is told to build a ship to save him-
self,his family,friends, and cattle. In
the Epic of Atrahasis a tribal chief
survived with his family by floating
in a boat down to the Persian Gulf.
After the flood subsided, the chief
got out on dry land and erected an
altar and sacrificed to a water god
so that such a flood would not
happen again (anonymous nd).
Noah also built an altar when he
got off the Ark and offered sacri-
fices (Genesis 8:20). Because these
stories all describe an ancient huge
flood in Mesopotamia, it is
extremely likely that a huge flood
could have occurred. However, the
next question is:“Did the Noachian
Flood cover the whole earth?”
Lorence Collins is a retired professor
of geology who has written exten-
sively to promote general knowledge
about geology and to counter argu-
ments by anti-evolutionists, includ-
ing three other articles for the
RNCSE which also can be found at
than one year (Collins 2004). On
that basis, the Noachian Flood
story cannot describe a whole-
earth flood, but it could only rep-
resent a large flood in a local
region of the earth.
Two rivers, the Euphrates and
Tigris flow through Mesopotamia,
which is now the country of Iraq
(Figure 1).There are several layers
in exposed rocks near these two
rivers in southeastern
Mesopotamia (Iraq) that are likely
flood deposits. Most are about a
foot thick,but one is as much as 11
feet thick (MacDonald 1988).
Flood debris from this same thick
deposit along the Euphrates River
near the ancient Sumerian city of
Shurappak about 125 miles south-
east of Baghdad has been dated by
the C-14 method, giving an age of
2900 BCE (Best nd).Flood deposits
8 feet thick are also reported by
MacDonald (1988) as far northeast
as the ancient Babylonia city of
Kish (74 miles south of Baghdad).
At any rate,the many flood-deposit
layers show that flooding in south-
eastern Mesopotamia was not
unusual in ancient times.
Similar large local floods are
common throughout history
around the world. For example,
monsoon storms in Bangladesh fre-
quently produce much rain over
the country and in the Himalaya
Mountains which rise in the north-
ern part of the country. Runoff of
water from the rain and melting
snow during such storms create
great floods in four rivers that con-
verge to a single river, the Wang
River, which then drains into a huge
delta in the Bay of Bengal.
Thousands of people have been
drowned in this delta region by
many such floods during the last
century. Almost every culture
through history has a flood story to
tell, as would the people in
Bangladesh, but in each of these
times and places, the floods would
have been local and not worldwide.
Many creationists have pointed
out that the Bible indicates that
God promised not to cause another
huge flood to occur and, therefore,
there cannot be any floods that are
similar to the Noachian Flood
(Genesis 9:13–15). Still, the geologi-
cal record should show at least one
unique flood event that is different
from all the large regional floods for
which there is geological evidence.
Storms that occur in Mesopotamia
usually come from the
Mediterranean Sea, cross the
mountains in Syria, Turkey, and
western Iran northwest of
Mesopotamia, move over
Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf,
and then exit in the Gulf of Oman.
The Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
that would transport water from
these storms leave higher land in
northern Mesopotamia and enter a
nearly flat area about 80 miles
north of Baghdad. In this 80-mile
interval the gradients of these
rivers are small, with the elevation
dropping about 1 foot per mile
along the course of the rivers. Both
the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
near Baghdad have elevations of
100 feet above sea level,and at the
city of As Samawah (174 miles
south of Baghdad), the Euphrates
River has an elevation of 30 feet (a
drop in elevation of 70 feet)
(NOAA nd). A similar 70-foot drop
occurs along the Tigris River. On
that basis, the gradients of the two
rivers in these intervals are about
0.4 feet per mile. In the additional
223 miles to the Persian Gulf (sea
level) the gradients are about 0.13
feet per mile. Therefore, in both
southeastern and mid-
Mesopotamia the gradients are so
low that the rivers are barely flow-
ing downhill, and frequent flood-
ing could be common.
A large river has natural levees.
During a big storm, water rushing
FIG 1. Map of Mesopotamia (Iraq).
FIG 2. Map showing elevation contours around the Euphrates and
Tigris Rivers that extend NW-SE through Mesopotamia.
down the channel carries abundant
sedimentary debris. If the water in
the channel overflows its banks
onto the adjacent flood plain, the
velocity immediately slows because
of friction with the flat land, and the
water at lower speed cannot carry
its entire load of sediment. Heavier
coarser particles are deposited
abruptly on tops of the banks adja-
cent to the river while finer silts
and clay particles are transported
onto the flood plain. When such
overflowing floods are repeated
year after year, the coarser sedi-
ments deposited adjacent to the
river build up natural levees on
both sides of the channel. Natural
levees along the Euphrates and
Tigris Rivers rise up to 10 to 15 feet
above the river channels, and the
surface of these levees slope gently
away from the rivers for 3 to 5 miles
to lower, adjacent, nearly-flat flood
plains that are up to 65 miles wide
(Tactical Pilotage Chart TPC G-4C,
H-6A, and H-6B). The people living
in Mesopotamia in biblical times
would have had their villages on
the natural levees because the flood
plains would have been swampy.
