In Anton Checkhov’s play The Cherry Orchard, a
character describes the earth as “so wide, so beautiful,
so full of wonderful places.” And it’s true—from majestic mountains to breathtaking canyons,
the world is full of beauty.
But, while beautiful, most of today’s geological
wonders weren’t part of the “very good” creation
God originally made. To gaze at these picturesque
places is to peer back in time at the catastrophic
processes that reshaped our planet only a few
thousand years ago. In the wake of the flood, continents
rose and valleys fell. As the climate changed,
a brief ice age produced massive glaciers that left
their mark around the world. Although magnificent
landforms remind us of God’s judgment, they
also give us glimpses of the earth’s flawless beauty
before the fall.
The Zambezi River, the fourth longest river on
the African continent, flows eastward into the
Indian Ocean. At almost exactly its halfway
point, the river plunges headlong into a deep
gorge, producing a waterfall as tall as a 35-story
building. One of the seven natural wonders of
the world, Victoria Falls in Zambia is the world’s
largest curtain of falling water.
The Zambezi River gorges formed within basalt
lava flows that were produced by enormous
eruptions during the global flood. Any sedimentary
layers deposited subsequently on top of these
basalt layers were eroded away by the retreating
floodwaters. In the aftermath of the flood, weathering
and further rapid erosion along deep fractures
within the basalt layers produced the gorges of the
Zambezi River and Victoria Falls. The vast scale of
these gorges is evidence of the catastrophic scale of
the global flood and its aftermath, as much higher
water volumes and flows were required to cut these
gorges—more water than in the current river.
Cotton Castle in Turkey is the country’s single most visited attraction, drawing
over two million visitors each year. Pillowy stepped terraces, “frozen” waterfalls,
and large sky-blue mineral ponds create an ethereal environment that inspired
the name Pamukkale, Turkish for “cotton castle.” Despite their appearance, these
famous terraces aren’t made of cotton or clouds, but of travertine, a natural stone
deposited around mineral springs, especially hot springs.
Just upstream from Cotton Castle are 17 hot water springs full of dissolved calcium
carbonate. This mineral-rich water flows to the head of the terraces, depositing
calcium carbonate as it cools and cascades down. At today’s flow rate, over
two tons of travertine are deposited daily. But immediately following the global
flood, the flow of minerals in hot water would have been much greater, increasing
the rate of deposition and generating the terraces more rapidly.
Northern Territory (Australia)
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a famous landmark in Australia. This giant rock
stands over 1,100 feet (340 m) tall in the middle of a flat desert region called the Red
Center in Australia’s Northern Territory. The sandstone formation measures almost
six miles (9.6 km) around its base and covers an area of over two square miles (3.2 km2).
Inside the sandstone layers making up Uluru are unweathered feldspar crystals.
With long exposure to water, heat, and air, feldspar breaks down and then forms clay.
If it took millions of years to deposit the Uluru sandstone layers, the feldspar would
have broken down and Uluru would be a flat accumulation of clay and sand today.
Instead, tectonic activity during the flood tilted and uplifted the hardened sandstone
layers that currently make up Uluru. Then the landscape dried out, producing the
White Chalk Cliffs
The White Cliffs of Dover are a striking iconic landmark in
southern England. Composed of white chalk streaked with
black flint, the cliffs run along the southern coast of England,
facing the Strait of Dover and country of France.
Chalk is a soft, fine-textured limestone that consists almost
totally of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate), which is formed
by the shells of marine microorganisms. According to evolutionists,
the chalk beds of Dover were deposited over millions of
years as tiny shells sank to the seafloor and mixed with lime.
But slow and gradual processes cannot account for the unusual
jumble of deep sea animal fossils mixed with other marine fossils
in the chalk, such as fossilized sponges and corals, jaws and
teeth of fish, and remains of creatures like turtles, ichthyosaurs,
and plesiosaurs. Large amounts of sediments had to bury these
creatures instantly before they could escape or die and decay. The
chalk beds couldn’t have accumulated slowly since these fossils
show evidence of being catastrophically buried.
The United States (North America)
Nestled in California’s
Sierra Nevada Mountains
is Yosemite Valley. With its
sheer granite cliffs and cascading
is breathtaking. But it hasn’t
always looked like this.
The global flood of Noah’s
day deposited sedimentary
layers across North America.
Tectonic plates collided along
the West Coast, melting
the sediments at depths to
produce molten granite that
was squeezed up into the
sediment layers above. As a
result, those layers buckled
and uplifted, producing the
Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The flood waters retreated,
eroding most of the sediment
layers, exposing the
hard granite, and revealing a
In the decades after the
flood, heavy rainfall eroded
and weathered the granite.
Then, during the ice age that
followed, heavy snowfall
produced massive glaciers.
The glaciers traveled down
and cut into the mountain
valleys, carving sheer walls
and revealing features like
the well-known Half Dome.