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What, if any, physical evidence exists that Noah's flood was localized, and did not cover the entire earth?

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4 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

To expand on dancek's answer, here are several pieces of evidence that don't fit with a global flood:

  • To cover the entire world in 40 days, the rain would have had to fall at about 15 feet per hour. It would have fallen with enough force to sink the ark. [source]
  • The ark wasn't big enough to hold all the species of the world. There are at least 1.7 million species alive today, and over 250,000 (now extinct) fossil species have been identified. [source]
  • A global flood would have mixed seawater into all the fresh water sources and killed all the fresh-water fish. [source]
  • Most plants would have died after being under water nearly half a year. [source]
  • Some animals can only survive on fresh leaves; others rely on plants that only grow in small isolated regions of the earth. Gathering and storing enough of the right kinds of food for all the world's species would not have been possible. [source]
  • Egyptian records go back to a time before the usual given date of the flood, but they do not mention such an event; the pyramids, according to these records, were built before the flood but show no signs of having ever been buried under water. [source]
  • The life cycle of mountains is well understood; after the initial uplift the mountain range begins to erode, often by glaciation. Some mountain ranges, like the Appalachians, show signs of much longer periods of erosion than others, for example the Sierras. This would not be the case if all mountains had been created at the time of the flood. [source]
  • Even if the world was different before the flood, there would be no way for animals from faraway continents to get back after the flood, if the flood created the oceans. [source]
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the modern understanding of "species" and the Biblical use of "kind" are not interchangeable and there is also no indication of "continents" prior to the flood (indeed, the creation account says the land was together) –  warren Aug 30 '11 at 22:07
@warren that doesn't really diminish the issue of the numer of species; selective/intentional breeding applies only to domesticated or farmed species –  Marc Gravell Sep 1 '11 at 15:10
@warren: There is plenty of geological evidence for continents prior to the presumed date of the flood. I also don't think "the creation account says the land was together" holds much water (no pun intended) for people who would take a local interpretation of the flood, as they are likely to take an old-earth view, as well, where, even if the creation account does say lad "was" together, there's no reason to believe it was still together "millions of years later" at the time of the flood. –  Flimzy Sep 12 '11 at 18:52
@Flimzy - guess it depends on whether you've a YEC or OEC understanding of creation :) –  warren Sep 12 '11 at 19:33
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The lack of archaeological evidence for a global flood.
(According to those who don't believe in a global flood.)

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At first glance I almost flagged this as "not an answer", but then I realized its' true. There is almost no other way to answer this question. The only "evidence" for something on this nature having NOT happened is a lack of convincing evidence that it DID happen. This isn't just sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek since there is no authority we can appeal to as a witness for it having not happened -- other than God who's testimony is generally agreed to be the opposite. +1 even though I personally find this "evidence" unconvincing! –  Caleb Aug 27 '11 at 17:22
The lack of evidence for a global flood is not, by itself archaeological/physical evidence of a local flood; it still completely assumes the existence of a significant flood. Meaning: in evidence terms it is a false dichotomy - there is a third, simple, option... –  Marc Gravell Sep 7 '11 at 20:29
@Marc this was a little tongue-in-the-cheek (check the timestamps btw). You're right. Moreover, lack of evidence is never actual evidence -- no matter what the assumptions are. –  dancek Sep 7 '11 at 21:50
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Here's an interesting article I came across which discusses several ancient myths and likely corresponding floods including the Black Sea event: http://discovermagazine.com/2012/jul-aug/06-biblical-type-floods-real-absolutely-enormous

Were early farmers in the area forced to flee as their world disappeared underwater? Archaeologists found the rising waters coincided with the onset of the initial migration of farming cultures into Europe and the floodplains of Mesopotamia. Wherever they came from, the first farmers arrived in southern Mesopotamia shortly after the filling of the Black Sea. Did they bring the story of a great flood that destroyed their world?

Which further links to: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/17/science/geologists-link-black-sea-deluge-to-farming-s-rise.html

An international team of geologists and oceanographers has reconstructed the history of this catastrophic flood from data gathered by a Russian research ship in 1993. Seismic soundings and sediment cores revealed traces of the sea's former shorelines, showing an abrupt 500-foot rise in water levels. Radiocarbon dating of the transition from freshwater to marine organisms in the cores put the time of the event about 7,500 years ago, or 5500 B.C.

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The Black Sea deluge hypothesis suggests the Black Sea may have suddenly and violently flooded due to it being below sea level at one point, thus possibly providing material for the story of Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, and the latter story of Noah.

Naturally if you lived in a little hut on the shores of the Black sea when this may have happened it would not be completely irrational for you believe the whole world has flooded.

Archaeologists argue over whether it happened or not.

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Can you provide references? –  Flimzy Sep 1 '11 at 16:57
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_theory. I am not sure if it should be called a theory though, thus I more cautiously call it a hypothesis. –  Jenny Thomson Sep 1 '11 at 17:32
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