Four million people per year visit the Grand Canyon and ponder at the incredible forces which cut this chasm out of the earth. Did the small river at the bottom carve through the many layers of sediment over eons of time or did a catastrophic event carve the canyon more rapidly? These are the competing explanations for the origin of the Grand Canyon. But how could a flood have accomplished so much? As the following examples show, moving water has enormous erosion capabilities.
In the spring of 1983 the spill-way tunnel of the Glen Canyon Dam had to be opened to allow drainage of water from Lake Powell. When one of the spillways was fully opened the flow pattern changed and blocks of rock were seen hurtling out of the spillway exit. The water became red with dissolved sandstone and there were noticeable earth tremors. The spillway was immediately closed for inspection. The survey team discovered incredible erosion damage to the spillway tunnel caused by cavitation of the flowing water. In a matter of minutes, flowing water had penetrated the three foot thick, steel reinforced, walls and ripped holes into the surrounding bedrock. A 150 foot diameter hole had been cut into the rock requiring 63,000 cubic feet of concrete to repair the damage.
In the scab lands of eastern Washington is an even more dramatic example of the incredible erosion force of rapidly flowing water. An ancient lake was blocked at the end of the ice age by an ice dam in northern Idaho. When the water breached the dam it ripped through Montana, Idaho, and Washington leaving 16,000 square miles of scarred terrain and deeply cut valleys. At one location the flood cut a 50-mile long trench 6 miles wide and 900 feet deep through solid rock! An estimated 10 cubic miles of Columbia Plateau basalt was eroded in a matter of hours by this single event. The process by which moving water can cause such extensive damage is illustrated above.
Could the Grand Canyon have been carved out by similar catastrophic events and processes? Many qualified geologists are coming to believe this is exactly what has happened. These geologists have proposed that a large area of the southwestern United States was covered by water which apparently broke through a natural dam and very rapidly eroded much of the Grand Canyon to its current depth. The water for this rapid erosion came from gigantic lakes left on the plateau when the worldwide flood receded.
There are many other examples of moving water accomplishing massive geological changes. Yet all of these local examples pale in comparison with the effect a worldwide flood would have on regional geological features. If there were a worldwide flood, the illustrated destructive forces would have been in operation during and subsequent to this event. The result would be the rapid accumulation of very thick sedimentary deposits over massive regions. During such an event, valleys would be filled with sediment thousands of feet thick.
Massive amounts of moving water have been shown to rapidly produce enormous geological changes. So why don’t the majority of geologists accept the reality of Noah’s flood as the best explaination for the geology of our planet? Could it be a philosophical aversion to accepting that which is supernatural in its origin? Would a geologist who accepted a worldwide flood for the formation of our planet’s geological features be welcomed into the present science community? Or would this “politically incorrect” interpretation cause him to be ostracized? To accept a worldwide flood as a factual event would profoundly effect current interpretations of the data in all other areas of science including biology, paleontology, cosmology, anthropology and even physics. Would such an interpretation be allowed by the scientific community?