In this Bible study, we will discover Noah’s Flood was local, and confined to an enclosed basin. We will identify the potential location of Noah’s Flood.

When we think about Noah’s Flood, we have pictures painted in our mind of a catastrophic extinction level event for earth. These pictures were painted into our mind from the English translation of Genesis 6-8. However, as we discovered in our Noah’s Flood Bible study series, God’s Word does not document an extinction level event, neither does common sense, logic or the history of the world, (see: Was Noah’s Flood Global?).

Before we start our Bible study, let us ask our Father for wisdom and understanding of His Word, in Jesus name amen.

Noah’s Flood Was Local And Confined To A Basin

Please turn your Bible with me to,

Genesis 7:17
17 “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.”

The Hebrew word “‘erets”, translated as “earth” in this verse, is far more often translated as “land”. 700 times more often to be exact, and remember God called the dry land earth.

Obviously, Noah’s Ark was not above the “earth”, it was simply floating on the Floodwaters that covered the “land”, (Genesis 7:18).

After “forty days and forty nights” our Father stopped the inundation of water He brought about by rain and the fountains of the deep.

He then “made a wind to pass over the earth” (land), (Genesis 8:1-3).

This not only stopped the Flood, but began to dry out the land through evaporation and absorption of the water back into the sky and ground where it came from.

However, this was not an instant process.

God’s Word explains, Noah’s Ark drifted on the Floodwaters for 150 days, 5 full months before finally coming to rest on “the mountains of Ararat”, (Genesis 8:4).

For 110 days, nearly 4 months, no new water was introduced. This means the Floodwaters were standing and unable to drain into the ocean. This indicates Noah’s Flood was local, and confined to a large basin which is a “depression in the surface of the land”. This would also consist of highlands, foothills, and mountains that acted as a bowl to contain the Floodwaters.

Had the Flood occurred outside of a basin, the water would have simply drained into the ocean shortly after God stopped the Flood. It would be impossible for there to be standing water for nearly 4 months, much less the full year it took before the Floodwaters completely subsided, when God finally allowed Noah to leave the Ark, (Genesis 7:11, 8:13-16).

This helps us answer the question, where was Noah’s Flood?

Noah’s Visibility Of The Regional Flood

Genesis 7:19
19 “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.”

Once again “earth” should have been translated as “land” to avoid contradicting Genesis 7:22 which we will discuss later. Further, “heaven” in this verse (Strong’s: H8064) simply means “the sky”. As far as Noah could see, the waters were under the whole “sky”.

With that thought, I want you to consider what is being explained, and try to imagine what Noah could see for a moment.

To provide some perspective on visibility, if you are standing on the seashore, you can only see for 3 miles out to sea due to the curvature of the earth.

Noah’s Ark was 30 cubits high, equivalent to 40-60 feet tall depending on the definition of a cubit. Using the higher number, if Noah was standing on top of the Ark on a clear day, he could only see for 10 miles across a body of water due to earth’s curvature, (visibility calculation).

If we consider the landscape, Mount Ararat is the tallest mountain in the region at 17,000 feet. This mountain would have been out of Noah’s view at just 170 miles. Now factor in the torrential rainstorm hindering Noah’s view, and we can understand how his visibility became extremely diminished.

Note: Mount Ararat is over 270 miles from the Caspian Sea.

The Word “Hills” And “Mountains”

We have not only uncovered bad translations in the Genesis account of Noah’s Flood, but interpretations have been inserted into the Bible by the translators as well.

I will explain in a moment, but take note of the word hills” (Strong’s: H2022) in the verse we just read.

Genesis 7:20
20 “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.”

The first thing we must understand is these English words, “hills” and mountains” (Strong’s: H2022) are the exact same Hebrew word which is defined as,

a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively): – hill (country), mount (-ain), X promotion.

This makes the last two verses extremely misleading to the English reader.

