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Why the Flood is not Global

Copyright 1997 G.R. Morton This can be freely distributed as long as no charge is made and not changes made to the text. (


The Bible does not say that it must be global. The word which the translators translate ‘earth’ is more often used as ‘land’. In Genesis 6:17 ‘earth’ and ‘ground’ are the same word. The choice to translate ‘eretz’ as the ‘planet earth’ is strictly an interpretation. Arthur Custance (1958, p. 3) points out:

“Assuming that Young's list is exhaustive, actual count shows that the word is translated Earth about 677 times and translated land 1458 times. Moreover, of the 677 occurrences in at least 100 instances the word may be equally, if not more appropriately, rendered land rather than Earth. Whereas in the cases where it is translated Land in the English the instances in which Earth would have been more appropriate are rare. That is to say, the choice of Earth or Land as a translation of the original in any particular instance is a matter of context: and on the whole, if we exclude the account of the Flood, usage elsewhere shows that the context favours the word Land rather than Earth.”

Often 2 Peter 2:5 is cited as evidence that the ancient ‘world’ was destroyed an thus the flood must be global. This verse says NIV,

“If he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven other;”

The Greek word which is translated as ‘world’ is kosmos. According to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon,(Thayer 1962, p. 356) the translation in preferred order is: harmonious arrangement or order, ornament, the universe, the earth, the inhabitants of the world, the ungodly multitude, worldly affairs, an aggregate. People act as if the absolutely only way this verse can be interpreted is applying to the earth. Considering the way the rest of the New Testament translates this word as either ‘worldly affairs’, or the ‘ungodly multitude’ why are these not perfectly acceptable translations?

All of the below are acceptable translations.

God destroyed the harmonious order.

God destroyed the earth.

God destroyed the inhabitants of the world.

God destroyed the ungodly multitude.

God destroyed the worldly affairs.

1 Peter 3:20 says 8 people were saved in the Flood. In order to argue that this means the Flood was global, one must assume that people were spread all over the earth. This is not at all clear from the Scripture.


A global Flood violates the second law of thermodynamics. The earth is made of continents and ocean basins. the continental platforms are made of granite and float high above the ocean basins. On the average, the surface of the continents is 5 km above the abyssal ocean floor. On average, the sediment cover on top of the continents 1.6 km. The average surface elevation above sea level is about 600 m. The average oceanic sediment thickness is 300 m with an average elevation of -4500.

Here is why a global flood violates the second law of thermodynamics. The thickest sediments are on top of the continental platforms. If you think that this is not a problem, then perform the following experiment. Take a large brick place it onto the bottom of your bath tub. Fill the bathtub up to a level that is twice the thickness of the brick. Pour dirt into the tub and stir vigorously. let it settle out. Where do you think the thickest layer of dirt will be? It will be on the tub bottom not on the brick. In fact the sediment on the tub bottom will be twice as thick as the sediment on the brick if you truly stirred vigorously. In point of fact, the sediment is much thicker on the continents than it is in the ocean basins.

The average sediment thickness on top of the continents is nearly 1.7 km. The average sediment thickness in the ocean basins is only .3 km; a 5 to 1 ratio. This is a violation of the laws of physics for the Flood to have created the sediments as young earth creationists believe.

There are equations that can be derived which show that it is impossible to account for the sediment thicknesses by having a global flood. For more information see Morton (1980). I will stand by the problem but not my suggested solution. It has been disproven by subsequently acquired data.

Could the continents sink and then rise again after the Flood? No. If that had happened there should exist a huge, vertical fracture zone along each of these contnental shelves. There is none. During my career as a geophysicist,I have personally examined hundreds of thousands of miles of seismic data along the continental shelves of eastern Canada, the Eastern U.S, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, China, NW Africa, South Africa, Brazil, and England. In fact along some of these continental margins, not a single major fault occurs. The sediments simply thin out into the ocean. This makes these basins poor targets for oil exploration but very good regions from which to disprove the concept that the continents sank and rose during the Flood.


The fossils are too well sorted. I am indebted to R.S. Beal Jr. for reminding me of this. Conodonts are microscopic fossils which are the ‘teeth’ of an ancient animal. The shape of these conodonts change with each succeeding geologic level are unique. In the Grand Canyon, in the Redwall limestone, is divided vertically into the Whitmore Wash, Thunder Springs, Mooney Falls and Horseshoe Mesa members. In each of these layers a peculiar shaped and unique conodont is found. A conodont named Gnathodes typicus is found in the Whitmore Wash member and not in the other layers. Scoliognathus anchoralis and Dolignathus latus are unique to the Thunder Springs member. Gnathodus texanus is found in the Mooney Falls member only and the conodont Taphrognathus variarus is limited to the Horseshoe Mesa member.

