Most commentators seem to conflate the dictionary definitions of the word deluge so they can concentrate upon floods and inundations.
A flood myth or deluge myth is a narrative in which a great flood, usually sent by a deity or deities, destroys civilization, often in an act of divine retribution.
Simple Definition of deluge
: a large amount of rain that suddenly falls in an area
: a situation in which a large area of land becomes completely covered with water
: a large amount of things that come at the same time
This modern tendency to conflate the deluge definitions underlines a basic issue academics [and other story tellers] generally prefer to avoid: Where did the water come from?.
Ancient narrators were not reticent to describe water appearing from above and below.
The Priestly source, Genesis 7:11;8:1-2, describes the nature of the flood waters as a cosmic cataclysm, by the opening of the springs of the deep and the floodgates, or windows, of heaven.
But since those ancient times narrators have experienced difficulties finding any precipitation reports that are on a truly epic scale i.e. a deluge.
Again, on the 28th of October 1746, Callao was overwhelmed by another earthquake and another sea-wave.
At Callao, where the number of inhabitants amounted to about 4000, two hundred only escaped ; and twenty-two of these by means of the above-mentioned fragment of a wall.
“According to an account sent to Lima after this accident, a volcano in Lucanas burst forth the same night and ejected such quantities of water, that the whole country was overflowed ; and in the mountain near Patas, called Conversiones de Caxamarquilla, three other volcanoes burst, discharging frightful torrents of water.”
Voyage to South America – Ulloa [translated by John Adams] – 1807
From the last part of the foregoing account it appears that a flood of water may be caused by the eruption of a volcano alone.
Professor Suess points that in the Hebrew narrative one cause alleged for the deluge is the breaking out of subterranean waters.
“This rising of great quantities of water from the deep,” he says, is a phenomenon which is a characteristic accompaniment of earthquakes in the alluvial districts of great rivers.
The subterranean water is contained in the recent deposits of the great plains on both sides of the stream, and its upper limit rises to right and left above the mean level of the river, its elevation increasing in proportion to the distance from the river.
What lies beneath this limit is saturated and mobile ; the ground above it is dry and friable.
When seismic oscillations occur in a district of this kind the brittle upper layer of the ground splits open in long clefts, and from these fissures the underground water, either clear or as a muddy mass, is violently ejected, sometimes in great volumes, sometimes in isolated jets several yards high.”
For example, instances the young alluvial land about the Danube in Wallachia was rent by an earthquake in 1838, and from the fissures water spouted out in many places fathoms high.
The same thing happened when the alluvial plain of the Mississippi, a little during below the confluence of the Ohio, was convulsed by an earthquakes in January 1812 : the water that had filled the subterranean cavities forced a passage for itself and blew up the earth with loud explosions, throwing up an enormous quantity of carbonized wood in jets from ten to fifteen feet high, while at the same time the surface of the ground sank, and a black liquid rose as high as a horse’s belly.
Folk-Lore in the Old Testament; Studies in Comparative Religion, Legend and Law
Sir James George Frazer – 1918
On this day in 1812, the most violent of a series of earthquakes near Missouri causes a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, actually making the river run backward for several hours.
The earthquake also caused fissures–some as much as several hundred feet long–to open on the earth’s surface. Large trees were snapped in two.
Sulfur leaked out from underground pockets and river banks vanished, flooding thousands of acres of forests.
1812 Earthquake Causes Fluvial Tsunami In Mississippi
Modern narrators tell of horrific hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis and monsoons but reports of “a torrential downpour that lasts 40 days” are thin on the ground.
The Jahwist version of how the flood waters came to be is indicated in Genesis 7:12, where it develops by way of a torrential downpour that lasts 40 days, then recedes in seven day periods.
The Great Flood of 1862 was caused by “nearly 40 days” of precipitation but the flooding [although severe] wasn’t on a truly biblical scale.
The Great Flood of 1862 was the largest flood in the recorded history of Oregon, Nevada, and California, occurring from December 1861 to January 1862.
Heavy rainfall began falling in California as the longwave trough moved down over the state, remaining there until the end of January 1862 and causing precipitation everywhere in the state for nearly 40 days.
The dearth of deluges is a real problem for the Etch A Sketch Skool of Geology because they require precipitation deluges to support their Ice Age plus Pluvial Lakes narrative that lasts for thousands of years.
During the most recent North American glaciation, during the latter part of the Wisconsin Stage (26,000 to 13,300 years ago), ice sheets extended to about 45 degrees north latitude.
These sheets were 3 to 4 km thick.
A pluvial lake is a landlocked basin (endorheic basin) which fills with rainwater during times of glaciation, when precipitation is higher.
Pluvial lakes that have since evaporated and dried out may also be referred to as paleolakes.
