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Explaining Away the Global Flood: Black Sea Edition

Grand Canyon at sunset: Photo 259371784 © Sergii Figurnyi |

[Originally published in 2012 as Robert Ballard’s claims to have discovered Noah’s Flood in the Black Sea are not correct]

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

Robert Ballard, the famous underwater archaeologist who discovered the sunken Titanic, is in the news again with his claim to have found evidence for Noah’s Flood in the Black Sea.

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

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

They claimed this event was Noah’s Flood described in the Bible.

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

…their claim to have found Noah’s Flood is wrong—nothing but wild, unsubstantiated speculation. Not one of the characteristics of the Black Sea flood match the tell-tale signature of the Flood described in the Bible. And their assertion that the biblical record is just a corrupted version of flood legends derived from their Black Sea flood is both wrong and arrogant. Their claim does not explain how flood legends arose, especially those in places like America and Australia. On the contrary, the flood legends are corrupted recollections of the one-and-only world-wide Flood, the true account of which is faithfully recorded in the Bible.

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

However, in 2002, an international team of earth scientists from Canada, the USA, the UK, and Turkey reported detailed investigations into the hypothesis and rejected entirely the idea of a sudden Black Sea flood. From extensive seismic surveys, drill cores, radiocarbon dating, and fossil studies, they concluded that there is no support whatsoever for a catastrophic northward flow of saline Mediterranean water into the Black Sea.

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Rather, from the earliest times the connection was dominated by a southward flow of water from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean, exactly the opposite flow direction to that required by Ryan and Pitman’s hypothesis. (See Black Sea flood may evaporate completely for details and references.)

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

Tas Walker with mountain in the background 2017

Written by Dr. Tas Walker

Tas holds a B.Sc. (Earth Science with first class honours), a B.Eng (hons) and a doctorate in mechanical engineering, all from the University of Queensland. Tas now works full-time for Creation Ministries International (CMI) in Brisbane, where he is employed as a researcher, writer and speaker. He has authored many articles in both Creation magazine and the Journal of Creation (formerly TJ).

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