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.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Many have speculated that the aquifers beneath the surface of the earth constituted the "great deep". But now a team of scientists from the University of Alberta led by Professor Graham Pearson have gone far beyond this theory. During an excavation in the Juina area of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Pearson discovered a seemingly worthless brown diamond which contains a sample of ringwoodite, a stone formed under extreme pressure inside the Earth’s mantle. And this sample of ringwoodite was found to consist of 1.5 percent water. This finding suggests to Pearson and his team that there could be an ocean’s worth of water more than 300 miles under the Earth’s surface that equals the known water content across the entire planet. A preview of the full report is published in Issue 507 of Nature; read more about Professor Pearson's background HERE.
From the Edmonton Journal:
“What you can definitely say from our finding is that there are oases of water, wet spots, in the deep Earth. Now, if you extrapolate it to the whole of this area we call the transition zone, it means there might be the same mass of water as what’s held in all of the world’s oceans.”
Professor Pearson acknowledges that the finding, the first of its kind, does not flatly settle the water theory, which remains highly controversial. But it could explain where all the additional water necessary to flood the entire earth up to an altitude of 30,000 feet could have come from. Since Pearson alludes to the possibility that the tectonic plates may be thinned and corroded by the presence of water, this suggests that the breach of the great deep's "fountains" may have been triggered by a huge undersea earthquake, although Genesis 7:11-12 does not suggest that an earthquake preceded the Great Flood. But then again, if there was such an earthquake, it may not have been felt at Noah's location. Pearson is not certain if this trapped water is ocean water sucked downward several hundred million years ago as tectonic plates shifted in a process called subduction, or if it is could be primordial water trapped as the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. The Guardian provides an illustration showing exactly where this water may be; another illustration was published by Geekosystem.
Note: Mormon doctrine does NOT hold that the earth was created in six 24-hour days. Most Mormons believe the "days" are actually six creation periods or epochs, the precise length of which has not been revealed. FAIR Mormon discusses some prevailing schools of thought in the LDS community.
Meanwhile, another scientist cautiously endorses Professor Pearson's theory. University of Bayreuth geochemist Hans Keppler cautions that although no firm conclusions can be made based on the single ringwoodite sample, he accepts the basic notion that the most likely scenario does in fact point to large reservoirs of water trapped deep underground.
I just love it when science catches up to scripture. Why must we be bullied into choosing between faith and science? Doesn't the inspiration for both come from the Same Source?