Conodont are extremely small and microscopes must be used to examine them. How in the world could a global flood so perfectly sort these tiny particles into layers that only contain conodonts of certain shapes? The turbulence of the flood was supposed to be so great and yet world-wide, microscopic animals are sorted vertically through the various layers of the geologic column.

In the Gulf of Mexico, when we drill wells, we always find the same vertical order of microscopic planktonic foraminifera, nannoplankton, and benthic foraminifera. I know that a peculiar shape of planktonic foram, Glob Menardi changed its coiling direction at the same geologic horizon as the last occurrence of D. brouweri ‘A’, and the benthic foram, Cristellaria S. I know that microscopic benthonic Trimosina A is found above this level and the microscopic calcarious nannoplankton Discoaster A is below this level. Each of these fossil forms have a unique shape and are easily distinguishable. How could the flood so perfectly sort these small uniquely shaped creatures into vertical layers?

Other fossils are equally well sorted but not on the characteristics that global Flood advocates suggest. I use some rather old books for this, because it illustrates how long ago this information was known. This is important because as long as this has been known, Christian apologists never talk about ammonites in their books on the Flood.

Ammonites were a nautiloid-like animal that lived in the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic seas as the animal grew, it excreted a shell wall behind the animal but inside the shell which was attached to the outer shell. The junction of this interior partition with the external shell left a suture pattern on the exterior of the shell. This suture pattern was constant for each species and was constant for each individual throughout its life. A small individual had the same sutures as a large individuals of the same species. This is important because global flood advocates believe that the fossils are sorted according to the laws of hydrodynamical sorting. These laws, Stoke's Law and variations of it, would predict that the ammonites would be sorted by size, with the biggest ones on bottom and the smallest ones on top. (See Potter et al, p. 9).

Henry Morris, an expert on hydrodynamics (1967, p. 40) wrote:

“The hydrodynamic sorting action of moving water is quite efficient, so that each stratum would tend to contain an assemblage of fossils of similar shapes and sizes.”

Now, what do we find? We find that the ammonites are not sorted by size in the geologic column, but are sorted by suture shape!

The same sized organism with different suture shapes are found at different stratigraphic levels. In the Jurassic ammonite zones are defined nearly world wide based upon the different sutures of the animals.

Raymond Moore (1933, p. 483-484) writes

“The sutures (junction of the shell partitions with the inner wall of the shell) are only moderately curved or angulated in the simplest amminoids. This type was characteristic of the later Paleozoic rocks but some of the amminoids of the Triassic are little, if any, more advanced. An increased number of bends and angles in the suture line, accompanied by a progressive complication in pattern, marks the development of most of the Mesozoic ammonoids. In many cases the suture pattern is so intricate that it is indeed difficult to trace. The diversity is amazing, but each type of suture is constant according to genus and species. Because even slight changes in the sutures are readily determinable and with other characters permit definite recognition of specific differences, these shells are well fitted to serve as markers of stratigraphic zones and of geologic time.”

W. J. Arkell (1956, p. 8) writes of the vertical consistency of certain species of ammonites over the entire world. Evolutionists say that these ammonites lived in the seas world wide.

“From the Hettangian up to the Middle Kimeridgian these stages can be recognized all over the world, but after that the scheme breaks down owing to regional differentiation of faunas.”

Below is the vertical sequence of Jurassic ammonites which was first defined in NW Europe but works over vast areas. Remember each species represents a separate suture pattern. The question is: Why would the flood perfectly sort ammonites according to their suture patterns-ammonites which otherwise are indistinguishable except for the markings on the shell?

Standard Stages and Ammonite zones of the Jurassic of NW Europe.(Arkell 1956, p. 10-11)

