Search This Blog

Why The Flood Can Not Be In Mesopotamia

Copyright 1996,1997 G.R.Morton. This may be freely distributed as long as not changes are made and no monetary charges are made.

1. The details of a Mesopotamian Flood do not fit the Scriptural account. Consider the following story historical story: A ship was sent to a foreign city to protect American citizens during a local revolution designed to overthrow a colonial government. While in the harbor, saboteurs, under the direction of the colonial government, planted two bombs on the ship which exploded, sinking the ship and taking the lives of many of the sailors. Obviously since the colonial government had knowledge of this dastardly deed, the Americans were incensed at this outrage and went to war. The war was the Spanish-American War. Slogans like, "Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain" reverberated around the land.
The above story is a brief outline of our entry into that war. The problem comes in that the initial account of how the Maine was sunk, is not true. That is, it does not concord with what actually happened. The boiler on the Maine, exploded with no help from saboteurs. The resulting fire then ignited the ammunition aboard the ship. The same event, two explanations. Only one of them can be true and one must be false.
In order for an account to be true, the story must concord to the actual events. The facts in the account, must match the facts of history. The story which tells the false set of facts (saboteurs, Spanish government knowledge of the event, etc) does not match what actually happened and so can be dismissed.
What does this say about the nature of the Flood account? A story about a man who built an Ark, gathered animals on it, spent a year on the boat, and landed on a mountain, can only be true IF the facts of the account actually match the facts of history. There must have been a man who built an Ark, gathered animals on it, spent a year on the boat, and landed on a mountain. If there wasn't, then like the story of the Maine, the Flood account is untrue.
Here are the facts which ought to be true if an explanation of the Flood account is to have any ability to make it true.
1. Eight people on the Ark
2. Animals on the Ark
3. Flood lasted for 1 year
4. Ark landed in the Ararat region on a mountain
Can the Mesopotamian Flood account for these facts? It can account for 8 people on the Ark and animals on the Ark. But it can not explain how the Flood could last for an entire year nor can it account for where the Ark landed at the same time.
Water in a riverine flood travels at a speed of 3-5 miles per hour, and occasionally faster. Since the slope of the Mesopotamian basin is towards the south, the water will flow south, carrying the Ark with it. At a slow speed of 3 miles per hour, the Ark could float from the Turkish boarder with Iraq to the Persian Gulf in about 200 hours. This is only 8 days. The Mesopotamian flood cannot concord with the account because the Ark would be forced towards the Persian Gulf which lies at sea level in the opposite direction from the Ararat region. Once the Ark is in the Indian Ocean, how is it to be transferred to the Ararat region, much less be lifted to land on the mountain?
If the Mesopotamian Flood actually solved the problem, the account would say that the Ark landed on a beach in Arabia.
2. The problem of getting the Ark to the Ararat Region. If one wants to have the flood occur in the Mesopotamian basin, picking up the ark and dropping it in Turkey, must believe that water runs uphill. The elevation profile from the Persian Gulf to Mt. Ararat (9500 foot line only) is:
In the following diagram, the ... are the equivalent of spaces.
Ararat Persian Gulf
North ..........................................................South Elevation 

170---------water level required to place Ark on top of Ararat--

65*----water level required to place ark on Ararat Plateaux-----
55* Direction the water must flow --->
50* <---Direction the Ark must go

Hundreds of Miles from Persian Gulf Gulf
The east west elevation profile is:
East................................................... West
Mediterranean........................Tigris/Euphrates... Zagros Mtns
Sea................................... River Valley...... Iran
(Hundreds of feet)...................................... ***
20................ *************....................... *****
15 ...............*********************................******
10 ..........****************************............*******
05 .......***********************************......*********

