The Glacial Epoch And The Noachian Deluge -- By: Herbert William Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 067:266 (Apr 1910)
Article: The Glacial Epoch And The Noachian Deluge
Author: Herbert William Magoun

The Glacial Epoch And The Noachian Deluge

Herbert William Magoun


Geologists have often been prodigal of time, and some of them have carried their prodigality to excess. This is the more surprising, when the known and visible effects of erosion during the past twenty-five hundred years are considered; for it is practically certain that nature’s destructive agencies are now far milder than they have been in former eras. Incidentally, the Age of Man has been made unduly long. Other scholars, relying upon insufficient data, have made it unduly short. The date of the flood, being made to correspond, has been placed by the latter at a time entirely too recent to accord with the requirements of Geology, while geologists — if they have admitted the possibility of a deluge at all — have pushed it back-to a time inordinately remote.

It is not an easy matter to determine; to settle it beyond dispute is out of the question; and yet the time may come when it will no longer be of its present doubtful character. A compromise may make this possible; but it must have a due regard for all the elements in the problem. The geological estimates vary greatly. The most conservative is that of Dr. Wright, who, in deference to his colleagues, makes an allowance of about three thousand years in addition to the time required by his own careful computations. He accordingly places the flood

at about 8000 B.C., a comparatively recent date, when other geological views are considered.

The data used by Dr. Wright were gathered at the Niagara River and in the upper Mississippi basin near Minneapolis. The Falls of St. Anthony, like those of Niagara, have eroded a gorge about seven miles in length since the close of the Glacial Epoch, or since the retirement of the ice which dammed the old river bed so effectually with its debris that a new passageway had to be cut by the stream. It is supposed that this latter event marked the end of the epoch; but that was apparently the time of the flood, and the problem has therefore resolved itself into the question How long did it take to erode those gorges? Ancient maps and surveys of known date make it clear that the rate of erosion for each has been approximately five feet a year, or about a mile in a thousand years, if the rate has remained constant. The date required would thus be about 5000 B.C., or possibly 6000 B.C., if allowance is made for the odd feet in a mile.

To so late a date geologists object, because it does not harmonize with their theories concerning geological time. In support of their contention, they point to the evidence, in the case of Niagara, of an ancient drainage of the Erie-Ontario depressio...

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