The following paper was written for Christian business man Graham Daniels. He was curious about the land of Havilah and its gold, as mentioned in Genesis 2.


Genesis, the Land of Havilah, and its Gold

There has been much speculation about the actual location of the Garden of Eden as well as the Land of Havilah, which has been mentioned in the same Scriptural passage as Eden. The whole discussion has occurred as a result of comments in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, which is the first book in the Bible. In Genesis 2:10-12 we read the following comments: “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four river-heads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.” These few verses present the key detail that Scripture gives us on this matter. Some supplemental Scriptural detail is also given later. Because of mankind’s interest in gold and precious stones, these few comments have aroused much interest and speculation.

Who wrote this material?
However, in order to come to some valid conclusions on this matter, we need to know more about Genesis 2, who wrote these verses, and when. This matter is a part of the broader question of who was the author of the entire book of Genesis. About a century and a half ago, scholars had noted the different styles in Genesis, the different names for God, as well as the presence of occasional phrases which were characteristically Egyptian. As a consequence of this, some proposed the JEPD hypothesis which attributed different portions of Genesis to four different authors. This attempt at a scholarly conclusion answered the problem of the different names for God and the borrowed Egyptian words, but it has since been disproven both historically and theologically. Other approaches suggested that Genesis was simply a myth. However, the problem then was that Genesis presents itself as a historical narrative, including records of conversations, without any hint of mythological language or references.

Clues from an ancient library
The clue that probably unlocks the truth about Genesis was discovered by P. J. Wiseman in the 1930’s. While working with clay tablets that contained family records from the second and third millennium BC in the great library at Ur, and elsewhere in Mesopotamia, Wiseman noted something significant. All these family records ended with a characteristic phrase “This is the history (or written account) of  …” and the name of the author then ended the document. Where the person signs off at the end of the clay tablet, in a manner similar to our signature at the end of a letter, it is called a colophon ending. As he worked with these Mid-Eastern tablets, Wiseman remembered that a similar characteristic phrase occurred about ten times in the book of Genesis. This repeated phrase reads: “This is the written history of…” or “This is the account of the history of…” followed by a name. In the Hebrew the key words were Toledoth and Sepher which translate as “the history of” and “written narrative of” respectively. In the Alexandrian Septuagint (LXX) translation, which was made about 280 BC, the equivalent key word used in this Greek version is Geneseos from which we get today’s title for the whole book as “Genesis”.

Eyewitness accounts
This colophon ending suggested to Wiseman that we were dealing with a collection of about ten tablets or family records that had been compiled into one volume by some editor. The ten tablets were made up as follows: Tablet 1: Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a. Tablet 2 runs from Genesis 2:4b to 5:1a and is signed off by Adam. Tablet 3 goes from 5:1b to 6:9a and is authored by Noah. Tablet 4 runs from 6:9b to 10:1 and is the account given by Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah’s sons, of their survival of the Flood and its aftermath. Tablet 5 progresses from Genesis 10:2 to 11:10a and was recorded for us by Shem. Tablet 6 begins the next list of events starting with the death of Shem in Genesis 11:10b. It runs to 11:27a and is the record given to us by Terah, the father of Abraham. Tablet 7 extends from 11:27b all the way to 25:19a and has been written for us by Abraham’s son Isaac. It includes an appendix from Ishmael in 25:12 to avoid the confusion of a double toledoth at the end. Tablet 8 is Jacob’s autobiography, with Esau’s own family tree as an appendix, and it runs from 25:19b to 37:2a.

Tablet 9 takes in the rest of Genesis with the account of the life of Joseph, how he came to be the Prime Minister of Egypt, and how his relatives, the Children of Israel, came to reside there. Portion of it may well have been written by Joseph, but it is also probable that Moses completed it about the time that he led the Children of Israel in their Exodus from Egypt. The whole account of Genesis was therefore written successively by ancestral authors and passed down in the Hebrew family line. This, then, explains why the material ended up in Moses hands, why so many words were borrowed from Egyptian culture, and why there were so many different styles of writing. When Moses assumed leadership of Israel, he would have been in control of these tablets and became their editor.

Understanding Adam’s diary
On this approach, therefore, we see that Genesis 2, with the comments about the Garden of Eden, the land of Havilah, plus its gold and precious stones, was all part of Adam’s eyewitness account. He was speaking of something with which he was personally quite familiar. The river Pishon, and the land of Havilah that it encompassed, undoubtedly existed then. But the question now becomes, do they exist today, and if so can we find their location? At a first glance there seems to be a possibility that this question can be answered in the affirmative. This possibility stems from the information about the other three rivers which came from the original riverhead mentioned in Genesis 2:10 since Pishon was only the first of these three rivers. The additional information comes from Genesis 2:13 and 14 which reads as follows. “The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which encompasses the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes towards the east of Assyria. The fourth river is called the Euphrates.”

