Was the Grand Canyon Caused by a Global Flood?

Was the Grand Canyon carved by a global flood?


There are a lot of ways to debunk this myth. One is to look at the photos attached to this post. That’s the Colorado River winding its way through the Grand Canyon. See all those lazy “S” curves? That’s what slow moving rivers do over long periods of time. We see it everywhere on the planet. Keep this in mind as you read, please.

Now think about the Grand Canyon. It’s almost 300 miles long and around a mile deep. In spots it’s as much as ten miles wide.

Grand Canyon

Portion of the Grand Canyon from space. Note the 180 degree S-curves. (Image: NASA)

A rough estimate of the volume (how much rock it would take to fill the canyon) is 386,115,840,000,000 cubic feet. If you were kind to the global flood believers and assumed the entire canyon had been filled with light sandstone having a density of 2.8 g/cm3, the total amount of rock that would have to have been immediately gouged out by the flood would have weighed an amazing 33,746,194,212,283 TONS.

That’s over 33 TRILLION tons of rock in one fell swoop. And we’re assuming the rock is sitting there loose, waiting to be moved — which it isn’t — it’s bound to the surrounding rock.  This is supposed to be a non-technical discussion, but for those of you who remember high school physics, think back to Newton’s First Law of Motion: a mass at rest will stay at rest until it encounters a force great enough to move it.  Over 33 trillion tons of rock.  You just can’t get water moving fast enough to do the work, so the discussion should really stop here.

But let’s keep going, for the benefit of that one person out there who’s shouting “but then a miracle happened and the water moved really fast!”

Remember that picture of the canyon? Those slow, twisty “S” curves? Now, think about flood water moving at impossible speeds. Or just think about flood water moving at possible speeds. It flows FAST.

And what does our magically-fast moving flood water do?

It cuts straight lines.

Remember those “S” curves? The ones cut by slow moving water? Aha!

I had a creationist challenge me on this point once, after he claimed he understood Newton’s First Law.  Big mistake.  We know from this law that a mass (such as flood water) will always travel in the same direction (a “straight line”) unless acted on by an outside force.  We also know that if the mass (such as flood water) is acted on by an outside force, such as hitting rock, it will change speed.  It could change direction (be deflected), but that leaves the rock behind (no canyon!)  If the water slows down, it has no way of speeding up again, so it doesn’t have the necessary force to cut the rock (no canyon!)

So at this point you have to choose: was the flood water moving fast enough to move over 33 trillion tons or rock, or wasn’t it?  If it was, then it cut a straight line.  If it wasn’t, then it slowed down and couldn’t cut a 300 mile long channel in solid rock.

The Grand Canyon was carved over a very long time, slowly, as the Colorado River twisted its way through, eroding the rock, grain by grain, as it’s still doing today.

At this point, creationists will inevitably bring up Mount St. Helens, the Washington volcano that erupted in 1980, killing over 50 people and cutting a “miniature Grand Canyon” in the process.

The first thing creationists are forgetting/ignoring is that Mount St. Helens cut its “canyon” through loose volcanic ash and dirt, not rock.  That’s much, much easier.

The second thing creationists are forgetting/ignoring is that Mount St. Helens is approximately 100,000 times smaller than the Grand Canyon.  Using a 1/100,000th specimen cut in loose ash to as a model for a 300 mile long, mile high, 10 mile wide canyon cut from solid rock isn’t very good science.

But in the context of this article, perhaps the most important thing creationists are forgetting/ignoring can be best illustrated by comparing the photo of Mount St. Helens (below) to the photos of the Grand Canyon elsewhere in the article.  See all those straight lines cut by fast moving debris on Mount St. Helens?  See all the S-curves in the Grand Canyon?.

Mt. St. Helens from space

Mt. St. Helens from space. Note the straight lines cut by fast moving flood/avalanche debris.  Compare/contrast to the 180 degree twists and turns of the Grand Canyon in the other images. (Image: NASA.)

In a future post, we’ll look at the idea that the canyon wasn’t solid rock when the flood came. Believe it or not, there are people pushing the theory of a 300 mile long, one mile high, ten mile wide wall of mud. No, really!

(All images courtesy NASA. Used with permission).


10 thoughts on “Was the Grand Canyon Caused by a Global Flood?

  1. What you fail to mention is that the channels at Mount Saint Helens were cut in a matter of hours and the explosion was small and localized. Larger explosions could have done much more. Post-Flood earth was instable with violent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and an Ice Age. All these factors are responsible for the geology of the Grand Canyon and other formations, and not the Flood alone.
    I suggest you read a little about it!


    • I didn’t mention St. Helens because it was cut through dirt and ash, not rock, nor has any other similarities to the Grand Canyon. And if the event that caused the Grand Canyon was NOT small and local as you claim, but worldwide, the entire planet would be a Grand Canyon. Yet there’s only one of them. Thanks for reading and commenting though.


  2. Pingback: Grand Canyon plateau flood Toronto 9/11 hearing expert OBAMA FEMA Smart Guillotine | Politics News

  3. I question referring to those who belief in this theory as creationists. There’s no consistent correlation between the two. I am a Christian but I sure as crap don’t believe in any mud floods, flat earth, giant tree trunks, chemtrails, faith healing (to the point of refusing medical treatment), or the suggestion that the autonomous acts of humans can be dismissed as God’s will… be accountable, people. Anyway, point is, believing in the Bible (taken with a grain of salt due to centuries of translation errors) does not equal believing in every cracked theory posited by others claiming to share my beliefs. You can disdain those if you want but don’t group me with mudflood believers.


  4. « One is to look at the photos attached to this post. That’s the Colorado River winding its way through the Grand Canyon. See all those lazy “S” curves? That’s what slow moving rivers do over long periods of time. We see it everywhere on the planet. Keep this in mind as you read, please.»

    Hi, did you check out the Plymouth river bed when it drains due to tide? Lots of fast moving water creates exactly the kind of shapes we see in the Grand Canyon. Wish I could post the picture directly. Just go on Google maps and search for Plymouth River, GB. And, actually, fast moving water will NOT move in a straight line but will «bounce» from bank to bank with violence. So I disagree with the comment based on simple hydraulics and my own observations. Plus, it just doesn’t compute with my mind that the trickle of the Colorado could carve out the massive Grand Canyon

    Also, you are assuming the Grand Canyon was hardened rock when it was carved out. You cannot tell at what stage of hardening that mixture was at the moment it was carved. We did not observe it. It makes no doubt the 1600 meters of sedimentary rock were deposited by water. So, it needed to pass from muddy sediments to hard rock at some point. There is no inherent impossibility to the biblical account of Noah’s flood.


      • No, I am proposing that massive amounts of water in violent movement carved the Grand Canyon in one catastrophic event, not the trickle of the Colorado river.
        I have no way of knowing at what stage of hardening the sediments were and yes, you are right, it could not have all been in a muddy state. It’s always the same problem, we can’t check it or reproduce it to make an experiment. The drainage features of the Grand Canyon, including the canyon itself, tell a story of massive hydraulic movement on a scale we do not observe today. So, at whatever stage of hardening the plateau was, only massive amounts of water can explain what we see.


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