The general dearth of deluges means Earth Scientists have resorted to inventing a “hypothetical” demi-deluge that is similar to the Great Flood of 1862.
An ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1000 Storm) is a hypothetical but scientifically realistic “megastorm” scenario developed and published by the United States Geological Survey, Multi Hazards Demonstration Project (MHDP).
The event would be similar to exceptionally intense California storms which occurred between December 1861 and January 1862.
The Central Valley experiences hypothetical flooding 300 miles long and 20 or more miles wide.
Serious flooding also occurs in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay area, and other coastal communities.
Windspeeds in some places reach 125 miles per hour, hurricane-force winds.
Across wider areas of the state, winds reach 60 miles per hour.
But even occasional [hypothetical] demi-deluges are insufficient for the Ice Age plus Pluvial Lakes narrative that lasts for thousands of years.
Lake Lahontan was a large endorheic Pleistocene lake of modern northwestern Nevada that extended into northeastern California and southern Oregon.
At its peak approximately 12,700 years ago (during a period known as the Sehoo Highstand), the lake had a surface area of over 8,500 square miles (22,000 km2), with its largest component centered at the location of the present Carson Sink.
The depth of the lake was about 900 feet (270 m) at present day Pyramid Lake, and 500 feet (150 m) at the Black Rock Desert. Lake Lahontan, during this most recent glacial period, would have been one of the largest lakes in North America.
Archaeological evidence along the shore indicates the existence of the lake coincided roughly with the first appearance of humans in the region.
The only serious attempt [I’ve encountered] to explain the required Ice Age precipitation is the super storms hypothesis by David Thomson.
The Terracycles evidence of super storms is convincing with just 5 basic observations.
1. In order for the Earth to rapidly cool, heat must be removed from the Earth at a rapid rate.
2. The ice sheets only occurred on half of Earth’s northern hemisphere
3. Glacial sketches made by scientists show ice sheets spread from centralized locations.
4.The Atlantic Conveyor extended all the way to the Labrador and Norwegian Seas during the time of abrupt climate change.
5. The Greenland Ice Cores show a brief period of exceedingly high winds.
TerraCyles.com – Super Storms – David Thomson
The down side of the super storms hypothesis [based upon an “Atlantic Conveyor”] is that is doesn’t provide the necessary precipitation for the Pluvial Lakes and it doesn’t provide a solution for the Biblical opening of the “springs of the deep” and “windows, of heaven”.
For the Biblical “springs of the deep” and “windows, of heaven” the Etch A Sketch Skool of Geology needs something like catastrophic sea floor spreading which invokes earthquakes [including upheavals and subsidence] and vast volumes of water [from the inland seas and lakes] encountering vast volcanic eruptions [in the oceanic basins and rifting seascapes].
There are plenty of catastrophic candidates for the Biblical deluge such as the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea.
The Black Sea is a sea between Southeastern Europe and Western Asia.
The geological origins of the basin can be traced back to two distinct relict back-arc basins which were initiated by the splitting of an Albian volcanic arc and the subduction of both the Paleo- and Neo-Tethys Oceans, but the timings of these events remain controversial.
The Red Sea was formed by the Arabian peninsula being split from the Horn of Africa by movement of the Red Sea Rift.
This split started in the Eocene and accelerated during the Oligocene.
Sometimes during the Tertiary period, the Bab el Mandeb closed and the Red Sea evaporated to an empty hot dry salt-floored sink.
A number of volcanic islands rise from the center of the sea. Most are dormant.
The geologic history of the Mediterranean Sea is complex. Underlain by oceanic crust, the sea basin was once thought to be a tectonic remnant of the ancient Tethys Ocean; it is now known to be a structurally younger basin, called the Neotethys, which was first formed by the convergence of the African and Eurasian plates during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic.
Scientists estimate that the sea was last filled about 5.3 million years ago (mya) in less than two years by the Zanclean flood. Water poured in from the Atlantic Ocean through a newly breached gateway now called the Strait of Gibraltar at an estimated rate of about three orders of magnitude (one thousand times) larger than the current daily flow of the Amazon River.
The region has a variety of geological hazards which have closely interacted with human activity and land use patterns. Among others, in the eastern Mediterranean, the Thera eruption, dated to the 17th or 16th century BC, caused a large tsunami that some experts hypothesise devastated the Minoan civilisation on the nearby island of Crete, further leading some to believe that this may have been the catastrophe that inspired the Atlantis legend.
Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the European mainland, while others as Mount Etna and Stromboli are to be found on neighbouring islands. The region around Vesuvius including the Phlegraean Fields Caldera west of Naples are quite active and constitute the most densely populated volcanic region in the world and eruptive event may occure within decades
However, these catastrophic candidates are discounted by academia because of the Geologic Time-line mandated by the Etch A Sketch Skool of Geology.
