The Great Flood
"And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered."
Genesis 7:17-20, The Bible (King James Version)

What happens when God (or the gods) decides to Kill It with Water. All of it.

Older than the book itself, this is the one element nearly ubiquitous in mythology, and with good reason: it may have had a basis in reality note , but as a kind of cultural memory it forms the backbone of many origin mythologies, from the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime to the biblical Book of Genesis. Usually the moral of the story is "don't piss off the gods," but sometimes the flooding is part of the process of (re)creating a world.

Some scientists argue that the prevalence of the Great Flood in Eastern Mediterranean myth derives from a historical event, in which the Black Sea was suddenly flooded in about 5600 BCE. However this would only account for the Middle Eastern and possibly the European myths, not the ones from the rest of the world. Some of various religious persuasions believe that the prevalence of the Great Flood myth derives from an actual worldwide great flood caused by their deity of choice (although a global flood isn't seen as plausible by most scientists)

Expect a Giant Wall of Watery Doom.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Saint Seiya: the god Poseidon, wishing to wash away the filth of mankind, raises the oceans to destroy all of civilization. In the anime, this is compounded by the priestess Hilda praying to Odin to preserve the ice in the Grim Up North eternally frozen; her absence causes it to melt and contribute to the flooding.
  • Dragon Knights: the demon fish Varawoo sunk the world before it was sealed away.
  • Now and Then, Here and There: Don't piss off Lala Ru.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Noah's Giant Flood card symbolizes this event. (His name is not a coincidence, given his obvious God-complex, and his entire deck (which he calls "7 Turns of Creation") the symbolizes the development and evolution of the world; he unveils his key card, Shinato's Arc, right after doing so.

     Comic Books  

  • Suske en Wiske: Suske en Wiske search for Noah's arc in "De Adelijke Ark".

     Comic Strips  

  • Nero: In "De Ark van Nero" Nero builds an arc to survive a giant flood.

     Fan Works  

  • In A.A. Pessimal's Good Omens fic I Shall Endure..., the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley are ordered by their respective Managements to assist and advise a boat-builder called Noah and his family, ensuring the Ark is built on schedule and that Noah's energy and enthusiasm do not flag. What Happens Next more-or-less follows, but embellishes, the biblical account. It also establishes that this was the same flood experienced by Deucalion, Dardanus of Arcadia and Emperor Yao, that did in the dinosaurs and the Minoan civilization, and that destroyed Atlantis, Lemuria and Hy-Brasil.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. The Mad Scientist plans to use his Tesla doomsday device to erupt every volcano in Antarctica, inundating Earth's coastal cities, plus the additional benefit in destroying the Master Computer that controls Earth, buried under the South Pole.
  • In the original Shadowchasers, the main antagonist plans to destroy the world this way, leading to a unique interpretation of the story in Genesis:
    Jinx: This is crazy. In Genesis, after the Great Flood, God promised Noah that He would never flood the world again."
    Jalal: True, the Almighty said that He would never again flood the world. But apparently, now a devil is trying to do it.

     Films — Animated  

  • The "Rite of Spring" segment of Fantasia actually ends with the entire Earth being flooded by a massive tidal wave caused by a solar eclipse.
  • Retold in Fantasia 2000 in the re-imagined "Noah's Ark" adaptation of Pomp and Circumstance.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire the Biblical flood was caused by the Atlantis' weapons research and the city was sunk to save it from destruction.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • The 1933 film Deluge, mainly known through Stock Footage of the destruction of New York until an Italian dubbed version was rediscovered in the 1980's.
  • This was the end result in 2012. The earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were merely a prelude.
  • This happens in Noah, starring Russell Crowe, naturally enough.


  • Raptor Red: A flood of the sort that only comes every thousand years strikes Raptor Red and her family around the middle of the story.
  • In Shane Johnson's Ice an astronaut ends up traveling back in time where he experiences the biblical flood.
  • Flood is a hard sci-fi depiction of a global flood in modern times.
  • One of the two founding myths of Ankh-Morpork involves a boat that was built to withstand a great flood, containing two of every animal. The accumulated waste products of all the animals was tipped over the side, and they called it Ankh-Morpork.
    • In Carpe Jugulum, one of the things that worries the Slightly Reverend Mightily Oats about Omnian dogma is that every Discly culture has a flood myth, similar but different to the one in the Book of Om.
  • According to Word of God, the past of the Septimus Heap universe featured one, causing Syren Island to sink beneath the sea.
  • Referenced in Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, in which the origin of the Myth was tracked back to the flooding of the Red Sea.
  • Kine, by AR Lloyd, plays with this. The flood in question is a perfectly ordinary localised inundation of low-lying flat land by heavy rainfall, but it is presented as a seemingly global event from the point of view of the protagonists - who are weasels, whose point of view is only half an inch above the water, so it makes sense.

