In November of 1999, the story hit the newspapers. Evidence for the Flood of Noah's day had been found! Through examination of the sediments in the bottom of the Black Sea, scientists claimed to have discovered evidence that the ocean had suddenly and permanently inundated an earlier fresh- water lake. Fossils of freshwater clams had been abruptly replaced by marine clams in the in the sea's muddy bottom.
The Black Sea lies between modern day Turkey and Ukrainian Russia, fed by numerous rivers. The sea sits in a deep bowl, connected to the Mediterranean through the 19-mile-long Bosporus strait near Istanbul.
As originally reported in the August 1998 issue of Earth, geologists Bill Ryan and Walter Pitman speculated that people thrived around an original fresh-water lake in this location, isolated from the ocean by a natural dam. But as the most recent Ice Age ended, huge volumes of melted ice were released into the oceans, raising its level until it overtopped the dam. Eventually the dam failed, catastrophically flooding the valley and lake below. The survivors of this flood would have migrated in all directions, taking with them the story of a great flood. Could this have been the seed-thought which, when embellished, became the Biblical flood, the researchers asked?
Certainly this would have been a big flood and would have been remembered by survivors. But it wasn't the great flood of Noah's day. The Biblical flood was more than "big"—it was global. There were no survivors who migrated to new areas. Furthermore, the muds on the sea's bottom merely cover the true evidence, thousands of feet of sediments (now sedimentary rock) full of marine fossils. These layers cover vast areas and give testimony to intense marine processes, operating at rates, scales, and intensities far beyond those occurring today even during major flooding. All people today descended from the few survivors on board the Ark, not only the cultures surrounding the Black Sea, and as predicted, nearly all cultures, worldwide, have flood legends.
In the creationist model, the Ice Age followed the Flood and lasted for several centuries. Sea level during that time was an estimated 600 feet lower than today as vast quantities of water were trapped on the continents. When the ice melted, the rising ocean poured into the once-dry Mediterranean valley and then through the Bosporus into the Black Sea area, with the volume and force of hundreds of Niagara Falls. This was a big flood, but not the flood.
The regional flood sediments hardened into rock and were uplifted to form our modern continents. This evidence, far different from lake-bottom sediments, is found today covering the continents, even beneath the Black Sea. Essentially all modern landforms, from lakes to mountains to deserts, are a result of, not survivors of, Noah's Flood. This new claim is a misguided attempt to adapt the Bible to old-earth geology. It throws Christians a sop by saying "there may be some history in the Bible, just don't look too closely."
*Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.