Top of Sequence

Upper Jurassic

Portlandian Stage
Titanites giganteus
Glaucolithites gorei
Zaraiskites albani
Kimeridgian Stage
Pavolvia pallasioides
Pavolvia rotunda
Pectinatites pectinatus
Subplanites wheatleyensis
Subplanites spp.
Gravesia gigas
Gravesia gravesiana
Aulacostephanus pseudomutabilis
Rasenia mutabilis
Rasenia cymodoce
Pictonia baylei
Oxfordian Stage
Ringsteadia pseudocordata
Decipia decipiens
Perisphinctes cautisnigrae
Perisphinctes plicatilis
Cardioceras cordatum
Quenstedtoceras mariae
Middle Jurassic
Callovian Stage
Quenstedtoceras lamberti
Peltoceras athleta
Erymnoceras coronatum
Kosmoceras jason
Sigaloceras calloviense
Proplanulites koenigi
Macrocephalites macrocephalus
Bathonian Stage
Clydoniceras discus
Oppelia aspidoides
Tulites subcontractus
Gracilisphinctes progracilis
Zigzagiceras zigzag
Bajocian Stage
Parkinsonia parkinsoni
Garantiana garantiana
Strenoceras subfurcatum
Stephanoceras humphriesianum
Otoites sauzei
Sonninia sowerbyi
Ludwigia murchisonae
Tmetoceras scissum
Leioceras opalinum
Lower Jurassic
Toarcian Stage
Lytoceras jurense
Hildoceras bifrons
Harpoceras falcifer
Dactylioceras tenuicostatum
Pliensbachian Stage
Pleuroceras spinatum
Amaltheus margaritatus
Prodactylioceras davoei
Tragophylloceras ibex
Uptonia jamesoni
Sinemurian Stage
Echioceras raricostatum
Oxynoticeras oxynotum
Asteroceras obtusum
Euasteroceras turneri
Arnioceras semicostatum
Arietites bucklanidi
Hettangian Stage
Schlotheimia angulata
Psiloceras planorbis
Bottom of Jurassic

The point of this is that the upper layers of a geologic column must have been deposited AFTER the lower layer. This is because sedimentation occurs from above only and covers whatever is below it.

Do an experiment Dump sand containing yellow metal cubes into a tub. It will settle out and you will have a layer of sand on the bottom with yellow cubes. Now dump more sand into the tub only this time let the sand contain blue cubes of the same size. Do this over and over again with green, purple, white,and red cubes respectively in the sand. You will now have a vertical layer looking like,


  • sand-red cubes
  • sand-white cubes
  • sand-purple cubes
  • sand-green cubes
  • sand-blue cubes
  • sand-yellow cubes


What you have is a geologic column built up over a period of time with different cubes in the the sand each time it was deposited. Now, the young earth creationists say that the geologic column was deposited all at one time; in on great catastrophe. So, now take all the sand and all the cubes, mix them thoroughly and dump them into the tub all at once. You will not find the above order at all. You will find red,white purple, green, blue and yellow cubes at all levels and lying next to other cubes of all other colors. That disorder would be an indication of rapid deposition.

In the geologic column with the ammonites and conodonts, we find them sorted according to ‘colors’ not mixed up. One is correct to say that the flood could not sort everything perfectly, yet if the geologic column was built up by a 1 year flood, that is exactly what you must say happened. Ammonites were deposited in a strict order based upon suture shape. Since the suture shape could not have made that much difference in the sorting process, the only conclusion is that the ammonites were not deposited in one big catastrophe.

The only reasonable explanation is that the layers were laid down over a very, very long time period and the ammonites which lived in one time period died out before the next and were replaced.


The rates of deposition are too great to have allowed any animal life to have survived to leave traces of itself high in the geologic column. Below Austin, Texas lies approximately 15,000 feet of sedimentary rock which contains fossils of all sorts. On the surface all around Austin are dinosaur tracks.

Several years ago, I took an AAPG field trip to examine the carbonate rocks in South Texas. Some of the dinosaur tracks were seen at the Leander Section just north and west of Austin. (Moore and Bebout, p.33)

15,000 feet of sediment, which is deposited in 365 days, is being deposited at the rate of 41 feet of sediment per day or 1.7 feet per hour. At these rates, a dinosaur must fight the deep and raging waters of the flood for an entire year, never sleeping or getting sick (or he would be buried after merely 12 hours). During this year of fighting to stay on top of the sediments, he must be able to find food and fresh water throughout the year. Only after doing all of this, the dinosaur lives through the flood so he can leave his footprints along the San Gabriel River.

But dinosaurs are not the only ones who must perform this amazing feet. In the rocks around Austin one can find huge and small snails, and some type of bivalve-big and small- (I am not an expert in their names, although I believe they are called Turritella for the snails and pectins are abundant. Since bivalves normally open up upon their death, we can surmise that these were alive when they were buried and fossilized. But since they were found on top of the sedimentary column, these snails must have performed supergastropodian feats of movement in order to avoid being buried. This is not likely. It is far more believable that these animals lived where they grew and that the dinosaurs were walking on a mudflat, stepping on the bivalves and snails.


Astronomical cycles seen in the sediments. Various cyclicities have been observed in the thicknesses of laminae of various sedimentary sections throughout the world. Variations in laminae thickness have been observed over periods of 11 years solar cycle) 20,000 years precessional cycle, 100,000 year cycle of the earth's orbital eccentricity. These cyclicities are seen in rocks like the Eocene Green River formation of Wyoming, the Devonian Catskill Delta, a Triassic Hungarian carbonate platform, The Newark basin of New Jersey.( See Fisher and Roberts 1991, p. 1147; Fischer and Lee, 1993, p. a112; Balog et al, 1995;)

Why should these cyclicities be seen in rocks deposited during a single year? Why do the cyclicities correspond to the earth's orbital elements?


