Many ask: “If Noah’s Flood really covered the whole earth, then where did the water go?”

This question has a simple answer, and once we understand what happened and how, we can see the reality of the biblical Flood all around the world.

The floodwater is in the oceans

Actually, the Bible tells us where the water went. By Day 150 of the Flood catastrophe the floodwaters had risen until they covered “all the high mountains under the whole heaven” (Genesis 7:19). After that “the waters receded from the earth continually” (Genesis 8:3), a process that took about seven months.

As the water receded from the continents it must have flowed into the oceans. It only takes a quick look at a globe of the earth to appreciate that the water indeed sits in the oceans. The Pacific Ocean alone takes up almost half the earth’s surface (Figure 1).

The crust goes up and down

Logically, the only way for the water to drain from the continents into the oceans is for the continents to rise and the ocean floors to sink. As our knowledge of the structure of the earth has grown we can appreciate how that could have happened.

The top part of the earth, called the crust, sits on top of the mantle (about 3,000 km (1,900 miles) thick), which in turn sits on the earth’s iron core. The continental crust is about 40 km (25 miles) thick, while the thickness of the oceanic crust is only around 7 km (5 miles). Up-and-down movement of the crust during Noah’s Flood, called differential vertical tectonics, explains how the waters drained from the continents. On a smaller scale, mountain ranges would have risen and valleys sunk.

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