Translating the same Hebrew word as “hills” and “mountains” in the same account introduced the interpretation of the Bible translators, instead of just their translation. This is important to comprehend, there is a big difference between “hills” and “mountains”.

The proper translation would be “range of hills”, we can confidently say that as we know Noah’s Ark landed on “the mountains of Ararat”, plural.

Better said, the ‘range of hills of Ararat’.

All of this helps us understand why the Bible translators constantly used the word “earth” in the account of Noah’s Flood. The reader should know these translations were made at the sole discretion of the Bible translators, the Hebrew language does not declare or dictate such translations into the English language.

Mountains Of Ararat Are The Armenian Highlands

Genesis 8:4
4 “And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.”

While it is commonly believed Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat, we just learned that is not what the Bible states.

God’s Word clearly explained Noah’s Ark landed on the “mountains” (plural) of Ararat, and we know the word “mountains” used here means “a mountain or range of hills“.

As we will discuss in a moment, the Floodwaters went up just 15 cubits (25-31 feet) from the location of the Ark. Noah’s Ark certainly did not land at the summit of Mount Ararat which is 17,000 feet.

The next thing we need to understand is the meaning of the word “Ararat” (Strong’s: H780),

Ararat (or rather Armenia): – Ararat, Armenia.

Armenian Highlands south of Caucasus Mountains
Armenian Highlands center
Caucasus Mountains north
Black Sea west, Caspian Sea east

We are quite literally discussing the ‘range of hills of Armenia’. Not modern Armenia, ancient Armenia which encompassed a large area bordering the Caspian and Black Seas.

Geographically, this portion of land is known as the Armenian Highlands.

This helps us understand Noah’s Ark came to rest in the Armenian Highlands which consists of “mountain” and “hill” ranges after 150 days adrift on the Floodwaters.

The Floodwaters Were 15 Cubits Deep

We are going to re-read Genesis 7:20 to understand the depth of the Flood.

Genesis 7:20
20Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.”

The measure of a cubit is up for debate as it was dependent on the length of the kings wrist to his elbow. Due to that, a cubit is considered to be anywhere from 17-23 inches in length.

Since Noah is the one providing the account, this means the Floodwaters rose from the land where Noah’s Ark was constructed by 25-31 feet.

That may not seem like a lot of water, but how much water is required to drown a man or animal?

That was the goal here, to destroy the wickedness in the land that “multiplied” due to the Fallen Angels and Giants, (see: The Fallen Angels, Giants And Noah’s Flood).

Further, we are told the Floodwaters covered the “mountains” or “range of hills”. In order for 25-31 feet of water to cover the “range of hills”, Noah was obviously in the hill country to begin with, so the depth of the water above the valley floor was multitudes deeper.

God’s Word does not explain how the depth of the Floodwater was measured, but I want you to consider what Noah and his family were going through for a moment. They were watching everything they ever knew vanish under the Floodwaters God unleashed on the land. Not only was their home and land destroyed, but the people they knew were also swept away by this massive Flood as well.

Noah was quite literally experiencing a tribulation never before witnessed in human history. It would be quite natural for Noah to become curious and measure the depth of the Floodwaters with a pole or knotted rope. After all, people have been using this method to determine the depth of water for thousands of years.

Not only would the depth of the water be of interest to Noah, but it’s significant to us as well, so that we can understand the specifics of Noah’s Flood.

Fifteen Cubits: The Common Explanation

For clarity and completeness, I must address the common explanation of this verse.

Many who believe in a global flood explain, “fifteen cubits upward” was the “draft” of the Ark which is the distance between the waterline to the bottom of the hull. They believe Genesis 7:20 describes the depth the Ark was submerged to in the water due to its weight.

With this belief, they explain the Ark was able to pass over Mount Ararat by 15 cubits. This thought destroys their own theory, as Mount Everest is 12,000 feet higher than Ararat, which means, the entire earth was not covered in water.