The use of the word ‘Euphrates’ in this quote immediately suggests that Eden was probably located somewhere in the region of Anatolia or Mesopotamia. This suggestion is reinforced by one modern translation of this passage which inserts the word ‘Tigris’ in the place of the word ‘Hiddekel’. However, it must be remembered that this passage was written by Adam. This means that the modern Euphrates need not necessarily be the same river as the one that Adam was familiar with. In fact, even within recent times, population migration from one part of the earth to another has resulted in place names, river names, mountain names and city names that were the same as those in the home countries of the immigrants. Thus we find the same names in several different locations around the earth. Now the Tablets that follow Adam’s chronicle record the fact that there were three later catastrophes which also resulted in at least one massive population migration around the earth. These catastrophes at least had the potential to dramatically change the original land forms and river systems. In addition, the mass migration would undoubtedly result in many geographical features being named after similar features from an earlier time. In view of these considerations, it would be surprising if the location of the present day river Euphrates had any relationship to the original river familiar to Adam.

Locating the four rivers
This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the present-day Euphrates does not originate near headwaters which give rise to three other major rivers. It is true that the modern Tigris runs relatively close to the Euphrates. But if the Hiddekel really is the Tigris, it was meant to flow eastwards beyond Assyria. This is something that the Tigris does not do. Rather, it trends southwards and parallels the Euphrates for much of its length. Furthermore, the other two major rivers mentioned in Adam’s Tablet have no counterpart today, despite many attempts to identify them.  Instead, since these river and place names come from Adam, it is far more likely that they were actual descriptions of these features. It is perhaps wise to remember that all ancient names were descriptive.  Today we tend to choose names of things and people for different reasons, but originally it appears that the ancient languages all preferred to use descriptions as names.

In order to examine that possibility, we note that the Hebrew word translated as ‘Euphrates’ is Perath, which literally means “to break forth”. This may well be a description of the origin of the main river before it divided. Earlier in Adam’s Tablet we find the comment that “A fountain gushed up vigorously out of the ground and watered the surface of all the earth” (Genesis 2:6). This literal translation of the Alexandrian Septuagint (LXX) not only indicates that a massive geyser-like fountain was continually erupting, but also implies that this fountain watered the whole earth, as the words “pan” and “geos” are used. Indeed, geologists have chosen to use these same Greek words to describe the original super-continent that comprised the earth’s original landmass and have named it “Pangea”.

To Adam it might have been logical to name the torrent which came from this massive geyser as the “one that breaks forth.” In order for this geyser to do that, the amount of water put out by this fountain would far surpass anything that we have today. Furthermore, the splitting of this original torrent into four main river systems would be a necessary first step in its dispersion so that the whole original super-continental land mass would be watered. The name of the river Pishon backs up this contention as the word literally means “to disperse, or to spread”. The word Hiddekel literally means “flowing rapidly”, indicating it either went through land with a high gradient or had a large quantity of water flowing in it, or both. The word Gihon means “stream”. In view of these details, it therefore seems most unlikely that any river system we have today can qualify as the one which Adam described in his Tablet.

The fountain near the garden
However, we can go further than this. The source of the four river system mentioned in Adam’s Tablet is this huge fountain or geyser, which supplied the water for the four rivers. Logically, this demands a water source under considerable pressure deep within the crust of our planet. We can see some small-scale examples of this even today in the so-called ‘black smokers’ of the East Pacific Rise, and in other locations along the extensive mid-ocean ridges. These black smokers pour out hot water in vents that are hundreds of meters across and their combined output exceeds 370 trillion gallons annually [see for example ].

To obtain some feel for how big this quantity is, it need only be pointed out that the water flowing into and down the Mississippi River from all sources totals 106 trillion gallons per year. The total annual output from these black smoker hydrothermal vents is therefore 3.5 times the volume of water discharged by the Mississippi. Interestingly, the picture presented from Adam’s Tablet indicates that, not just one but three mighty rivers, plus one smaller stream, all derived from this sub-surface source. If it is accepted that the flow rate of each river approximated to that of the Mississippi, a typical large river, then the total volume of water outpoured annually from the Eden source may well have approximated to 3.5 times that of the Mississippi annual flow rate. As a consequence, we may assume that the annual output from this geyser near the Garden of Eden was approximately equal to the combined annual output from all the black smoker vents that exist today on the mid-ocean ridges.