Therefore, the independent observer is left to decide whether:
a) The ancient human historic record [which has been incorporated into various religious belief systems] is bogus
b) The Geologic Time-line [which was invented by the Gradualist belief system] is bogus.
My personal choice is to discount the fundamentalist Geologic Time-line.
Liberating yourself from the academic straitjacket of the Geologic Time-line presents many opportunities to explain the inexplicable.
The Neolithic Subpluvial when wet and rainy weather transformed the Sahara desert for about about 4,000 years.
The Neolithic Subpluvial, or the Holocene Wet Phase, was an extended period (from about 7500–7000 BCE to about 3500–3000 BCE) of wet and rainy conditions in the climate history of northern Africa.
It was both preceded and followed by much drier periods.
The Neolithic Subpluvial was the most recent of a number of periods of “Wet Sahara” or “Green Sahara”, during which the Sahara region was much more moist and supported a richer biota and human population than the present-day desert.
The Neolithic Subpluvial began during the 7th millennium BCE and was strong for about 2,000 years; it waned over time and ended after the 5.9 kiloyear event (3900 BCE).
Then the drier conditions that prevailed prior to the Neolithic Subpluvial returned; desertification advanced, and the Sahara Desert formed (or re-formed). Arid conditions have continued through to the present day.
During the Neolithic Subpluvial, large areas of North, Central, and East Africa had hydrographic profiles significantly different from later norms.
Existing lakes had surfaces tens of meters higher than today, sometimes with alternative drainages: Lake Turkana, in present-day Kenya, drained into the Nile River basin.
Lake Chad reached a maximum extent of some 400,000 square kilometers in surface area, larger than the modern Caspian Sea, with a surface level about 30 meters (100 feet) higher than its twentieth-century average.
Some shallower lakes and river systems existed in the subpluvial era that later disappeared entirely, and are detectable today only via radar and satellite imagery.
Lake Yoa is the most famous, and second largest of the Lakes of Ounianga, a series of Lakes in Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region basin of northeastern Chad.
It is located in the Ounianga Kebir about 40 km west of Ounianga Sarir.
These lakes are remnants of a much larger lake which occupied this basin during the African Humid period which lasted from approximately 15,000 to 5,500 years before present.
There are currently 15 lakes in the basin with a total surface area of approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) square.
Lake Yoa recently became of interest in the study of global climate trends when a team headed by Stefan Kröpelin, of the University of Cologne, recovered a core of sediment from the bottom of the lake.
Because Lake Yoa has been in existence continuously since the Humid Period its waters have protected the sediments accumulated at the bottom from erosion and dispersal.
After analysis of the pollen preserved in the core, Kröpelin and his colleagues concluded that the shift from forest to desert in the area of Lake Yoa occurred gradually, with intervening periods of scrubland and grassland before the onset of full desert conditions.
The Neolithic Subpluvial is based primarily upon the dedicated work of Stefan Kröpelin.
Stefan Kröpelin is a geologist and climate researcher at the University of Cologne who specializes in studying the eastern Sahara desert and its climatic history.
The journal Nature described Kröpelin as “one of the most devoted Sahara explorers of our time.”
According to Siddiq Abd Algadir, president of the Sudanese Geologists’ Union in Khartoum and a fellow student with Kröpelin in the 1980s, “Much of what we now know about the geology, the environments and even the people in some of the most remote parts of the Sahara, we really owe to [Stefan Kröpelin] and the expeditions he has led.”
Contrary to other evidence that the Sahara suddenly changed from a wet to dry climate 5,000 years ago, Kröpelin’s core samples at Lake Yoa suggests the transition took longer, some 3,000 years from 5,600 to 2,700 BC.
Kröpelin was instrumental in fighting to have the Lakes of Ounianga in Chad listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
He is actively lobbying to have the Ennedi Plateau added as well.
Kröpelin first set up camp there more than 14 years ago.
His goal was to recover sediments from the floor of the largest of the lakes, Lac Yoa, deposits that have formed in the lake’s roughly 11,000-year history.
These sediments are a unique archive of the history of the earth.
They contain evidence of what is probably the most impressive and dramatic change in the climate occurring on the planet since the end of the last ice age.
The mud on the lake floor tells the story of the greening of the biggest desert on earth, which then dried up a few millennia later.
Miracle in the Sahara: Oasis Sediments Archive Dramatic History – Johann Grolle
During the wet millennia of the Humid Period, water accumulated in what is now the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, which underlies much of the eastern Sahara.
This is the world’s largest fossil-water aquifer, and it spreads roughly two million square kilometers (772,000 sq mi) beneath Chad, Sudan, Egypt and Libya to a maximum depth of 4000 meters (12,800′).
