Maverick Surf Competition wave and man, photo credit: Shalom Jacobovitz

Do We Have Enough Water to Flood the Whole Earth?

A guest post by John Hudson Tiner, who has written a number of books published by Master Books (I particularly enjoyed his book on Physics–I’m not scared of it any more!). First published August, 2013.

Maverick Surf Competition wave and man, photo credit: Shalom Jacobovitz

Bible doubters like to point out how crazy it is to imagine all earth’s mountains covered with water, but all geologists believe they were. The difference is whether we believe it all happened at once or over “millions of years”.
Another piece of the puzzle is if earth has enough water to cover the whole world at the same time or not. Solving this uses a lot of math, which I’m not too excited about, so all I’d ever seen were the conclusions Creationists had come up with.
Enter our guest writer. Saturday, I spotted this little gem of mathematics he’d posted and loved how factual and “simple” it made the whole problem. Since he was taking questions on a live expert forum, I could ask him if it was OK for me to share with you all. Mr. Tiner kindly granted my request.
So, here’s what he has to say about the amount of water on earth [for metric users: 8,000 feet equals 2438.4 meters]:

. . . Now to the depth of the water during the flood. Dr. Morris says that it has been calculated that on a smooth spherical earth the water would cover the earth to a depth of 8,000 feet.
That is easy enough to check (provided I remember to use radius of earth rather than diameter!)

  • Radius of earth in miles: 3,963 miles
  • Thickness of 8,000 feet of water in miles: 8,000 ft/5280 ft/mi = 1.5 miles
  • Volume in cu mi of a smooth, spherical earth with a 1.5 mile thick layer of water:
    (4/3)pi*r^3 = (4/3)pi(3,963 + 1.5)^3 = 261,008,000,000 (rounded to nearest million)

Volume in cu mi of a smooth, spherical earth without the layer of water:
(4/3)pi*r^3 = (4/3)pi(3,963)^3 = 260,711,000,000 (rounded to nearest million)

The difference (261,008,000,000 – 260,711,000,000 ) is the amount of water to make:

A layer of water 1.5 miles thick: about 296 million cubic miles of water.

This site, The USGS Water Science School, How Much Water is there on, in, and above the Earth? shows the total amount of water to be 338 million cu mi. That figure agrees with one I read in an old-fashioned world almanac about 30 years ago.

Stratocumulus Clouds as seen from the ISS, photo credit: NASA

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. Psalm 29:1-3,10

Folded Rock Layers-Zion Nation Park, Wikimedia NOAA-Ocean-Waves Folded Rock Layers-Zion Nation Park, Wikimedia open Bible

Science in the Bible: Floodwaters “Going and Coming”

icr-home2

One of the most exciting things about the modern Creation Science movement is how each group fills a need and appreciates the others, recognizing them as other members of God’s ministry. The Institute for Creation Research is one of the big players in this movement and without their science, we would have a much harder time exposing reality.

Although all science will support the Creator, there are some areas where Evolutionary thinking will never do the work needed to seek out the truth. The last thing radiometric dating worshipers would want to know is how many millions of years old newly laid lava dates to. Many areas like this would be very difficult for us without scientists who believe the Bible doing the work themselves.

This is something ICR is on the cutting edge of and I am very grateful!

Another area where ICR is top notch is deep Bible study. Since my teen years I’ve been bugged by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApreachers who say, “I’ve barely scratched the surface” of the Word and just go on to the next topic/passage. I don’t want to just “scratch the surface”, I want to mine the depths of God’s treasures! When I read ICR’s Days of Praise, I find men who are willing to get down and dirty with the Scriptures. I’ve even written to tell them how much I appreciate this during times when it isn’t possible for me to do it for myself (if you write a nice note, they’ll probably publish it, too).

Today I want to talk about my favorite example of this kind of study. The Hebrew words in Genesis 8:3 hold a wealth of meaning that would be impossible for a normal translation to even touch on. Then, when a geologist gets ahold of the original text, all kinds of realities come into focus.