What’s in a name?
If this massive river system is so different from anything we have today, the question might then be raised about the significance of the word ‘Assyria’, which was used in connection with the Hiddekel river. This is legitimate since the Assyrian Empire is archaeologically well known. In fact the word used is not specifically ‘Assyria’ as such but Ashur or Asshur which literally means “straight, honest, happy, straight-forward or successful”. The word subsequently became applied to the nation of Assyria, but that was a later development and was not its original meaning. Indeed, in Adam’s time, there was no nation of Assyria, since that nation had its origin much later, around 1900 to 2000 BC. Rather, Adam appears to be describing a characteristic of the culture itself, perhaps its success.

Under these circumstances, it may be wondered what the word Havilah means from the phrase the ‘Land of Havilah’. The word literally means “to twist, whirl, dance or have circular motion”.  This may derive from the fact that the river encompassed or circled around that whole region so that it may mean “the land that was encircled (by the river)”. However, there is another possibility that may be worth exploring. The Hebrew name for Adam’s wife, Eve, is Havvah. This is only very slightly different from Havilah since the name of the land has an “il” replacing the second “v” in Eve’s name. Now it is well-known that there are many places in the Old Testament, the Tenach, where there is a play on words in the Hebrew, just as we might pun in English. This similarity between the two names may be nothing more than just that. But it is also possible that, during a transcription or translation of this ancient Tablet there was a mix-up in the letters. Indeed, Genesis was probably transcribed a number of times before the LXX translators did their work in 280 BC. If this really is a transcription problem, then that region may have specifically been “the Land of Havvah”, perhaps having been chosen by Adam as a gift for Eve because of its wealth. It may be for this reason it receives special mention in his narrative, but, at this point, we do not know for certain which option is correct.

Other difficulties in locating Havilah
There are further difficulties in accepting any of today’s river systems as being part of the system that Adam named. Many generations after Adam was in the Garden of Eden, the testimony of Tablet 4 records a global catastrophe in which massive amounts of water were outpoured from the earth’s interior. This is recorded by Noah’s sons in Genesis 7:11. Then, about 300 years later, Shem’s Tablet noted another catastrophe associated with the tower of Babel in Genesis 10:10 and elaborated on in Genesis 11. Finally there was a third global catastrophe listed in Genesis 10:25 where the continents were divided in the days of Peleg, some 200 years after the Babel event.

It is only once all the geological activity calmed down following this series of catastrophes that the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Chaldean civilizations developed. Indeed, the patriarch Abraham, whose story starts at Genesis 11:29, was born in the Chaldean city of Ur around 2300 BC. This was some 725 years after the continental division. The Table below summarizes the chronological developments in Mid-Eastern civilizations from the time that geological activity started to subside up until the time that the Children of Israel entered the land of Canaan. This time period is basically covered by Genesis beginning with Terah’s chronicle (Tablet 6) in chapter 11 and going on to the end of the book. The accompanying Table (below) gives the archaeological data and dates which can be shown to be in basic accord with the chronology that emerges from a study of these Genesis Tablets.  However, the immediate necessity is to establish the level of severity of two of these three catastrophes; how they would have affected the earth in general, and the land of Havilah in particular.

We obtain our first clue from the immense output of the Eden geyser supplying the four-river system which may have amounted to 370 trillion gallons annually or about 11 million gallons per second. The Hoover Dam maximum discharge rate is about one third of this, or about 3.75 million gallons per second, so we seem to have figures of the right order of magnitude [see ]. This huge output points to a significant sub-crustal source for the water. It is this matter which leads us on to discover the physical cause behind the three catastrophes mentioned above, and allows us to make an assessment of the changes they caused.


5810 - 3023 Creation 5810 Noah’s Flood 3554 Babel Catastrophe 3182 Peleg continental
Division 3023
2900 – 2600 PRE DYN & DYNASTY 1
2900 - 2767
Sothic cycle begins 2767
2767 - 2650

2900 – 2600
Byblos- timber to Egypt c2850
Ebla  occupied 2700 -2300
Ugarit c. 2600

2900-2750:  Sumerians  --
8 kings in post-Flood tradition
- 2750-2600: Includes first
dynasties at Uruk (Gilgamesh), Ur and Mari

2900 – 2345

Information scanty here.

2600 – 2345

Dynasties 3-6
2650 - 2345

2600- 2345

2600 – 2345
Kish main city state 2500

Cities of Troy and Tarsus emerge by 2500

2345 -- cosmic impact changes earth's axis tilt. Catastrophic destruction of sites worldwide.

2345 – 2060

“140 years of chaos & disorder”

1st Intermediate Period
Dynasties 7 – 11

2345 - 2061


Sites destroyed     
2345 - 2100
Abram enters Canaan 2247.
Isaac b. 2222.
Jacob b. 2162.
Joseph b 2071

Kish, Nineveh V & other cities suffer disaster.
Abram born in Ur 2322.
Akkad/Guti/Aggade Period 2334 – 2112
5 Kings of Sargonic line
Ur III  2112 -2004
Begun by Ur-Nammu.
Amorites invade Empire.