The watershed for the Euphrates
and Tigris Rivers on which the
flood could have occurred extends
for more than 1000 miles from the
Persian Gulf through Mesopotamia
into Syria and Turkey and laterally
for more than 600 miles from east-
ern Saudi Arabia to southwestern
Iran — an area of more than
600 000 square miles. On that
basis, if abundant rain fell, not only
in the mountains of Syria and
Turkey,but also in Saudi Arabia and
Iran, the tributary streams from
these two additional countries
would also contribute their vol-
umes of water to the flood plains
of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
(Figure 2). Normally, in lesser
storms most water runoff would
have come primarily from the
mountains in Syria and Turkey and
not also from Saudi Arabia and
Iran. During the flood, upstream
where water first accumulates the
depth of water on the flood plains
may be barely over the tops of the
natural levees,but downstream the
water “piles up” because it does
not flow very fast downhill on a
nearly flat surface. Therefore,
downstream water depths could
reach 20 feet or more above the
tops of the levees.This increase in
depth would be particularly true
where the two flood plains with a
width of 170 miles in the northern
section would be squeezed into a
135-mile width in the lower part of
the drainage system where the two
rivers join. The joining of the two
rivers would also increase the vol-
ume of the water in the flood
plains, thereby increasing the
depth. At any rate, all higher land
on the natural levees where the
people in the villages were present
would be completely submerged.
Thus, it would be possible for a
flood to have occurred in mid-
Mesopotamia, perhaps about 2900
BCE, as evidenced by the dated
flood deposits.
When the huge storm ceased that
caused the flood, there would have
been huge lakes, and it could have
taken months to drain the water in
these lakes into the gulf. Taking
months could explain why the
Noachian Flood took so long to
recede (as much as one year,
according to Genesis 8:14).
Evidence for this poor drainage can
be seen in the present-day lakes in
the flood plains. Lake Hawr al
Hammar, which is 20 miles wide
and more than 50 miles long, lies
on the flood plain of the Euphrates
River west of Basra, and several
other large lakes are on flood
plains adjacent to the Tigris River
(for example, Hawr as Sa’diya and
Hawr as Saniyalt). The poor
drainage would be caused by the
fact that the water covering the
flood plains would have no chan-
nel through which to flow, would
not flow uphill over the sloping
natural levees to re-enter the river
channels, and the slopes of the bot-
toms of the lakes would have been
nearly flat with gradients toward
the gulf of 0.4 to 0.13 feet per mile.
Because of the curvature of the
earth, the horizon drops about 8
inches per mile from where the
viewer is standing. However, the
drop is proportional to the square
of the distance in miles rather than
to a linear mile (anonymous nd).
See Appendix 1 for examples of
calculations. From these relation-
ships, it can be seen that a tribal
chief (or Noah) standing on the
deck of a large boat (Ark), perhaps
36 feet above the water, would not
be able to see the tops of any hills
as high as 50 feet from as little as
16 miles away across flood plains
covered with water because the
curvature of the earth prevents it.
Most hills in this region that are as
much as 50 feet high are more
than 65 miles away from the river
levees. Therefore, the survivors of
the Flood could see only water in
all directions while they were
floating down the Tigris River and
over the flood plains. Many of
these hills would also be partly
covered with water which would
make their tops project less above
the water level, and therefore, the
curvature of the earth would make
them disappear from the line of
sight in even a shorter distance
than 16 miles. Northeast and
southwest of the nearly flat surface
that contains the two rivers, the
topography rises to more than
1500 feet in Saudi Arabia and in
Iran. Calculations show that eleva-
tions of 1500 feet high cannot be
seen beyond 55 miles away, and
these places are more than 100
miles from the Euphrates or Tigris
Rivers.Therefore, none of the high
country in Saudi Arabia or Iran
would be visible to a tribal chief
(or Noah). On that basis, the
“whole world” would definitely
appear to be covered with water
during the Flood, and that was the
“whole world” for the people in
this part of southeastern
Mesopotamia at that time.
