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The Slightly Less Grand Canyon

on July 25, 2009
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BBC News: “Floodwaters Create ‘Grand Canyon’” It’s the “Grand Canyon of Durham” in England: a miniature canyon carved into a barley field by “torrential rain” over a weekend.

A canyon hundreds of yards long cuts through a 25-acre field belonging to Houghall College. The gaping gully may look like it’s been there for centuries, belying the fact that the field was flat and uninterrupted just a few weeks ago.

The canyon is the work of perhaps just “a few minutes [or] a couple of hours” of rapid erosion.

Instead, the canyon is the work of perhaps just “a few minutes [or] a couple of hours” of rapid erosion, Durham University geomorphologist Jeff Warburton (who lives close by) told the Daily Mail. Of course, at 14 feet (4.3 m) deep and more than 80 feet (24.4 m) at its widest, the ravine is a far cry from the Grand Canyon. Nonetheless it’s a testimony to the power of water. (The Daily Mail features a dramatic photograph of the gorge, and BBC News has a video.)

The erosion began when Durham received 3 inches (7.6 cm) of rain in a single day, setting the stage for the runoff that dug out the canyon. Houghall College’s Pete Whitfield discovered the canyon in time to see some of the watery action. “I heard this rushing like Niagara Falls, and I could see this water wearing away the land.” Whitfield added, “It’s an amazing phenomenon, but I estimate it’s the result of water from up to 120 acres of flooded land.”

Daily Mail reporter Neil Sears concludes, “It is an extraordinary illustration of the power of nature—and shows that enough water, flowing with enough force, doesn’t need decades to carve a path through the earth.” Whether intentional or not, his comment—and the physical fact of the Grand Canyon of Durham—is profound evidence for the plausibility of the worldwide Flood carving out many of the world’s geological features. If 120 acres of runoff from a day of rain dug a 14-foot-deep gorge in the earth, what would happen when enough water to cover the surface of the earth from 150 days of water from above and below (the “fountains of the great deep” and the “windows of heaven”) retreated (even if through solid rock, rather than soil)?

AiG–UK’s Paul Taylor took a closer look this week at the Grand Canyon of Durham and its implications in Durham’s Grand Canyon. (We also covered the erosive results of modern-day catastrophic flooding in October 2007 and February 2008.)


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