Over 350 sites destroyed including Troy II & Tarsus. Only ¼ reinhabited
2345 – 2000
Abram in Haran until 2247.

2060 – 1600

Dynasties 11 – 13
Joseph ruler in 2041 under Mentuhotpe II.
Sojourn starts 2032
Affliction starts with Amenemhet I in 2002
Moses born 1682
Moses commander for Khaneferre 1642
Exodus 1602 – time of Dedumose II


2100 – 1800
Byblos, Ebla, Ugarit, Mari in North and Canaanite & Amorite cities in the South.
1800 – 1550

AMORITE PERIOD Isin & Larsa Dynasties
2004 – 1763
1900 - 1741
1830 – 1595
(Hammurabi 1792-1749)
Hittite Invasion of Assyria and Babylonia

2000 – 1600
Assyrians make 21 merchant colonies w. written records, inc. Hattusas, Alisar and Kultepe
1750 - 1500

1627 - 1600 -- Santorini volcanic explosion. Worldwide "volcanic winter."

1600 – 1550

Chaos at the time of the Exodus.
2nd Intermediate Period
Hyksos  (Amalekites) take over “without a single battle”
Dynasties 14 – 17

Israel in Wilderness 1602-1562
Israel conquest 1562 – 1557
Mid Bronze IIc ends 1550

As Hittites pulled out of Babylon, Kassites moved in from mountains of Iran in 1595 with Agum II.
As Hittites pulled out of Aleppo (Assyria), the Hurrian (Mitanni) entered 

Volcanic winter food shortage forces Hittites to invade Babylon and Aleppo

1550 – 1180

Dynasties 18 – 20
1539 – 1069.
Amarna Period
1400 – 1300
Ramesside Period
1320 – 1069
Ramesses III conquers the "Sea People” 1188. They settle in Canaan

Israel settles in Canaan. Times of the Judges 1550 - 1090
“Sea People”  (Philistines) invade Cyprus, AnatoliaSyria, Phoenecia
1220 – 1180

1595 - 1157
Babylon fell to Elamites.
1550 – 1270
Assyria again independent  1350 – 1180.  After internal
Dissent it fell to Arameans

HATTI: Middle Kingdom
1500 - 1450
1430 - 1180
Empire ended by
Sea People attack. Phrygians moved into Anatolia.  

1220-1180 -- "Sea People" invade east Mediterranean, destroying empires, introduce iron.


 Help from recent developments in plasma physics
Let us begin this section of our investigation by noting some recent developments in space physics and cosmology based on work that has been performed in plasma laboratories. This has resulted in a plasma model for the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets. One scientific paper dealing with this is "Reviewing a Plasma Universe with Zero Point Energy." On this plasma model, the earth and all the other planets started off in a cool state and then heated up internally due to rapid radioactive decay processes. The additional information needed is that the material making up the earth’s interior had concentrations of water up to 20% depending on location. We see evidence for this in the composition of meteorites.

A concentration of water
Even though many minerals in the earth’s interior contain water, there is, according to the plasma model, a region beneath the surface enriched with water. In the case of the earth, this includes what is now called the asthenosphere, a region about 100 to 260 kilometers below the surface, or about 60 to 160 miles. Rapid radioactive heating of the interior would drive off this water from the minerals and move it towards the surface. There it would enrich the asthenosphere in its water content. The internal heating of our planet would cause the water to be driven towards the surface where it would erupt as continuously flowing geysers and springs. It would be this internal source of water that was erupting near the Garden of Eden. Indeed, under these circumstances, it is easier to visualize why such a massive amount was being outpoured continuously. But there were increasingly large amounts of water under pressure building up under the crust. As time went on, the pressure built very significantly until it reached a critical stage.

The example from the planet Mars
It is important to realize that other planets were facing a similar problem as the same processes were acting there. For example, in the case of Mars, the water involved in this activity was outgassed from its interior. Evidence of the eruption of water takes a variety of forms. For example, the largest outflow channel system on Mars is found on the north-west slopes of the Tharsis region. Dr James M. Dohm of the University of Arizona stated: "The best explanation is that they were formed by catastrophic floods that at their peak potentially discharged as much as 50,000 times the flow of the Amazon river, Earth's largest river." In the news release from the University of Arizona for 3rd August 2001 Dohm elaborated further: "At sustained peak discharge rates, floods through the valleys would have filled a large ocean (96 million cubic kilometres) hypothesized for northern Mars in about 8 weeks, and a smaller ocean (14 million cubic kilometres) in the same region in about 8 days, according to the scientists' calculations. The large ocean is equivalent to about a third the volume of the Indian Ocean, or more than three times the volume of the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, South China Sea and Arctic Ocean combined. The smaller ocean is equal in volume to the Arctic Ocean." The data were in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 106, June 2001. The news release is at:

