What made these springs burst forth? (Genesis 7:11) 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
ESV - 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
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There have been a number of theories in regards to what it means for the foundations of the deep to burst forth, but the one I find most plausible deals with the theory of 'runaway subduction' - part of the theory of catastrophic plate tectonics. The Earth's crust, even below water, is made up of many 'plates.' These plates float on the upper mantle and create the Earth's 'lithosphere' - which in turn sits on the lower, hotter molten mantle below. https://sciencing.com/three-between-upper-lower-mantle-8516951.html It is convection (heat transfer) in the mantle that drives the movements of the plates. https://www.ocean.washington.edu/courses/oc545/Reading/Ogawa_MantleConvection.pdf Currently the Earth's plates move around very slowly, but even old-Earth geologists agree that rates have fluctuated over time, and that the time of a collision between plates is the time of the fastest plate movement and the movement rate will rapidly decrease from there. Many people have heard of the 'Pangea' concept - that our continents were once mushed together in one big continent called Pangea. But not everyone knows that scientists (whether young-Earth creationists or old-Earth geologists) see evidence that there was a *different* super continent prior to Pangea, designated 'Rodinia.' Rodinia was the first super continent - young Earth creationists would say it was what God created on Day 3 when he gathered the water "to one place" and let the land appear. (Gen 1:9) Rodinia broke up, and the plates smashed back together to form Pangea. More on that here: https://answersingenesis.org/geology/plate-tectonics/noahs-lost-world/ A worldwide flood actually explains the Rodinia/Pangea connection far better than introducing millions of years can. The speed needed for the topography we see today and the growth of land connecting the original plates via flood sediments heavily favors the probability that it was some form of Cataclysm that caused Rodinia to break up. This is where the theory of runaway subduction comes in. In general terms, subduction is what happens when a plate moves sideways and down against another plate, causing the edge of one plate to sink under the other. In 'runaway subduction' this process leads to a chain reaction - one plate sinking so fast that generates a lot of heat, which causes other plates to weaken and sink in turn. https://www.icr.org/article/runaway-subduction-genesis-flood A side effect of this process would be extreme geysers erupting along plate edges - literally 'fountains of the deep' bursting forth. Furthermore, the process would have caused the cooler crust plates to descend while the warm mantle seeped over them to create new crust. Those new plates would be far hotter - and because all crust 'floats' on the mantle the hot plates would rise, drastically! And any water atop these plates would rise accordingly - as much as three thousand feet! This would cause worldwide flooding even if it wasn't raining. Now, there is further evidence that this was the probable scenario as well. 'Seismic tomography' is a form of modeling that uses Earthquake waves to construct what the Earth's interior looks like. And with it we can see plates that used to be on the surface, but have descended into the mantle. You can read a little about it here: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/10/scientists-release-an-atlas-of-the-underworld/ But the mantle is hot, and the descending slabs we see are distinctly cooler. If, as many scientists assert, these descending plates were tens or hundreds of millions of years old, then there is a huge unsolved mystery as to how they have remained cold, and relatively intact. A recent flood thousands of years ago, not millions, fits the observed evidence better. https://www.icr.org/article/cold-slabs-indicate-recent-creation/ How the cataclysmic runaway subduction got started is another matter - my personal theory is that God launched some asteroids.;)
Perhaps it is a reference to subterranean seismic activity, similar to the sources of tsunamis today, but on a global and simultaneous scale at God's command in order to raise the levels of the oceans and other bodies of water at the same time that unprecedented amounts of rain were also coming down on to the earth (and into all those bodies of water, as well) from the atmosphere, to increase the water level of those bodies even further (both directly, as well as indirectly (through runoff)).
The first question that needs to be answered in considering, "What made the fountains of the deep/springs burst forth", is, what were those fountains? It seems like clarifying this shouldn't be necessary, but unfortunately, it is. Sadly, a popular flood model claims that the fountains of the great deep were not water, but magma. That model, called Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT), was imported into Genesis in a manner similar to how evolution was imported, and called Theistic Evolution. Both approaches appear to be biblical and scientific dead ends. The CPT model claims that very little water, relatively speaking, was added to the surface to flood the Earth. And rather than what is normally considered flooding, such as continuously increasing water levels, instead, CPT claims that Noah's flood was a series of tsunamis. Also, many CPT proponents don't see wisdom in the advice from the founder of the modern creation movement in which Henry Morris urged Christians to not appeal to extraterrestrial interventions not implied in the Bible. Also, Dr. Morris, hydraulics professor at Virginia Tech, suggested a subterranean source of the fountains of the great deep that experienced increased pressure and ruptured suddenly worldwide. That description matches perfectly the Hydroplate Theory (HPT) by Walt Brown, PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. Dr. Brown presents many passages of Scripture that seem to specifically support the HPT, along with hundreds of scientific observations, dozens of scientific predictions (many of which have been confirmed), and the effects of the laws of physics that all appear to work together to affirm the HPT "fountains of the great deep" model of the global flood. So, back to the question, what made the fountains burst forth? Increasing pressure. And, what increased the pressure? Today, lunar tides in water are an average of 9 feet, and on land an average of 9 inches. With so much water under the crust (i.e., under the terra firma, the firmament), the land tides would have been much greater, and about 1600 years of stretching and compressing the underparts of the crust could have sufficiently heated and over pressurized the globe-encircling subterranean chamber until it ruptured. Then, as water came up from 60 miles below the surface, with such tremendous force, much of it fell back down as torrential rain for 40 days until the Earth's surface was blanketed with water. But after that, the waters continued to rise as the Bible says for another 110 days until the highest peaks were covered (and, not by magma, nor by a series of tsunamis). Thus the source for the massive quantity of water that flooded the Earth in Noah's day was the fountains of the great deep described on Days 1 and 2, and because it had already been described, Moses expected his readers to understand their origin, thus he referred to them as "the" fountains of the great deep.
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