If the 11-foot thick layer of flood
deposits in southeastern
Mesopotamia (MacDonald 1988)
represents a huge flood of ancient
times, and if it is the remnants of
the one described in the early
Babylonian epics, then the authors
of these epics were likely survivors
who lived in a village on natural
levees on the lower parts of either
the Euphrates or Tigris Rivers
where the flood waters covered
their village, natural levees, and
Thus, we have: 36 feet = (2/3)x2.Then, x =
7.35 miles (a 36-foot drop at 7.35 miles)
For a 6-foot person at ground level looking
at something 45 miles away, the calcula-
tions are: 45 miles - 3 miles = 42 miles.
Then, c = (2/3) x (42)2= 1176 feet,Thus,
he could barely see the tops of something
1176 feet high.
If he were on a boat (Ark) at 36 feet above
the water and looking at something 45
miles away, the calculations are: 45 miles -
7.35 miles = 37.65 miles.Then, c = (2/3) x
(37.65)2= 945 feet.Thus, he could barely
see the tops of something 945 feet tall.
If the hills were 50 feet tall, as possibly
occurs in high ground between the two
river systems south of Baghdad, the calcu-
lations are: 50 = (2/3)x2. Then x = 8.66
miles.Therefore, standing on a boat (Ark),
he could barely see the tops of these hills
at 8.66 + 7.35 = 16.01 miles, and such hills
are more than 60 miles from the river lev-
ees.Thus, just beyond 16 miles, the tops of
these hills cannot be seen from the Ark.
If the elevations were 1500 feet high, as
occurs in eastern Saudi Arabia and on the
steep slopes of the Zogras Mountains in
southwestern Iran, the calculations are
1500 = (2/3)x2.Then x = 47.4 miles.
Therefore, standing on an Ark, a person
could barely see something at these eleva-
tions just 54.75 miles away (47.4 + 7.35),
and these elevations are more than 200
miles away from the Euphrates River and
more than 100 miles away from the Tigris
Lorence G Collins
c/o NCSE
PO Box 9477
Berkeley CA 94709-0477
adjacent flood plains for distances
of 135 to 170 miles so that no land
could be seen, and their whole
world would have been under
I wish to thank Kevin Collins, Fred
Tonsing, Eugene Fritsche, Warren Hunt,
Jarvis Streeter, Steve Peralta, and Barbara
Collins for helpful comments that greatly
improved the manuscript.
Academy for Ancient Texts. nd. Epic of
Gilgamesh [internet]. Available from:
sopotamian/gilgamesh>. Last accessed
February 16, 2009.
[anonoymous]. Atra-Hasis [internet].
Available from: <http://www.absoluteas>. Last
accessed February 16, 2009.
[anonymous]. Curvature of the earth
[internet]. Available from: <http://math
/shirley3.html>. Last accessed February
16, 2009.
[anonymous]. nd. Floods in Bangladesh
[internet]. Available from: <http://en.
desh>. Last accessed February 17, 2009.
Best RM.nd Noah’s Ark:A lost legend about
Ziusudra, King of Sumer [internet].
Available from: <http://www.noahs-ark->. Last accessed February 16,
Byers G. nd. Great Discoveries in Biblical
Archaeology: The Atra-Hasis Epic [inter-
net]. Available from: <http://www.
Atra-Hasis-Epic.aspx>. Last accessed
February 16, 2009.
MacDonald D.1988. The Flood:
Mesopotamian archaeological evidence.
Creation/Evolution, 8(2): 1420.
NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration]. nd. Climate of Iraq [inter-
net]. US National Climatic Data Center.
Available from: <http://www.ncdc.
narrative.html>. Last accessed February
23, 2009.
Schreiber BC, Lugli S, Babel B. 2007.
Evaporites Through Space and Time.
Cambridge (UK): GSL Publishing
Associates Limited.
The drop in the horizon (curvature) does
not vary linearly but with the square of the
distance. The formula is: c = (2/3)x2,
where “c” is the curvature (drop) in feet
and “x” is the distance in miles. For a per-
son who is 6 feet three inches tall,the eye
level is about 6 feet above the ground.
For 6 feet, we have: 6 = (2/3) times x2.
Then, x = 3 miles. That is, at 3 miles, a 6-
foot drop of the horizon occurs.
