Bible Question:

What happened to the flood waters of Noah's day? Could the North and South Poles be where half or most of the water could have ended up? Does scripture say anything about it?

Bible Answer:

The Bible tells us that a tremendous flood occurred on the earth where flood waters completely covered the land. According to Genesis and Proverbs 8:24-29, God placed a water canopy above the earth at the same time He created subterranean springs and oceans of water on the earth. It is these three sources of water that God used to cause the flood.

Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. Genesis 1:6-7 (NASB)

When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary, so that the water should not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth . . .Proverbs 8:27-29 (NASB)

Noah's Flood

God Caused The Universal Flood

The Bible states that God caused the flood, Noah’s Flood, to occur by releasing the water canopy above the earth and the springs below the earth. With the oceans and seas of water on the earth, the waters covered the face of the land, including the mountains.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.  Genesis 7:11 (NASB)

The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.
Genesis 7:19-20 (NASB)

Genesis 7:20 states that God allowed the waters to exceed the height of the mountains by fifteen cubits or 22.5 feet. It is not possible to have the waters exceed the height of the mountains by 22.5 feet in just a narrow region of the land. 2 Peter 3:5-6 is another impotent passage about the universal flood. It states that flood waters covered the entire earth. It says,

For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 2 Peter 3:5-6 (NASB)

Another proof the flow was global is that archaeologists have found seashells on the tallest of mountains around the world. Mishana Khot writes,

The mighty Himalayas, also known as ‘The Roof of the World’, rise up to an incredible height, disappearing into the clouds on some days. Some of the world’s highest peaks are in the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, which at 29,029 feet is the highest mountain in the world. At these altitudes, the air is thin, and the temperatures are extreme. The land is arid and brown, and it looks like it’s been this way since the beginning of time. These mighty mountains are hundreds of miles away from the closest sea. So how is it possible that marine fossils have been found in multiple locations in the Himalayas? [1]

Another proof is that ancient cultures around the world have stories about a universal flood. The following is from Graham Hancock’s book Fingerprints of the Gods. It is a summary of ancient legends and/or accounts of the universal flood. He says,

How far and how widely across the myth memories of mankind do the ripples of the great flood spread? Very widely indeed. More than 500 deluge legends are known around the world, and in a survey of 86 of these (20 Asiatic, 3 European, 7 African, 46 American and 10 from Australia and the Pacific), the specialist researcher Dr Richard Andree concluded that 62 were entirely independent of the Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.[2]

The conclusion at this point is that Noah’s flood was universal. Water from above and below covered the entire earth. Land masses may have sunk down and water from above rained down to cause this global flood.

What Happened to the Flood Waters of Noah’s Day?

After five months God stopped the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky. Genesis 8:2-5 states this,

Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained; and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased. In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible. Genesis 8:2-5 (NASB)

Psalm 104:6-8 reports that God had covered the mountains with the flood waters. Then this passage states that as God removed the waters, God also raised or created the mountains and formed the valleys.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
At Your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
The mountains rose; the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them.
Psalm 104:6-8 (NASB)

This caused the waters to form oceans and seas. Whitcomb and Morris tell us that with the water canopy removed, the poles would be cold and ice would form. Here is the statement of Whitcomb and Morris,

As we have already seen, there is strong evidence that the climate of the entire world prior to the Flood was uniformly mild and pleasant. This snow, falling primarily in the arctic and Antarctic regions, was . . . derived via the hydrologic cycle from the waters which only recently were covering the earth. Great amounts of snow also accumulated in the mountains which had just been uplifted. In this way, large amounts of water were removed from the oceans and stored in the polar regions in the form of great ice caps, which in some instances are believed by glacial geologists to have attained the immense size of continental ice sheets thousands of feet thick and thousands of square miles in area. This agency [was the] . . . cause of the retreat of the globe-encircling waters off the continents.[3]

So, what happened to the flood waters of Noah’s day? The answer is the waters formed the oceans, seas and the mountains were also formed. Some of the water formed the continental ice sheets thousands of feet thick and thousands of square miles in area, and the great ice caps.


God created the world out of nothing by His command.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (NASB) Hebrews 11:3

God caused Noah’s flood by His command. We do not need a natural event to explain that. After the flood, God formed high mountains and deep valleys. He collected water at the North and South Poles and formed ice sheets and glacial ice caps. That is what happened to the flood waters of Noah’s day. The rainbow that was established after the flood is a reminder of His splendid love for us!



1. Mishana Khot. Why Are There Fish Fossils High Up In The Himalayas? Weather Channel. 29 June, 2018.
2. Graham Hancock. Fingerprints of the Gods. Three Rivers Press. 1995. p. 190.
3. Whitcomb and Morris. The Genesis Flood. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI. p. 292.

Suggested Links:

Was there rain before and after Noah’s flood in Genesis?
What calendar was used in Genesis 7-8?
Was Jesus resurrected on the same day Noah’s ark rested on Mt. Ararat?
What is the meaning of the rainbow?
Did Noah know about rain before the flood in Genesis 7?
Making More of the Mountains