To obtain some conception of how much water is involved we note that this outflow on Mars was estimated to be 96 million cubic kilometers in 8 weeks. If the flow rate is taken as constant, the water poured out at a rate of 20 cubic kilometers per second or 5.25 trillion gallons per second. Imagine for a moment - if this has happened on Mars, similar, but up-scaled events must also have happened on earth. In each case, water would have burst forth from the interior of the planet as a result of the radioactive heating of hydrated minerals in the planet’s mantle. To obtain some idea of the quantities involved for the Earth, we note that the approximate diameter of Mars is 4,200 miles compared with Earth’s 8,000. This means that the volume of Earth is 6.9 times that of Mars. It follows, therefore, that there would be approximately 6.9 times the volume of hydrated minerals and so 6.9 times the volume of water outpoured on Earth compared with Mars. The total water volume erupted on Mars was calculated as being [96 + 14 = 110] million cubic kilometers, this means that the approximate amount outpoured in the case of Earth was [110 x 6.9 = 759] million cubic kilometers.

How many oceans of water?
This event on Mars must have been accompanied by ongoing, planet-wide earthquake activity equivalent to thousands of volcanoes erupting. On the Earth, this catastrophic event has been calculated by Dr. Walter T. Brown Jr. as having the explosive power of over 10,000 volcanoes of the type like Krakatoa at any given point in the eruption. In the case of the Earth, the outgassed volume of 759 million cubic kilometers is 2.6 times the volume of the Indian Ocean or 2.1 times the volume of the Atlantic with all its adjacent seas. It is approximately equal to the volume of the Pacific if its smaller adjacent seas are ignored. In other terms, since the total volume of the Earth’s oceans is currently 1.3 billion cubic kilometers, this means that just over half the volume of our present oceans was outpoured in this event. Since the total area of the earth’s surface is 510 million square kilometers, it then follows that the outpoured volume would cover the whole surface of the earth to a depth of 1.5 kilometers if the earth was a smooth globe.

How long did it take to happen?
As to the time taken for this event to occur, we note that, in the case of Mars, the main outpouring process was estimated to have lasted about 8 weeks. In the case of Earth, there was 6.9 times the volume outpoured, so, other things being equal, it would take 6.9 times as long to erupt. The other factor involved is the length of the split in the planet’s surface from which the water was erupted. This is very obvious on Mars as the main outflow channels went about one third of the way around the planet’s circumference. This is visible as a canyon system which extends for 4,400 miles. On Earth, the points of eruption today are all along the mid-ocean ridges. This geological evidence, plus that given below, also suggests that the mid-ocean ridge system constituted the point of crustal weakness where the water poured out. This ridge system is one continuous crack that extends for 40,400 miles. Since this is 9.2 times as long as the Martian example, the outpouring of a given quantity of water on Earth by this process should only take 1/9.2 the length of time taken on Mars.

 Therefore, in order to get some feel for the time taken on Earth for this event to occur we multiply the 8 weeks by 6.9 times the volume and divide by 9.2 to obtain a time of 6 weeks or 42 days. Obviously, this was the duration of the main explosive event during which massive earth movements accompanied the eruption. After the peak outpouring had occurred, the most intense activity tapered off. If the average of 1.5 kilometer depth of water mentioned above was basically outpoured in these 42 days, this means that, at any given location on the earth’s surface, water was building up at the rate of 35.7 meters per day or close to 1.5 meters per hour. In other terms that is 2.5 centimeters, or one inch, per minute. By way of comparison with something familiar, the world’s maximum rainfall rate occurs during the summer monsoon season in the foothills of the Himalayas. The peak monsoon downpour rate, recorded in the period 2000 to 2004, was 12.058 centimeters (or 4.82 inches) per hour and was measured by Md. N. Islam of the Bangladesh University at Dhaka and H. Uyeda of the Nagoya University, Japan. Using this hourly monsoon maximum for comparison, we find that the volume of water falling during the catastrophic outgassing event was over 124 times greater than the heaviest rainfall currently observed on earth.