For a 6-foot person on a 45-foot high (30
cubits high) boat (Ark) that is 1/3 under
water,we have a total height of:
6 + (45 x 2/3) = 36 feet.
by Lawrence (KS): University
Press of Kansas, 2008. 196 pages
Reviewed by Charles A Israel
How many readers of this journal,
if asked to think of images of the
Scopes trial, find mental pictures
of Spencer Tracy, Fredric Marsh,
and other actors from Inherit the
Wind? Sure, we know the film and
play it was based on was really a
McCarthy-era allegory, but the
Hollywood image has proven quite
sticky indeed.The real Scopes trial,
held in Dayton, Tennessee, in the
summer of 1925, was carried on
WGN radio and covered by color-
ful print journalists of the era like
HL Mencken and Joseph Wood
Krutch, and their word-pictures
have proven highly influential.
Some contemporary photographs
and more editorial cartoons have
survived, but for many the real
Dayton has been overtaken by the
fictional Hillsboro. Now there is a
possible cure for this condition.
In 2005, eighty years after the
trial of high school teacher John
Thomas Scopes, historian Marcel
Chotkowski LaFollette discovered
an amazing collection of pho-
tographs in an only partially
processed collection at the
Smithsonian Institution Archives.
In this short volume, she has intel-
ligently blended the restored pho-
tographs with pictures from other
collections for a total of fifty-one
images. Attached to each is an
informative caption, and from the
assemblage she draws attention to
themes and interpretations of the
trial lost from view in other
accounts. We see the expected
cast: defendant Scopes, guest pros-
ecutor William Jennings Bryan, and
defense attorney Clarence Darrow.
More valuable, perhaps, are the
images of the defense team of
lawyers, scientist–witnesses, and
interested supporters assembled
on the steps of their trial head-
quarters. While most contempo-
rary and historical attention from
the trial has centered on the high-
profile attorneys arguing the case,
Reframing Scopes: Journalists, Scientists, and Lost Photographs
from the Trial of the Century by Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette
... (44) (45) (46) (47) (48) (49) The latter is a scenario for which geology speaks in testimony of, as an event that actually occurred in human history. This is where the confusion arises concerning the meme's claims, as geology in no way disproves academic scenarios that depict Noah's flood as an actual event that occurred in history, such as those discussed and defended by L. G. Collins in Reports of the National Center for Science Education (50), or the contemporary cumulative case put forward by Michael Jones of InspiringPhilosophy. (51) 7. Neurology does not disprove the soul A common trope within new atheism (in line with the mindset that drove the creation of the meme being discussed) is to embody the fundamentalist ideal which they seek to critique. In this case, assumption of a material-body and an immaterial-soul is assumed within a materialistic framework, making the dismissal of a soul almost off hand and a defense being non-necessary. ...
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The growing field of memetics demonstrates that memes seemingly behave according to laws of natural selection: the ones that are spread reproduce and thrive/leave offspring while disseminating information across the individuals it encounters, with the ones that do not dying off and becoming obscure, or "dead memes". This report responds to the phenomenon of popular anti-religious memes that spread, replicate and thrive despite containing erroneous information, particularly claims concerning theology or Christian mythology, via examination of a meta-meme containing many such claims.
... Mountains can quickly add to the Tigris's flow in March (Warner, 2012). The frequency of these destructive floods have inspired Great Flood accounts such as those in the Epic of Gilgamesh and in the book of Genesis in the Bible (Collins, 2009). Because of the danger of floods, Iraq was the first state to construct a project in the basin.Between 1911 and1914, Iraq built the Hindiya barrage on the Euphrates to prevent flooding and to reserve water for year-round irrigation. ...
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This study examines the factors that contribute to peaceful cooperation between states over their shared watercourses, namely rivers. The case studies used are the La Plata River Basin in South America and the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin in the Middle East. The former case is used to provide an example of peaceful co-riparians with lasting and effective treaties and institutions. The latter case is used as a comparison to the first, to analyze what differences exist between the cases that contribute to their peaceful/violent relations. The relations on the Tigris-Euphrates are not, nor have they been, very peaceful, with actions by upstream riparians often conflicting with the desires of the downstream neighbors. The research showed that the imperialistic background of the two regions, economic interdependence, and presence of effective treaties were the factors that differed most greatly between the states, contributing to the Tigris-Euphrates’ conflicting status and the La Plata’s peaceful existence.
s Ark:A lost legend about Ziusudra, King of Sumer
  • R M Best
  • Noah
Best RM. nd Noah's Ark:A lost legend about Ziusudra, King of Sumer [internet].
Great Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology: The Atra-Hasis Epic
  • G Byers
  • Nd
Byers G. nd. Great Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology: The Atra-Hasis Epic [internet].
The Flood: Mesopotamian archaeological evidence. Creation/Evolution
  • D Macdonald
MacDonald D. 1988. The Flood: Mesopotamian archaeological evidence. Creation/Evolution, 8(2): 1420.