The Gamburtsev Mountains: An Antarctic Mystery | The Institute for Creation Research

The Gamburtsev Mountains: An Antarctic Mystery

Antarctica has for years puzzled researchers who submit to long-age theories, especially after the Gamburtsev mountain range in central Antarctica was discovered in 1957. These mountains are about as big as the Alps, yet are buried under nearly a mile and a half of ice. As of October 2008, an international team of research scientists is preparing to survey the range in detail. They hope the investigation will provide clues to how such large mountains were formed in the interior of the continent.1

A standard, long-age model for mountain formation holds that continental plate margins slowly buckle upward when they collide. But “both the existence of these massive mountains in the absence of known active tectonism and their inaccessible location in the middle of Antarctica have contributed to their mystery.”2 Thus, the standard model does not fit the observations.

The global Flood detailed in Genesis, which was powerful enough to cause such land mass formations, provides a possible answer to this mystery. Considerable creation science research has already been conducted regarding the formation of mountains in general, the earth’s past Ice Age, and the earth’s present ice caps. According to the creation model, the Flood deposited extensive amounts of sediment. While still soft, the sediments were deformed and uplifted, and water running off the continents carved further mountains.

Geophysicist John Baumgardner wrote in 2005 that “when the catastrophic driving processes shut down, the zones with the thickened crust [piles of sediment] promptly moved toward a state of what is called isostatic equilibrium, resulting in many thousands of feet of vertical uplift.”3 And as the newly formed continents rose up, the water that had covered them washed much of that sediment into the now lower ocean basins. The majority of this work could have been accomplished in one year.

In a remarkable description of this process, Psalm 104:6-8 says “Thou coveredst it [the earth] with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.” Both scriptural and scientific evidence at this point seem to indicate that the Antarctic continent bobbed upward toward the end of the Flood year, and the waters that had covered it drained into the ocean, carving huge valleys and leaving behind the steep-sided Gamburtsev mountains in mid-continent.


  1. Amos, J. Survey targets 'ghost' mountains. BBC News. Posted on December 13, 2006, accessed October 29, 2008.
  2. Cox, S. E. et al. 2007. Detrital apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He evidence for early formation and slow erosion of the Gamburtsev Mountains, East Antarctica. 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences, August 26-31, Santa Barbara, CA. U.S. Geological Survey and the National Academies; USGS OF-2007-1047, Extended Abstract 193.
  3. Baumgartner, J. 2005. Recent Rapid Uplift of Today's Mountains. Acts & Facts. 35 (3).

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on November 11, 2008.

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