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. Genesis 8:3

Hebrew Torah Scroll

Straight forward enough isn’t it? If you look at a bunch of translations, you aren’t likely to find out anything more than in the KJV. But, that’s before you break into the Hebrew!

I’d really like you all to check out the article on this over at ICR, so the rest of the post will just cover the basics for the under 12 year old crowd.

  • The word they interpreted as “continually” is really two words in Hebrew.
  • These two words mean: “to go” and “to come” plus that they kept doing it (which is why we translate it “continually”)
  • So, a more precise translation of the verse would be “the waters returned from off the earth going and coming.”

What great science can we dig out of these two words? Geologists talk about things called a “megasequence”,  “cratonic sequence”, or even just a  “sequence.” These are enormous layers of sedimentary rocks laid down one on top of another. In all, geologists recognize 6 great “sequences.” Although there are some sedimentary rocks underneath, most of them begin with the “Middle-Cambrian” layers, which we put well into the Flood Year.

These sequences are so big they cross whole continents. Not only are they well known and studied in North America, but these same layers are recognizable in Brazil, Russia, and Africa!  Of all things, you can find sequences that look “strikingly similar” across “all southern continents and also in India”.

Sounds to me like something was moving huge amounts of sediment around the world, dropping its load and then picking up more to dump in one layer after another. Maybe, instead of having to see this as an incredibly slow process, we could speed up the tape with a World Wide Flood?

Oh, but then the Bible might be telling the truth!

Something else I don’t have space for is the “going” part of this process. Geologists call it “regression” and, guess what? We are living in one: “the present has one of the lowest sea levels of Earth History.” Are you surprised?

 

And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. Genesis 9:11

Cool Facts from Lake Vostok

Location of Lake Vostok in East Antarctica

Location of Lake Vostok in East Antarctica

(I fired off an e-mail to Ask-a-Scientist about the formula they use to decide how old really-squashed, deep ice “should” be, but they didn’t know either. In fact, the only website they found talking about it was mine! I think there are very few people who are aware of how they came up with the formula and they like it that way.)

So, that’s still a mystery…

Next, I wanted to know why there was such a giant lake under Antarctica.  Turns out this was the right time to go searching!

Lake Vostok is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.  It is about the size of Lake Ontario and can be as deep as 3,000ft [914m]. Although Lake Vostok is the largest and best known of Antarctica’s lakes, it has a lot of company.  We’ve found at least 144 other lakes under the ice cap down there!

English: RADARSAT image of Lake Vostok, Antartica.

RADARSAT image of Lake Vostok, Antartica

People are desperately hoping to find tiny lifeforms living deep in the darkness of the lake’s waters. Russia has been drilling down toward the water for some time. Last February (end of Summer), they got down to the liquid water level and then pulled the drill back so water would wash up and keep the lake (if that’s what they really hit) clean.

Now they’ve gone back and drilled out some of the refrozen water to study it for life. A report come out yesterday saying there might have been one tiny bacteria thingy, but probably just microbes that we know live in the ice layers above the lake.  So, no biggy there.

What they’re really hoping to find is life forms that could survive on other planets.  But, even if they do find some amazing little guys who can survive in a deep Earth-lake, that doesn’t come close to proving aliens!

[edit: They have found microbes down there, but many think they’re contaminants. How can they be sure? Does it even matter?]

Vostok Station

Vostok Station

Something fascinating about Lake Vostok is that the surface of the ice above it (where the poor scientists are stuck) is up at 3.5 km [11,484ft) above sea level.  Vostok Station is where they’ve recorded the coldest temperature ever on earth (-128.6F [-89.2 C]).

Anyway, what I wanted to know is, how did we get so much liquid water under all that ice?  I’ve found a couple of interesting things:

  • Water doesn’t freeze quite as well under enormous pressure.  National Geographic says the temp can drop to 30F [-1C] before crystals take over.  That sure isn’t enough!
  • The ice sheet isn’t as cold as the air above.  The coldest it gets near the middle is only about -32C instead of the -50C average at the top.  But down deeper it gets warmer because…
  • The bottom is warmed by the earth itself.  Now we’re getting somewhere! The lake bed is down at 700m [2,290ft] below sea level.  That’s as low as the bottom of the Salt Sea in Israel.