Why are mudcracks found in the geologic column since the flood was an aqueous event?

This is a vertical sequence from California. Old Highway section Ridge Basin Group 80 m thick


  • Mollusks
  • mudcracks ripplemarks
  • gypsum
  • sandstone (cross-bedded)
  • [snipped section]
  • Mudcracks
  • burrows
  • crossbedded sandstone
  • plants and vertebrate remains
  • ripple marks
  • mollusks


Martin H. Link and Robert H. Osborne “Lacustrine facies in the Pliocene Ridge Basin Groups: Ridge Basin, California” in Modern and Ancient Lake Sediments ed. by Albert Matter and Maurice E. Tucker London: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1978 p. 179.

Another vertical section

Pyramid dam section 90 m thick


  • mudcracks
  • mudcracks
  • mudcracks
  • crossbeds
  • 2 erosional surfaces
  • ripplemarks
  • gravel
  • 2 burrow layers
  • plant remains 2 erosional surfaces
  • 2 layers with burrows
  • slump folds
  • burrows
  • ripple marks
  • crossbedded sandstone
  • burrows
  • sandstone
  • burrows
  • slumpfolds~

Martin H. Link and Robert H. Osborne “Lacustrine facies in the Pliocene Ridge Basin Groups: Ridge Basin, California” in Modern and Ancient Lake Sediments ed. by Albert Matter and Maurice E. Tucker London: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1978 p. 179.

Another vertical section

  • frenchman flat sections
  • mudcracks at bottom
  • then pebbly sandstone
  • then burrows in shale then sandstone (pebbly)
  • then dark grey sandstone (crossbedded)
  • then redbrown breccias and conglomerate
  • then burrows
  • then stromatolites
  • then red mudstone with mudcracks
  • then plant remains ~

top of section

Martin H. Link and Robert H. Osborne “Lacustrine facies in the Pliocene Ridge Basin Groups: Ridge Basin, California” in Modern and Ancient Lake Sediments ed. by Albert Matter and Maurice E. Tucker London: Blackwell Scientific Publications 1978 p. 178.


Absolutely NO living species of terrestrial animal can be found in Mesozoic and Paleozoic rocks. Life HAS changed. If the animals found in the fossil record represent the remains of animals which lived prior to the Flood, and if the animals alive today are the descendants of animals which got off the ark, then why are there no living forms in the flood sediments? Why are there no whales or dolphins found in Mesozoic and Paleozoic rocks?


The Bible does not require a global flood, and the evidence goes against that view. Local flood theories are Biblically acceptable and observationally required.


  • Arkell, W. J., 1956, “Jurassic Geology of the World,” (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd).
  • Beal, Jr., R. S. 1997. Neither/Nor: An Evangelical Assessment of the Evolution/Creation Controversy, Prescott: unpublished manuscript, p. 70.
  • Balog, A., J. F. Read, and J. Haas, 1995. “Late Triassic Milankovitch Cycle Record of a Hungarian Marine Carbonate Platform Compared with Record from Italian Alps and United States Rift Basins,” AAPG-SEPM-EMD-DPA-DEG Conv Pap. Abstracts, 1995, p. 6A in Petroleum Abstracts, April, 22, 1995, p. 1313, Abstract # 596, 165.
  • Custance, Arthur C.,1958. “The Extent of the Flood,” Doorway Papers, 41, (Ottawa: Privately Published)
  • Fischer, Alfred G., and Lillian T. Roberts, 1991. “Cyclicity in the Green River Formation (Lacustrine Eocene) of Wyoming,” Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 61:7, December 1991.,
  • Fischer,Alfred G. and Calvin Lee, 1993. “Milankovitch Signature in the Catskill Delta,” Annual GSA Meeting, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 25, No. 6, 1993,page A-112
  • Moore, Clyde H. and Don G. Bebout, undated. “Lower Cretaceous of Central Texas,” AAPG Field Seminar-Ancient Carbonates.
  • Moore, Raymond, 1933. “Historical Geology,” (New York: McGraw-Hill)
  • Henry M. Morris, 1967, “Evolution and the Modern Christian,” (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed).
  • Morton, Glenn R. 1980, “Prolegamena to the Study of the Sediments”, Creation Research Society Quarterly, 17:3:162-167
  • Potter, Paul E., J. Barry Maynard, and Wayne A. Prior, 1980, “Sedimentology of Shale Springer-Verlag”.

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