The Lakes of Ounianga are supplied from below by this aquifer, which has allowed them to survive the climatic changes so far.
One millimeter is less than a year’s sediment.
The team went down 16 meters (52½’) in pursuit of layers from the dawn of the Holocene Era.
Through stroke after stroke of the corer’s weight, in heat that, in sunshine on open water, often approached 50 degrees Centigrade (122° F), the team pressed on.
In the end, they reached their goal: a continuous, 10,940-year “continental record of climate and environmental change.”
Last Lakes of the Green Sahara – Sheldon Chad
However, it is difficult to explain the Neolithic Subpluvial because the wet and rainy weather that transformed the Sahara desert was temporally and spatially very sporadic.
Kröpelin suggests the transformation of the Sahara was driven by monsoon rains being “driven inland from the Gulf of Guinea”.
Until the end of the ice age, about 11,000 years ago, Kröpelin explains, the Sahara constituted the northern border of the areas settled by Homo sapiens.
The wasteland was too inhospitable for humans to traverse it.
But when the glaciers melted in Europe, the monsoon system shifted in North Africa, and rain clouds were driven inland from the Gulf of Guinea.
As the East African savannah continued to expand northward, a path was opened up to Homo sapiens to travel to more distant lands.
Miracle in the Sahara: Oasis Sediments Archive Dramatic History – Johann Grolle
However, Kröpelin’s explanation is contradicted by his own data which shows the rains in the Sahara first appeared in the north and then migrated southwards i.e. not as suggested by Kröpelin. [clarification received from Stefan Kröpelin]
However, the Spiegel article is contradicted by Stefan Kröpelin’s data which shows the rains in the Sahara first appeared in the north and then migrated southwards.
A more likely explanation [freed from the straitjacket of the Geologic Time-line] for the temporally and spatially sporadic greening of the Sahara would be based upon the sporadic emergence [from beneath the waves] of the volcanic archipelagos off the west coast of Africa [in the Atlantic Ocean].
The archipelago of the Azores is located in the middle of the northern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean and extends along a west-northwest to east-southeast orientation (between 36.5°–40° North latitudes and 24.5°–31.5° West longitudes) in an area approximately 600 kilometres (373 miles) wide.
The islands of the Azores emerged from what is called the Azores Platform, a 5.8 million km2 region that is morphologically accented by a depth of 2000 meters.
The islands of the archipelago were formed through volcanic and seismic activity during the Neogene Period; the first embryonic surfaces started to appear in the waters of Santa Maria during the Miocene epoch (from circa 8 million years ago).
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago located in the north Atlantic Ocean, west and slightly south of Portugal.
The island of Madeira is at the top of a massive shield volcano that rises about 6 km (20,000 ft) from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, on the Tore underwater mountain range.
The volcano formed atop an east-west rift in the oceanic crust along the African Plate, beginning during the Miocene epoch over 5 million years ago, continuing into the Pleistocene until about 700,000 years ago.
FIGURE 1. Bathymetric map showing the Canary (red) and Madeira (blue) volcanic provinces, including islands and associated seamounts, in the eastern central North Atlantic. Thick dashed lines mark centers of possible hotspot tracks. For clarity, only depth contours above 3500 m are shown. Bathymetric data from Smith and Sandwell (1997); ages and location of the Azores–Gibraltar fracture zone from Geldmacher et al. (2005) and Guillou et al. (1996).
Encyclopedia of Islands
The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago located just off the southern coast of Morocco, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of its southern border.
The archipelago consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin.
The Teide volcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third tallest volcano on Earth on a volcanic ocean island.
All the islands except La Gomera have been active in the last million years; four of them (Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro) have historical records of eruptions since European discovery.
Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of Western Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).
Magnetic anomalies identified in the vicinity of the archipelago indicate that the structures forming the islands date back 125-150 million years: the islands themselves date from 8 million (in the west) to 20 million years (in the east).
The oldest exposed rocks occurred on Maio and northern peninsula of Santiago and are 128-131 million year old pillow lavas.
A scenario similar to Surtsey island – but on a far grander scale and time-line.
Surtsey is a volcanic island located in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the southern coast of Iceland. At 63.303°N 20.605°WCoordinates: 63.303°N 20.605°W, Surtsey is the southernmost point of Iceland.
It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres (426 ft) below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963.
My personal perspective is that radio-carbon dating is falsifying the fundamentalist Geologic Time-line invented by the Etch A Sketch Skool of Geology.
UPDATE 13 Oct 2016
Researchers interested in Saharan Sand might find it worthwhile reviewing the colour coding of the volcanoes in the Canaries – especially Mount Teide.