To learn more about Lake Vostok check out this flash animation from the Earth Institute of Columbia University (after you read my posts on how they get the 400,000 years idea).  One of the interesting things this animation presents is that they believe the ice cap over Antarctica is all moving.  That is why they think the ice dates back 400,000 years but believe Lake Vostok hasn’t been contaminated in 15+ million years.

The lake is continually losing water as ice just above it.  We know this because the ice right over the lake seems to be made of lake water rather than “annual layers”.  But the longest they figure it takes for the lake water to completely exchange is only 13,000 years.  This means that for scientists “the sources of replacement water remain a mystery.”

BTW back in 1996 they claimed the water had been there a million years.  Times change!

I don’t know how all these things actually work out, but if you thought scientists had all the answers, you’ve got another think coming.  Maybe you can be one of those brave souls down there in a few more years!

God said,

Ice Bridge Antarctic Sea Ice (200910270016HQ)

Ice Bridge Antarctic Sea Ice NASA

“Does ice have a mother?
    Who gives birth to the frost?

That’s when the water freezes as hard as a rock.
    Even the deep sea freezes over!” Job 38:29,30 Easy-to-read Version

open Bible

Science in the Bible: Light Moves, Darkness Doesn’t

Where is the way where light dwells? and as for darkness, where is its place?  Job 38:19

Lasers

 

I checked out what the Easy-to-read Version had for this verse.  It just said, “where does light come from, where does darkness come from?”  Is that accurate to what the Hebrew says?

This verse is recording some of the words of God Himself just after He started answering Job.  Let’s see if He knew what He was talking about!

The word “way” for light is often used to mean “road” or “journey.”  It is also often used to mean ‘life style’ like “the way” of the righteous.  It is an active word.

So, is light active?  Does it have a “way” or “road”?  Sure it does!

English: High Speed - Lights

 

Everyone knows that light is the fastest moving thing there is.  We see the lightening a number of seconds before the sound gets to us in distant strikes because sound only travels 1220 km/[760 miles] per hour at sea level.  Light travels (check out the cool picture on that link) in a vacuum at 299,792.5km [186282.4 miles] per second (ps).  There are 3,600 seconds in an hour, so light has gone over a billion kilometers by the time sound has gone 1,220 kilometers.  That’s fast!

In air, light slows down a whole whopping 90km [56mi] ps.  Through water it slows down a lot more to 225,000km [139,808mi] ps.  And through a diamond?  It creeps along at only 125,000km [77,671mi] ps!

So, we know that light is on a really fast journey all the time.  What is the “way” it is on?

Light-wave (LT)

Light usually acts as a wave.  The illustration on the “Light travels” link shows this nicely.  It can be slowed down, squashing the waves closer together. It also travels in a straight line unless it passes through something.  This is what causes shadows.  The light can’t get through you (or other opaque things), so it leaves a void behind you.

Light can be bent by transparent things, though, like glass or water.  You’ve seen this with your straw in a glass of water.  The straw looks much bigger and appears to come out at a different spot through the water.  This is called refraction.  It is interesting enough to keep you from focusing on your grumbly tummy at a restaurant, but doesn’t change anything.  But for a spear fisher (or fishing bird), understanding the refraction power of water is very important!

Underwater Rainbow.

Underwater Rainbow

Rainbows work by bending light as well.  God designed the different wavelengths (colors) of light to bend more or less.  When white light passes through a prism, the purple gets bent the most and red the least.  This allows the light to spread apart so we see each color on its own.  I think that was very sweet of God, myself. 🙂

As for darkness, does it move?  Is is a substance we can study?  Much as scientists today talk about “dark matter,” they use that name because they can’t study it, just make guesses about its existence.  Darkness does indeed have a “place.”  It is everywhere that light isn’t!

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.  Genesis 1:4,5

Cool online activities using light:  The Science of Light: Laws of Light activities