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Flood geology (also creation geology or diluvial geology) is the attempt to interpret and reconcile geological features of the Earth in accordance with a literal belief in the global flood described in Genesis 6–8.In the early 19th century, diluvial geologists hypothesized that specific surface features were evidence of a worldwide flood which had followed earlier geological eras; after further investigation they agreed that these features resulted from local floods or glaciers.This natural philosophy was recast in Biblical terms by the theologian Thomas Burnet, whose Sacred Theory of the Earth published in the 1680s proposed complex explanations based on natural laws, and explicitly rejected the simpler approach of invoking miracles as incompatible with the methodology of natural philosophy (the precursor to science).Burnett maintained that less than 6,000 years ago the Earth had emerged from chaos as a perfect sphere, with paradise on land over a watery abyss.In the 20th century, young Earth creationists revived flood geology as an overarching concept in their opposition to evolution, assuming a recent six-day Creation and cataclysmic geological changes during the Biblical Deluge, and incorporating creationist explanations of the sequence of rock strata.In the early stages of development of the science of geology, fossils were interpreted as evidence of past flooding.In early 19th century Britain, "Diluvialism" attributed landforms and surface features such as beds of gravel and erratic boulders to the destructive effects of this supposed global Deluge, but by 1830 geologists increasingly found that the evidence only showed relatively local floods.
When it was pointed out that lower layers were often less dense and forces that shattered rock would destroy organic remains, he resorted to a divine miracle having temporarily suspended gravity.
His fundamental principles of stratigraphy published in 1669 established that rock strata formed horizontally and were later broken and tilted, though he assumed these processes would occur within 6,000 years including a worldwide Flood.
In his influential Principles of Philosophy of 1644, René Descartes applied his mechanical physical laws to envisage swirling particles forming the Earth as a layered sphere.
This crust had dried out and cracked, and its collapse caused the Biblical Deluge, forming mountains as well as underground caverns where the water retreated.
He made no mention of fossils, but inspired other diluvial theories that did.
The fact that these layers were still intact indicated that any later Flood had been local rather than universal.