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Discovery Magazine 1/1/1995

Wrecking Waves

What did Noah see when the Flood waters began to rise? Did he see the rain fall gently from the sky, and the waters creep slowly across the land? No, that is not how the Bible talks about the Flood. Genesis 7:11 tells us that the fountains of the great deep burst forth. Some scientists believe this means that portions of the Earth broke apart, causing huge earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Underwater earthquakes can cause large parts of the ocean bottom to move up or down. This makes the water move as a big wave called a tsunami (tsoo-NAH-mee). The wave can travel through the ocean at hundreds of miles an hour, although people on ships may not notice it pass beneath them. As it reaches shallow water, the wave gets higher before breaking onto the land, and destroying everything in its path.

In the last two or three years, tsunamis have hit Japan, Nicaragua, and Indonesia. Villages were washed away, and many people lost their lives. All these tsunamis were caused by earthquakes at sea, but volcanic eruptions can cause tsunamis too. When Krakatau (krah-kuh-TOW) exploded in 1883, waves washed over entire islands. Scientists in Alaska, Hawaii, and other places now have special devices to warn them of an approaching tsunami.

The people of Noah's day had a warning too: God told them to stop doing wrong, or else He would send a Flood. Only Noah and his family listened, and they alone were safe in the ark above the great waves and rising waters of the Flood.



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