The record of the eyewitnesses
Well, what did the eyewitnesses say? After all, we do have the personal testimony of Shem, Ham and Japheth who were on the Ark and survived the ordeal. In their account, in Tablet 4, they state: “In the six-hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, in the twenty-seventh day of the month, on this very day all the fountains of the great deep exploded upwards, and cataracts, newly amassed in the sky, cascaded down. And the newly generated rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11, 12 LXX). This expanded literal translation is needed to bring out the full force of the words used in this Greek translation of the Hebrew from about 280 BC. In view of the fact that the translation was done by Jewish scholars well versed in both languages and the Scriptures using the ancient paleo-Hebrew text, we obtain some insights as to what was in there and what their understanding of it was. Further details on the linguistics can be found in a note at the end of this article.   

In addition, there are legends and traditions from many tribes and people groups around the earth. They help fill out the picture a little more.  From ‘Myths and Legends of Ancient Israel’ we have the following comment: “The days of the Flood approached. The people began to be alarmed. The earth trembled and was tossed about. The arteries of the earth broke and spurted out water. The Flood burst out.” From the Book of Jasher we read: “On that day, the Lord caused the whole earth to shake, and the sun darkened. The foundations of the earth raged, and the whole earth moved violently. The lightning flashed and the thunder roared, and all the fountains of the earth burst forth in a way not known to the inhabitants before.” The Book of Enoch presents it this way: “And I saw the earth –a rolling sphere - become inclined in the abyss. The moment of destruction was at hand. Mountains suspended over mountains, hills sinking upon hills. Lofty trees toppled headlong – they sank down into chasms. My voice faltered. I cried out and spoke ‘Lo the earth – it is destroyed.’”

One may reasonably ask as to the whereabouts of the geological strata that this event produced. It is reasonable to suspect that the present mid-ocean ridge system was the site where the crustal weakness existed. This suspicion is reinforced since as the remains of the ‘fountains of the deep,’ namely the black smoker vents which continually outpour water today, are located there. Under the original conditions, this water was under huge pressure, in a similar manner to volcanoes. As a consequence, the pressurized hot water would have ripped out portions of the crust as it erupted, and the mixture jetted high into our atmosphere. Because it is under pressure from the Earth’s interior, the debris from a volcanic eruption reaches heights of 15 miles or more. In a similar way, the mixture of rock debris, mud and water was also lofted to these great heights. It would then pour down as a torrential rain-storm such as had never been seen before or since. It would have the appearance of waterfalls coming out of the sky. At the same time, there would be tidal waves of water surging across the land, carrying rocks, mud, and other debris with considerable force. These surface tsunamis would strip off all the uppermost layers of rock strata and plane them down to the most solid bases that existed. At the same time the debris would be washed into the deepening troughs which would be activated by the geological processes that were occurring. The sediment would then build up in these troughs.

Where are these strata in the geological record?
In our geological quest, we note that every continent has large areas where the most ancient rocks are exposed. These areas have stood solid throughout geological history and have been planed down in the manner expected by the catastrophic process we have been discussing. These areas, geologically, are called cratons or ‘shields’, and they form the nucleus of each of the continents. For example, there is the Canadian Shield, the Western Australian Shield, the South American craton, and so on. The remainder of each continent has been built up from different, more recent strata which has been added to the edges of the cratons.

Now on some geological maps they show the original supercontinent of Pangea fitted together like a jigsaw from today’s continents. The mid-ocean ridges are the points where the jigsaw fits together. On this type of geological map, two features are relevant. Firstly, the edges of the cratons basically follow the trend of the current mid-ocean ridge system, but at some distance. A second point is needed to complete the picture. Around the edge of the cratons, and separating them from the incipient mid-ocean ridge system, is a set of strata which has been built up with material from the cratons and elsewhere. These strata were deposited in down-warping geological troughs. These down-warped regions straddled what is now the mid-ocean ridge system. As the eruptions died down, sediments were churned into the troughs and settled, so the line of weakness, that would later be the mid-ocean ridge, was buried but still in existence.  It is possible that these areas down-warped because the sub-crustal water had been erupted and support therefore had been removed.

The debris layer
In a number of key locations, the strata deposited in these troughs includes a deep layer of pebbles, cobbles and boulders, some angular, some rounded, in a special type of matrix similar to cement. In some cases these cobbles, boulders and pebbles have been transported distances of up to 500 kilometers, and mixed in with local rock. This debris layer can be 300 meters thick or more. On top of this layer are deep water sediments often several kilometers thick that came from the material swept off the cratons plus the added debris that had been chewed out from the crust by the erupting water. Sediments from both sources were deposited in sinking geological troughs that occurred at the margins of the cratons.

Generally, geologists associate the occurrence of pebbles, cobbles and boulders in a matrix with transportation by ice as this is the usual mechanism to transport such material over the large distances involved. As a result, this type of rock is called “tillite” and is considered to have a glacial origin. But the tillite associated with the cratons is different from more recent tillites which have a softer matrix. In addition, when these rocks were deposited on the super-continent, some of them were deposited at sea level at the equator. For these rocks to be formed by ice would require the whole earth to be completely covered in ice, including the oceans. For this reason, those who hold to this scenario call it the “snowball earth” model.

