Scientists from the University of Arizona recently announced that what is now the Sahara desert was once wet and green and extended as far north as the Mediterranean Sea.1,2

The scientists examined chemical clues found within leaf waxes preserved in four marine sediment cores located off the northwestern African coast. Plants experience subtle changes in the chemical composition of their wax, depending upon the wetness or dryness of the climate. Because leaf wax washes into the oceans, it can be preserved in sediment cores extracted from the ocean floor. Hence, this team of researchers used wax chemical clues found within these cores to infer past climate conditions in the Sahara. The scientists estimated that past Saharan rainfall was ten times greater than today’s between 5,000 and 11,000 years ago.1,2

Biblical creationists don’t accept these age estimates, which are higher than allowed by the Bible’s short chronology and are based on doubtful uniformitarian assumptions. However, both geological and archaeological evidence indicates that the now-desolate Sahara was once characterized by lush vegetation. Satellite radar images have revealed the remains of past “megalakes” beneath the desert sands, as well as a “monumental” network of past rivers.3,4 Likewise, archaeologists have found abundant evidence of past human habitation, including rock art, tools, and pottery. Crocodile, hippopotamus, clam, and fish fossils also show that the Sahara was once much wetter than today.5

And it wasn’t just the Sahara that received greater rainfall in the past. The American Southwest once contained large pluvial lakes. Utah’s Great Salt Lake is a remnant of one of these.5 Likewise, the Bible testifies that at least some portions of the Middle East once received more rainfall and had more vegetation than today. Genesis describes the region near the Dead Sea as “well-watered everywhere . . . like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar” (Genesis 13:10). Likewise, the land of Canaan was described by the LORD Himself as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).

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