The whole problem with the Mesopotamian Flood concept is that the water required to pick the ark up and place it on the lower levels of any mountain in the Ararat region, is far above that which can be contained by the natural basin. In the east west direction, if the water level rises above 2000 feet it will spill over into the Mediterranean. The water level in the Tigris/Euphrates valley can get no higher than 2000 feet on the west. In other words, the entire world must be filled with water up to a 9500 foot level in order for the Ark to be placed on Ararat.
However the real problem lies to the south. There is nothing to the south which can hold the water and allow it to rise above sea level. The Tigris/Euphrates valley is a half-bowl. A great illustration of the problem would be to cut a breakfast cereal bowl in half and try to fill half the bowl with water. Obviously you can pour water into the half-bowl from now to the end of the universe and the half bowl will never fill up.
In response to this problem, I have had some Mesopotamian Flood advocates suggest that the entire basin tilted to the north, sinking Turkey beneath the sea and then it re-rose to its present elevation. This would leave evidence of itself in the form of marine sediments covering Turkey, yet except along river valleys, Turkey is covered by sediments which are Miocene and older. Miocene and older sediments are prior to the advent of man on earth.
3. Lack of sediment from a widespread Mesopotamian Flood. A syllogism can be constructed.
All floods leave sediments covering what they flooded.
Noah's Deluge was a flood.
Therefore Noah's deluge must have left sediment.
From this one can go further,
All uneroded flood sediments can be detected by geology.
To completely erode flood sediments takes more than 20,000 years.
There are no widespread sediments dating from less than 20,000 years ago.
In support of the above syllogisms, people claim that the flood sediments are very thin and easily eroded.  But this ignores the fact due to the way sediments deposit thicker layers in the topographic lows, a widespread flood could only deposit thin layers on the edges of the  actual flooded zone. Along the river and for some extent away from the river (above the usual floodplain) one should see flood sediments thickening towards the river channel.  But, the problem is that the riverine sediments don't even leave the normal river flood plain. And that means that no extraordinary flood ever occurred.
Normal flood sediments lying within the normal flood plain have been preserved so it is not at all reasonable for people to say that there is no way that flood sediment could be preserved that long.
In northern Iraq the surficial sediments are Miocene in age. Except along the rivers themselves, the surficial rocks of northern Iraq are Miocene in age, much older than any proposed flood. (see M. H. Metwalli et al, Petroleum Bearing Formations in Syria and Iraq, AAPG Bulletin, Sept 1974, see cross section on page 1791.) If there was a flood in the Holocene, there should be some Holocene rocks away from the river valleys still left.
There is no evidence of a former high water level in the Mesopotamian basin. As one drives into Salt Lake City from the north along I15 one can see along the mountains on the east a set of perfectly horizontal ledges which extend for mile after mile. these "ledges" mark the former water level for the glacial Lake Bonneville. The waves on the water eroded the land at the beach. These features lasted  for a  15,000 years. There is no reported evidence of raised beaches along the edges of the Mesopotamian valley. If it had ever been flooded, there would be some evidence of this.
Some have suggested that the Flood sediment has been eroded away. But this would not be reasonable. Large floods left evidence in the geologic record for far longer than 6000 years was already known, like the Lake Missoula Floods which have left sediment for over 15,000 years.. The Lake Missoula Flood deposits had been scientifically described as a flood deposit since 1923 (see J.H. Bretz 1923 "The Channeled Scablands of the Columbia Plateau Journal of Geology 31:617-649 and Glacial drainage on the Columbia Plateau Geological Soc. Amer. Bull. 34: 573-608.) I would agree that it took a while for Bretz's view to be accepted but it should have served as a warning. Besides that, the flood deposit at Ur itself had lasted many thousands of years so to say that a flood deposit couldn't be preserved violated what he must have known about Mesopotamian events.

4. Continuous civilization in the region from 4000 B.C. on. The Software Toolworks Multimedia Encyclopedia states that Ur was inhabited from the 5th millennium BC (at least 4000 B.C) until 400 B.C. The city existed uninterrupted over that period (even the famous flood layer at Ur did not cover the entire town). It is difficult to see how there could have been a flood of such a magnitude that would get special note, last a year etc. Ur was along the river bank right at the ocean's shore 6000 years ago. If there had been a great flood during that period, it would have wipe Ur out. Remember that their bricks were not that hard and a good soaking with water could destroy the structural integrity of the city. Thus any flood had to have been prior to 4000 BC. But because of the geologic evidence, there is little evidence for a Flood earlier.

1 comment:

  1. Carbon dated 4000 BC would in reality have been a bit later.

    Here and here you can see what I think of that matter.

    XXVII 2290 BC
    79.918 pmc 4143 BC

    = real years 2290 BC (in Syncellus' chronology) carbon 14 level was at 79.918 pmc, giving an apparent date of 4143 BC.

    XXVIII 2249 BC
    83.178 pmc 3771 BC
    = real year 2249 BC, carbon level 83.178 pmc, apparent year 3771 BC.