Copyright 2003 G.R. Morton. This may be freely distributed so long as no charge is made and no alterations to the text are made.
Walter Brown has advanced the idea that Noah's flood was caused by the escape of water from underground chambers. This is a very old idea having been first advanced to my knowledge prior to 1840 (Murray, 1840, p. 215-217). Prior to the flood, the earth had waterfilled subterranean chambers about 10 miles or 16 km below the surface.(Brown, 2002, ref 1). The flood was caused when the crust split open, the water spewed out and flooded the earth and the rebound of the crust (like a rubberband) caused the continents to rapidly drift across the earth's surface (thus accounting for continental drift). The drawing below illustrates his basic setup
1. Brown's model
requires that no mountains be on the preflood earth, forcing the Bible to
Brown's earth model is constructed as follows: a solid center, a water layer, then above that a layer of granite or basalt which 'floats' on the water. This is as shown below:
Earth's crust (granite 2.65 g/cc, or basalt 3.3 g/cc thickness=T
water density 1.0 g/cc Thickness=tw
Earth center a solid density > 3.3
There are several things to notice about this situation. First the crust must be absolutely impermeable to the water. There must be no earthquakes before the flood since the first crack in this sphere would allow the water to escape. This means that there must be no meteorites before the flood. And heaven help mankind if he ever were to have drilled into the crust for curiosity sake. This means the flood would have happened regardless of whether or not man sinned. There are certain theological problems with that idea.
There must absolutely not have been any elevation differences. The effects of a load on the top of the crust can be seen from using an elastic sheet solution to the load. The 4th order differential equation is
D ---- + (pm-pw)zg = P(x)
where P(x) is the load as a function of horizontal distance, z is the displacement of the load, g is the acceleration of gravity, pm is the density of the crust, pw is the density of water, D= ET3 /(12(1-sig2 ) where E is Young's modulus, 1011 dynes/cm2, sig is Poison's ratio, .25, and T is the thickness of the crustal layer into which the load sinks. For a two dimensional load with a 1/2 width, A, the flexure of the crust is
z max= h(ps-pw)(1-e-LA cos(LA))/(pm-ps)
where L=4th root((pm-pw) g)/(4D))
With a crust thickness of 5 km (5x105 cm) sig=.25, E=1011 we have
D=1.1 x 1028
L=4.37 x 10-7
Now for a mountain 10 km (1 x 106 cm) in radius and 5 km (5 x 105 cm) in height (h), the minimum thickness of the crust must be 5 x 105 (2.1-1) (1-e-LA cos(LA))/(2.65-2.1)=1.1 x 106 cm =4.1 km
The bending of the crust by 4.1 km will occur by fracture. This would immediately release the water. Thus, there are no mountains. Even a hill 1 km high would require that the crust bend by 830 meters.
Therefore the crust
must be perfectly smooth. Thus, you must violate the Biblical record where
it says that all the high mountains were covered. In your conception of the
flood there could be no mountains or hills.
2. Early collapse of the subterranean water (regardless of whether or not man would sin. This collapse could come from a collision of the outer crust with the mantle with the intervening water flowing out of the way. In such a model, one must have pillars to retain the physical connection with the core. If you do not do this, you will have the certainty that the crust will eventually crash into the core. Friction between the crust and the water and the water and the core will cause the outer crust to begin to move in a fashion different to that of the earth's interior. This would cause turbulence and would lead to a crash. The outer crust is free to move in relation to the core in response to tidal forces.
3. Everybody will cook.
Suppose you placed the water under 10 km of crust, the pressure of the water would be 10 x 105 * 980 * 2.65 = 2.58 x 109 dynes= 2562 atmospheres of pressure.
gradient is 1 deg C for every 30 m so there is a 166 deg. C increase in
temperature as we go deeper. 330 + 30 deg C (the surface temperature) =360
deg. C. (see below for justification of the temperature. For a layer of cave
water 2 km thick all around the earth would
contain 1 x 1024 cubic centimeters of water. At 360 deg C, the
high temperature water would contain 3.3 x
1026 calories. (1 calorie per degree rise (330 degree rise)).
The minute the pressure is released the water will turn to steam and you
will cook the earth. Dividing the calories by the surface area of the earth
shows that heat /cm2 = 3.3 x 1026 Calories/5.09 x
1018 square centimeters = 6.4 x
This energy represents 1
year's worth of sunshine on a square centimeter
at the equator. (The sun gives each square centimeter 2 calories per square
centimeter per second) I don't think Noah could survive this. This enough
energy to raise water to 64 million degrees C (assuming a specific heat of 1
cal/degree. Even if you use the 121 deg C value that Brown wants to use,
this represents over 4 month's of solar radiation per square centimeter. No
one could survive this event. It is a poor
mechanism for a flood.
On final item. I
have seen the IPOD seismic line, from the continent out into the Atlantic
mid oceanic ridge, every inch of it, and there is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF
ANY RESIDUAL BURIED WATER OR DEEPLY BURIED CAVE TO HOLD THE WATER. There
are no indications of collapse structures of the size your model would
require anywhere on any seismic data I have ever examined in the past 25
I would also point out that
there is a type of seismic wave, called a shear wave which doesn't travel
through water. In Brown's scenario, there would be no way to absolutely
eliminate all the subterranean water. As the crust collapsed, rubble would
block the escape route for some of the water. Given that shear waves don't
travel through liquids, those of us in the seismology business should be
able to find places where shear waves don't travel to the receivers. If the
water is shallow, it would only block a few seismology stations.
But, we don't find any places in the shallow earth which won't transmit shear waves. That is very strong evidence that there is no residual water remaining under the crust.
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for Young's Modulus and Poison's Ratio see Milton Dobrin _Introduction to Geophysical Prospecting_ (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1952), p. 178
For the Elastic Equation
see Philip Keary and Frederick J. Vine,_Global Tectonics_ (Boston: Blackwell
Scientific Publications, 1990), p. 35
Tide is from Charles B.
Officer _Introduction to Theoretical Geophysics_ New York: Springer-Verlag,
1974 p. 340
Temperature Gradient is from O. M. Phillips, _The Heart of the Earth_ San Francisco: Freeman & Cooper, 1968, p. 138
Brown, Walter, 2002 reference 1. The Hydroplate Theory: An Overview 94. He writes: Assumption 1: Subterranean Water. About half the water now in the oceans was once in interconnected chambers about 10 miles below the earth’s surface. Excluding the solid structure of the interconnected chambers, the subterranean water, containing a large amount of dissolved salt, would have approximated a thin, spherical shell, about 3/4 of a mile in thickness.28 Above the subterranean water was a granite crust; beneath the water was a layer of basaltic rock. (See Figure 51.)
Brown, Walter, 2002 reference 2 The Hydroplate Theory: An Overview 96.
Murray, John, 1840, Truth of Revelation,(London: William Smith).