Their theory prompts more questions:

  • How would Noah have known when the Ark passed over Mount Ararat if the peak was covered?
  • How would that information benefit Noah, or the rest of us today?

More importantly, we should understand Noah’s Ark was not the subject of the verse, the depth of the Floodwater God sent to destroy the wicked was the subject.

Understanding the “draft” of the Ark would serve absolutely no purpose, and provide no useful information to Noah or us. This is simply a way for some to explain away the facts, that the Flood of Noah was local, and certainly not as deep as many have been led to believe.

Life In The Dry Land Died

Let us continue.

Genesis 7:21
21 “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:”

Notice, only life that “moved” on the “land” perished.

This means sea life was not impacted by the Flood, and Genesis 7:23 explains, “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground“, (see: How Did Fresh And Saltwater Fish Survive Noah’s Flood?).

These simple facts help us understand Noah’s Flood was local and confined to an enclosed basin.

Genesis 7:22
22 “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.”

Pay close attention, verse 21 explains “all flesh died that moved upon the earth, yet in verse 22 we are told all that was in the dry land died.

If we believe “earth” is the proper translation, then we have a contradiction between these two verses.

Either all life died on “earth”, or all life died in “the dry land”.

As we have explained, “land” is the proper translation of the Hebrew word “‘erets” which removes the contradictions we have found in the English translation. This should not be a surprise to us, after all, God Himself called “dry land” “earth” in Genesis 1:10.

To add to the thought, the word “dry” (Strong’s: H2724) as used here actually means, “a dry desert land”. This provides us with yet another clue that points to the location of Noah’s Flood. Not only was Noah’s Flood local, but confined to an enclosed basin in “a dry desert land”.

No More Bible Clues

Unfortunately, the Bible does not provide us with any more information concerning the location of Noah’s Flood. We must now use the clues found in Scripture along with common sense and logic to identify the possible location of the Flood.

Our search now brings us to the Caspian Sea…

Noah’s Flood And The Caspian Drainage Basin

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water with an elevation of 92 feet below sea level. This massive sea runs north and south for 750 miles and spans west to east for 270 miles. Altogether this encompasses more than 149,200 square miles, an area larger than the country of Germany.

Note: Considering the depth of Noah’s Flood, it is interesting to note 25% of the Caspian Sea has a depth of just 13-25 feet.

The Caspian Sea is fed by at least 130 different rivers. This is important to understand as the Caspian Sea lies in an endorheic basin, which means, water flows into the Caspian Sea, but it does not flow out of it. The only way water leaves the Caspian Sea is through evaporation or absorption into the soil. Genesis 8:1-3 should come into your mind as that is how the Floodwaters subsided.

Most of the area surrounding the Caspian Sea is a “dry region of the world” with isolated oasis. While the areas of vegetation mainly exist along the west and south side of the sea. We should be reminded of Genesis 7:22 which explains the Flood occurred in a “dry land”.

Caspian Sea Drainage Basin
Caspian Sea Drainage Basin – UNEP

We discussed earlier the need for a basin capable of holding a large amount of water to agree with Scripture. The Caspian Sea has a drainage basin (catchment basin or watershed) that covers more than 1,400,000 square miles.

The image to the right depicts the Caspian Sea Drainage Basin.

The area highlighted in green does not indicate the entire area could be filled with water. It simply documents any rainfall within the green area makes its way to the Caspian Sea.

This means, the Floodwaters God could have sent on the region would have been captured by the massive landscape and channeled into the Caspian Sea through its network of rivers to quickly flood the land to levels never before witnessed by mankind.

This subject becomes even more intriguing.

Land Depressions In The Caspian Region

A large portion of the land surrounding the Caspian Sea forms great depressions in the surface of the earth. Not only is the Caspian below sea level, but so are these depressions.