Nevertheless, not all geologists agree with this as there are some important geological indications to the contrary. We only need to focus on one relevant aspect here. One of the key pieces of evidence concerns the special matrix in which the pebbles, cobbles and boulders are cemented. It is a type of limestone which only forms in warm to hot water. This means that the tillite itself did not form by ice but rather by the action of warm to hot water. This is precisely the situation described by the catastrophic eruption of water from the earth’s interior. Moreover, this process had the power to transport pebbles, cobbles and boulders over 500 kilometers without difficulty. Ice was not needed in this particular case.

Strata with muscles
These strata then grade up into deep water sediments. In South Australia, and elsewhere, some of these sediments are laminated and contain a high proportion of carbon as well as kerogen. Interestingly, kerogen is the breakdown product from animal and human muscles. It would seem, then, that these strata, which are over 2.5 kilometers thick, contain the remains of all the life-forms from that era. Because of the violence of the event, and the chemical content of the hot waters, all life forms would have been pulverized and then dissolved. In addition, all rock surfaces were planed down and gouged out by the churning debris. Thus, not only the people and animals were destroyed. The whole land of Havilah, along with its gold, was eroded away and spread over thousands of square miles. Following this, the region then downwarped into a geological trough and other strata built on top of it. Later on, earth movements elevated some of the material from troughs up into mountain ranges.


Turning up the heat
The  geological activity continued as the interior of the Earth continued to heat up by rapid radioactive decay processes. Eventually, some 500 years after the catastrophic eruption of water, the moment occurred when the earth’s mantle temperatures were so high that it became molten. It has been pointed out by physical chemist, Professor Walter J. Moore, that when a rock melts, its volume increases by about 10%. If the rock was spherical, its circumference would increase by 18%. In the case of the earth, this process of internal melting again put pressure on the crust. At this crucial time, a number of asteroidal bodies impacted the earth. One of the major impacts occurred in the Yucatan, quite close to the pre-existing line of weakness that we now have as the mid-ocean ridge system.

This impact provided the trigger mechanism for a later major event. Because of the intense internal pressure, the crust split entirely along this line of weakness. As a result, the mid-ocean ridge system, which had been buried below a great depth of strata, began to emerge. Pressure from the Earth’s interior forced the continents apart, and the various parts of the earth’s crust migrated, while the excess liquid rock from the interior flowed out making a new ocean floor. As a result, Africa and America and the other continents separated from this ridge system. This started the action of plate tectonics with its massive mountain building which led to the earth surface we know it today. It is of great interest to note that the width of the Atlantic ocean is of the order of 4,300 miles which is close to 18% of the Earth’s present circumference.

The eyewitness record of continental drift
This episode is briefly treated in the record of Genesis 10:25.  “And to Eber were born two sons, the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth, the continents, were cleft and thoroughly divided, and the name of his brother was Joktan.” It was so catastrophic an event that he did not need to elaborate; everyone alive knew what had happened. In the Alexandrian LXX text the word used to describe the event is extremely emphatic, but “cleft and thoroughly divided” is the closest we come in an English translation. In the Hebrew it is plain that it is the super-continental land mass which is in view here. The word translated as ‘earth’ is not the word used for human society, but rather one which implies “that which is solid and firm”; in other words the land-mass, or even the planet itself, since this is the word used to describe our planet in Genesis 1. Indeed, the Hebrew name “Peleg” comes from a root which means to “utterly cleave asunder with a channel of water coming through.” This has come through into the English language as the word “archipelago” describing channels of water separating islands. Again we have the ocean or ‘pelagic deposits’ of geology, or even the word ‘pelican’, which is a bird that splits the water to get fish. This carries through into other languages. For example, the Greeks called the Mediterranean Sea “Pelagos”.  Thus the continental division in the days of Peleg was attested to in the record of Tablet 5.

Which clock should we use?
Geologically, the two catastrophes discussed here are known as the snowball earth event, dated at 720 million atomic years, while the continental division that was triggered by impact, dated at 65 million atomic years, is known as the Cretaceous – Tertiary extinction or simply K/T extinction. However, this dating assumes that the rate of ticking of the atomic clock has remained constant. Recent research has suggested otherwise. Atomic clocks are governed by electric and magnetic forces, whereas our usual calendar is governed by gravitational effects, such as the time it takes for the earth to orbit the Sun. While it can be shown that gravitational phenomena behave in a consistent way, it has also been shown that the electric and magnetic properties of space have changed over time. This change has affected the rate at which all atomic clocks tick. The properties of space are such that all atomic clocks ticked more rapidly in the past, and thereby give the impression that millions or billions of years have elapsed. In fact, these atomic years are not the same as our calendar, or orbital, years. 

