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Study Suggests Canyon Was Created by a Megaflood

on May 31, 2008

NewScientistSpace: “Earth Canyon Hints at Ancient Megafloods on Mars” A new study of Idaho’s Box Canyon suggests the canyon was formed by “a megaflood—a catastrophic outpouring of massive amounts of water in a relatively short period.”

The study, led by Michael Lamb of the University of California–Berkeley, investigated the snake-like Box Canyon in Idaho. Generally a box canyon is a narrow, flat-bottom canyon with steep walls that is closed off at one end (and thus has only one entrance/exit)—“amphitheater-headed,” as the researchers call Box Canyon.

It must have been a “megaflood.”

The prevailing wisdom among uniformitarians is that box canyons are formed slowly, as groundwater seeps out and erodes the canyon away. Obviously, it would take millions of years for canyons of such size to be carved by seeping groundwater—millions of years many are willing to presume existed.

But there’s a problem with the slow-and-gradual hypothesis, Lamb’s team concluded: slow seepage could not move large boulders downstream, as in Box Canyon; furthermore, Box Canyon is carved out of hard, basaltic bedrock. “It requires a lot of water to remove them,” Lamb said of the boulders.

Instead, it must have been a “megaflood,” the team reports, that would have resulted in a “catastrophic outpouring of massive amounts of water in a relatively short period.” The team also acknowledges, as New Scientist reports, that “[s]uch megafloods occurred numerous times in the western US several tens of thousands of years ago and played a significant role in shaping the landscape.”

Additionally, the team has carried their conclusion far from Idaho—all the way to Mars, where similar canyons may also be carved in the basaltic bedrock that forms much of Mars’s surface. Thus, Lamb’s team thinks there may have once been a rainfall cycle on Mars. For now, however, orbital images of the red planet are not clear enough for scientists to determine what sort of rock Martian canyons are carved into.

What about the possibility of flooding on Mars?

Lamb and his team believe that the “megaflood” that chiseled out Box Canyon originated from the collapse of large lakes. They believe these megafloods occurred frequently in prehistoric times. But what is fascinating is that even as these secular scientists credit more and more geological marvels to the work of catastrophic floods, they refuse to consider the possibility that it was the working of one tremendous worldwide flood—both in its initiation and as the waters receded—that was responsible for laying down and then cutting through the geological layers we see today. Imagine it—a flood that involved rain from above and fountains from below, that covered the then-highest mountains on earth, and that took more than a year to recede. Such a fearsome flood would have left more than a few reminders of its presence, and we have God’s account of the destruction in Genesis.

What about the possibility of flooding on Mars? We’ve said in the past (including in radio episodes of Answers . . . with Ken Ham) that it’s incredibly ironic that scientists have, time and again, referred to flooding (even planet-wide flooding) on Mars, which today appears to have no liquid water, yet these same scientists laugh at the prospect of a worldwide flood on Earth, which is mostly covered with water already! The Bible says nothing about a flood on Mars, of course, so as Christians we have no reason to dogmatically accept or reject the idea. But the Bible is abundantly clear that there really was a worldwide flood on Earth, and scientists—secular and Christian—are time and time again uncovering evidence of the Flood. Let’s not forget what the Flood was—and what it represented!

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