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Geology and the Bible:

The Great Mediterranean Sea

by Lambert Dolphin

Lambert Dolphin, Physicist Website

While quite a few new scientific discoveries make the evening news, Time or Newsweek, or merit an hour program on the Discovery Channel, other important finds are neglected. Perhaps some things are too hard to fit into the prevailing secular scientific world view or have consequences that don't seem to mesh with evidence from other sources. This article deals with a much-neglected discovery in the latter category.

A Strange Discovery

Forty years ago sonar studies through the Mediterranean Sea and into the sea floor below revealed a strange reflecting layer 100-200 meters below the bottom and unexpected stratification of the sediments. Buried sub-bottom salt domes were also detected. The seismic data were tantalizing enough to merit a Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) by the Glomar Challenger, beginning in 1970. 1 2

This amazing ship was equipped with side thrusters for accurate position control and a drilling rig capable of core sampling the sea floor even through water several miles deep. The first core samples off the coast of Barcelona, Spain did not yield sands, gravels and muds as expected, but gypsum, oceanic basalt, small fossil shells and hardened ocean oozes.

The fossils were those one would expect from a shallow salty lagoon, or a surface evaporation pond, yet the water depth at the drilling site was 2000 meters deep!

Subsequent drilling revealed that the floor of the Mediterranean most everywhere was underlain with layers of evaporites, and more fossils such as blue green algae, which can live only in sunlit waters. The fossils dated from the end of the Miocene Epoch and were all 5 to 6 million years old on the atomic time scale.

The researchers were reluctantly, but excitedly, driven to the conclusion that the Mediterranean Sea had dried up and refilled a dozen times in a million years. Since the Mediterranean basin is as much as 16,000 feet deep, the dry sea floor must have been an incredibly hot desert for long periods of time. The lowest place on earth nowadays is the Dead Sea, which is only 1300 feet below sea level.

Further studies confirmed that deep gorges in solid rock (now filled with ocean sediments and then river muds) lay under the Nile River and the Rhone River, suggesting that these rivers were once great torrents, steeply dropping water into the empty Mediterranean basin. (However, other filled-in gorges are also found around the world and are not unique to the Mediterranean).

Best of all, the researchers imagined a prehistoric waterfall at the Straits of Gibraltar bringing in Atlantic ocean water with the volume of a hundred Victoria Falls or a thousand Niagaras at intervals lasting a hundred years or more.

Another Explanation

Did the Mediterranean Sea really dry up? Was it once a very hot and dry desert? Probably not. There is another possible explanation for the vast salt and mineral deposits found at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Let us explore Australian astronomer Barry Setterfield's hypothesis that atomic time and ordinary calendar time are related by the velocity of light.

Using Setterfield's red-shift data to give us the expected value of c (the speed of light) for events some millions of years ago in atomic time, we find that the 5 to 6 million years BP (before the present) in atomic time was between 2875 and 2825 B.C. in ordinary dynamical time! 3 The salt sediments in the Mediterranean would then have been deposited in a mere 75 years, not over a million years-too short a time period for evaporation and refilling processes in the basin.

A tight reading of Old Testament genealogies suggests that the Flood of Noah and the accompanying sudden continental breakup took place only hundreds of years before these salt-depositional events in the Mediterranean. (Setterfield's date for the Flood turns out to be 3536 B.C.).

What happened to cause the Flood of Noah? Most of the water for the Flood did not come from the atmosphere-the so-called vapor canopy could have held only a few tens of feet of water. It was the "fountains of the deep" that released the waters of the Deluge, suddenly and abruptly, covering the entire surface of our planet for a year and wiping out all of mankind except for eight persons safe on the Ark of Noah. 4

As originally created, our universe was evidently not characterized by the Second Law of Thermodynamics-the Law of science which describes how the physical world is running down, falling apart and decaying. It is also quite possible that there was no radioactive decay of the higher-ordered atomic elements before the Fall. It seems reasonable to suppose that natural radioactivity was switched on as a result of the fall of man or the fall of the angels subsequent to creation week.

Setterfield has shown that the total energy released by radioactive decay processes is independent of c, the velocity of light. However, assuming radioactivity was indeed switched on suddenly, the shorter-lived radioactive isotopes would have begun to decay rapidly, so there could have been a season of rapid crustal heating during earth's early history. 5

Walter Brown, 6 John Baumgardner, and others have proposed a very rapid rupturing of the crust at the time of the Flood. Radioactive decay of the shorter-lived isotopes would have superheated the waters in the crust of the earth.

These waters erupting through thousands of feet of water above them would have been very hot-many hundreds of degrees Centigrade. Coming into contact with the colder ocean waters, the hot water from the crust could have precipitated the salt layers found under the Mediterranean. Living creatures on the surface could well have been killed suddenly, raining debris to the sea floor to add to the salts being rapidly precipitated out in a series of violent events.

The Mediterranean basin is already known for its vigorous past vulcanism (Santorini, Vesuvius, Stromboli, etc.). During the years the earth was recovering from the Flood of Noah it is quite possible that what we now know as deep ocean "black smokers" were present everywhere under the Mediterranean Sea. They could be responsible for the huge copper deposits under Cyprus and the vast salt layers under the Mediterranean sea floor. 7

Of course, rapid weather and climate changes were probably taking place during that same time as well. As soon as nature's upheavals had slowed, the civilization of Egypt could have rapidly expanded and European civilization soon after as well.

Earth's history appears to have been marked by catastrophes and disasters that were denied vehemently in previous generations by secular science. Catastrophes now seem inescapable. Kenneth Hs's book (see endnote 1) is exciting reading no matter how you interpret his amazing research results. Walt Brown's book is must reading also for the well-informed who want to form a Biblically based scientific world view.

Above all else, our Creator invites us to learn and understand and to inquire of him-the universe has a more remarkable history than we first imagine and we do not yet know very much at all about the world we live in.

Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it-the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:2,3

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  1. Hs, K. J., The Mediterranean was a Desert: A Voyage of the Glomar CHALLENGER . Princeton University Press, 1983, 216 p.
  2. The Mediterranean is the world's largest inland sea. It lies between the continents of Europe and Africa and is bounded on the east by the westernmost stretches of Asia. Its length is about 4,025 km (2,500 miles), its average width 805 km (500 miles), and its area about 2,965,500 sq km (1,145,000 sq mi). The greatest depth, 5,092 m (16,706 ft), is in the Matapan Trench of the Ionian Basin. The mean depth is about 1,525 m (5,000 ft). (Grolier Encyclopedia, 1996.)
  3. Setterfield, Barry, Creation and Catastrophe, 1993. Available from Box 318, Blackwood 5051, South Australia. Also see www.ldolphin.org/constcs.html.
  4. See my article, "The Terrible Flood of Noah", in Personal UPDATE, 6/97, pp.8-13.
  5. Radioactive heating is thought to be the main source of earth's interior heat. A core meltdown within the earth with a subsequent redistribution of the elements in the core and crust is a popular model among leading geologists today. See "Questions Concerning the Early History of the Earth"  at www.ldolphin.org/Early.html
  6. Brown, Walter, Ph.D., In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood.  On-line book as well as ordering information at www.creationscience.com
  7. Ibid.

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