  Atomic Years Ago   Era
  Years Before Christ
 Years After Creation

14 -8 Billion

Creation Week



8-4.57 Billion unnamed 5810-5344 0-466

4.57-3.8 Billion




3.8 - 2.5 billion




2.5 Bil -  900 Mil

Early Proterozoic



900 -600 million Cryogenian 3677-3460 2133-2350

Catastrophe 1
730 million

"Snowball Earth"
Noah's Flood
3554 BC 2256

600-542 million




542 - 488 million




488-443 million




443 - 416 million




416 - 359 million




359 - 299 million




299 - 251 million Permian 3231-3182 2579-2628

Catastrophe 2
251 million

Permian Extinction
Babel Catastrophe



251 - 200 million




200 - 146 million


3139- 3092


146 - 65.5 million Cretaceous 3092- 3023 2718-2787

Catastrophe 3
65.5 million

K/T Extinction Peleg division begins

3023 is start

2787 is start

65.5 - 23 million




23 - 1.81 million




2.6 million

Ice Age starts Time of Job

c. 2900 BC


1.81 million - 2345BC





As a result of this ongoing research, with its published papers, it has been determined that all atomic clocks behave in a way that is mathematically predictable. So all atomic time can be corrected to read actual dates on our usual yearly calendar [see "Reviewing the Zero Point Energy"]. When this is done, it turns out that the three major catastrophic events in the geological column, and its atomic time scale, correspond very closely to the three catastrophes mentioned in the record of these Genesis Tablets, and their orbital or gravitational time-
scale. The catastrophe which has not been mentioned here is geologically known as the Permian extinction and dates atomically as 251 million years ago. This event in atomic time closely corresponds to the Genesis event known as the Babel crisis in orbital or calendar years. This crisis occurred about 300 years after the Flood and about 200 years before the Peleg continental division. The Combined Timeline chart above fills out the entire scenario in a little more detail.

What happened to Havilah and its gold
Here we have discussed the two catastrophes which were relevant to our purpose because they show what has happened to the Old World, the world that perished. In understanding these two of the three catastrophes, it then becomes easy to see the reason why the Biblical book of Ezekiel 31:18 states “To which of the trees from the Garden of Eden will you be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth…” So the trees of Eden and its beautiful Garden, are now in the depths of the earth, having been covered with rock strata from the two subsequent catastrophes. Likewise, the Land of Havilah and its gold has long since disappeared, so searching for it and its treasures is futile.

What we can do, however, is seek the mercy of the God Who preserved Noah and his family in the midst of the Flood, and who preserved Peleg during continental division. According to Adam’s Tablet, this God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden in the cool of the day. This shows that God has designed us to have fellowship with Himself. But Adam’s Tablet also shows that this fellowship was broken by Adam’s sin, and could only be restored by a blood sacrifice. Over 5,500 years later, the Creator Who walked in the Garden in His Glory with Adam, put aside this Glory and became a Man. He lived with us for about 33 years demonstrating how He expected mankind to behave. Then He was betrayed by an associate, tried before a cowardly judge, scourged by Roman soldiers and nailed to a Cross on the hill Golgotha, just outside Jerusalem. There He shed His blood as an atonement for the sins of the whole world and died. Three days later He rose from the dead and, after being seen by over 500 witnesses over a period of 40 days, He ascended back to Heaven. In so doing, He has opened the way for fellowship to be restored between the Creator and any individual who wants to accept His sacrifice. He leaves that choice to us in loving expectation.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

End-note on Genesis 7:11,12
The Septuagint Greek translation literally reads: “In the six-hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, in the twenty-seventh day of the month, on this very day all the fountains of the great deep exploded upwards, and cataracts, newly amassed in the sky, cascaded down. And the newly generated rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11, 12 LXX).

The word translated “fountains” is in the plural as πηγαι. It is the same word used in Genesis 2:6 but in the singular, namely “fountain” πηγη.

The words translated “exploded upwards” includes the αι root which has the idea of “lifting up” and “rushing”, and this is linked with the root for the word explosion, namely

The word translated “cataracts” is καταρρακται and also bears the meaning to ‘cascade’

The words translated “newly amassed” have the root νεω which means ‘new’, ‘youthful’ or ‘fresh’ and the word θησαν which means ‘heaped up’ or ‘amassed’.

The word translated “newly generated” is the Greek εγενετο which has the root γενε which bears the idea of birth, nativity, newly formed, etc.

Barry Setterfield – November 2008.