  • The Aral-Caspian Depression primarily covers the northern and eastern regions of the Caspian Sea. This depression is “the largest below-sea-level depression by surface area” in the world covering 77,220 square miles, (Geology).
  • The Turan Depression is east of the Caspian Sea and “Vpadina Akchanaya in Turkmenistan is located 266 feet below sea level.
  • The Karagiye Depression is east of the Caspian Sea, and located 433 feet below sea level, one of the lowest points on earth.
  • The Kuma-Manych Depression is just west of the Caspian Sea, and of course below sea level.

We have now presented you with the enormous Caspian Sea Drainage Basin, including several depressions that also lay below sea level and span thousands of square miles. This basin is located in “a dry land”, and the only way water can leave the basin is through evaporation and absorption into the soil, just as Genesis explained.

This drainage basin also encompasses a large portion of the Armenian Highlands, or the “range of hills of Armenia”, the region Noah’s Ark came to rest on.

If this is not the perfect location for Noah’s Flood, I do not know what is.

Capacity Of The Caspian Drainage Basin

Ancient Glacier Flooding Of Caspian Sea Before And After
Before and After: Ancient Glacier
Flooding Of Caspian Sea – paleogeo

Using data acquired from records of ancient glacier flooding in the region, it is estimated the Caspian Drainage Basin held anywhere from 260-620 feet (80-190m) of water. Including the 92 feet below sea level of the Caspian Sea, (paleogeo).

Once the basin reached capacity, the water would begin to pour into the Manych-Kerch Spillway and drain into the Black Sea, (also see: Kuma-Manych Depression).

This means the water level from the valley floor could have been 260-620 feet deep, not to mention the added depth due to the massive depressions we just discussed.

It is estimated in order to fill the Caspian Drainage Basin to just the lower 260 foot level it would have required over 16,700 cubic miles of water.

An amount which is equal to 200 years of river flows into the Caspian Sea.

Now, considering Noah’s Flood, this would have meant 200 years worth of rain and river flows poured into the region in just “forty days and forty nights”.

This would have swelled the Caspian Sea to three times its current size swallowing up over 300,000 square miles of “dry land”.

Ancient Glacier Flooding of Caspian Sea and Region
Ancient Glacier Flooding of Caspian Sea/Region. Overflows into Black Sea through Manych-Kerch Spillway. Note gray pre-flood areas and white flooded areas. – paleogeo

Visualizing The Flood Of Noah

If this was the region of Noah’s Flood, we can imagine Noah’s Ark adrift on an enormous sea spanning hundreds of thousands of square miles. We can visualize the torrential rainstorm God just unleashed on the land.

Noah’s visibility was now greatly diminished due to the rains coming down from “the sky” which obstructed his view.  His account now pours over our minds, Noah explains, the “range of hills” under the whole “sky” were covered.

Only then do we begin to understand that statement.

As far as Noah could see, the rains were coming down and flooding the land he once called home. From Noah’s perspective, the only land, the only world he knew had just vanished under a raging Flood.

Summary

As Scripture documents, The Flood was not global, rather Noah’s Flood was local and confined to an enclosed basin.

We now know, Noah’s Ark landed on the “the range of hills of Armenia”, not the peak of Mount Ararat. This perfectly aligns with Genesis 7:20 where the depth of The Flood was measured at 15 cubits from the Ark’s location.

As you consider and visualize the location of The Flood presented in this study, I want you to consider the enemies of God who were destroyed by the Floodwaters…

Visualize a large and vast open plain spanning hundreds of miles.

It would have been impossible for the ungodly to have escaped this Flood. We can imagine the great distances they would have needed to travel in order to reach the hills before they succumbed to the water that covered their heads.

Since Noah probably lived in the hills, then it is reasonable to conclude some of the ungodly did as well. We can envision them climbing and clawing their way up the hills in a torrential rainstorm to beat the rising waterline…

Yet, the amount of water continually washed away the soil from under their feet, until they too, were swept away by The Flood.

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