     Live Action TV  

  • Gaius Baltar mentions the story of the Flood as explained in the Book of Phytia to Roslin, comparing his role in the destruction of the Colonies to that of the Flood. While no actual Flood is seen, the story is clearly a reference to the biblical story and may even have been its origin.
  • On Dominion, Gabriel explains that the entire Flood story was metaphor for what really happened, since it was easier for humans to understand than the truth. Said truth being that the "flood" was Michael, who believed that humanity had to be punished for daring to worship angels instead of God. The "ark" in turn was actually a bunker Noah built to try and save some people from the slaughter.


  • Charlie Patton, a 1930s blues singer had a song named "High Water Everywhere" about the Mississippi floods.
  • "When The Levee Breaks" by Kansas Joe Mccoy and Memphis Minnie is another blues record about the local floods in the South and was famously covered by Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin IV.
  • The Clash describes how London drowns in London Calling.

     Mythology and Religion  

  • In Abrahamic religions:
    • The Torah, and by extension, The Bible. Noah lives.
    • Averted in The Qur'an, in which the flood is merely local and destroys only one civilization.
    • Gnosticism subverts this trope, as it does so many. Noah constructed the ark according to the instruction of the malevolent Demiurge, but it was burned down with magical fire by Eve's daughter Norea in a fit of supernatural rage. He built a second ark, which turned out to be useless because they were just transferred temporarily into Heaven for the length of the flood.
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh: The earliest recorded example. At one poiny, Gilgamesh comes across Utnapishtim, who had been made immortal by the gods in reward for building a giant reed boat to save his family, his village's craftsmen, and a number of baby animals from a world-destroying flood. After running aground, he even sent out a dove and raven to check if the water had receded, although the order's reversed from the biblical account—the dove found nothing, the raven found land and did not come back, so Utnapishtim and his crew disembarked.
  • Various Native American mythologies:
    • The Aztecs believed that the Earth had been created and destroyed four times before the present age, and the end of the last age was a watery one.
  • Various Asian-Pacific and Polynesian mythologies:
  • Classical Mythology has three, most notably Deucalion's.
  • This list could go on forever. Just check Wikipedia here.
  • According to Plato, Atlantis was destroyed by earthquakes and floods.
  • Norse Mythology. Ýmir is killed and his blood flooded the earth and drowned all but two of the frost giants.
    • Eventually after Ragnarök the world will sink.
  • Hindu Mythology: A demon threw the earth into the sea and Vishnu, as his boar Avatar Varaha, went down and brought it back to the surface, killing the demon.
  • Chinese Mythology, but instead of the flood wiping out humanity, Yu the Engineer directed the construction of great canals and redirected rivers to control the flood and provide better irrigation for farming. Yu learned his lesson after Emperor Yao executed his father, Gun, whose attempt to control the flood by damming the rivers and seas with gargantuan dykes only made the floods worse when the dykes inevitably broke. Instead of being a story about the sin of man, the Chinese flood myth is a Taoist parable about cooperating with nature instead of futilely fighting against it.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Vampire: The Masquerade calls the extremely powerful, extremely ancient founders of the clans "Antediluvians" for exactly this reason — they predated the Great Flood, and were likely some of the only things to survive while the Earth drowned.


     Video Games  

  • Perfect Chaos from Sonic Adventure.
  • One of these apparently happened sometime between Mega Man ZX and Legends.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker takes place in the Adult timeline of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; long story short, Ganondorf broke free, Link wasn't around to stop him, so the Goddesses froze Hyrule in time and flooded it. The survivors fled to the mountaintops, which had become islands, and eventually Hyrule became only a legend. At the end of the game, Hyrule is flooded again, this time destroying it completely.
  • In Final Fantasy III, destroying the balance between Light and Darkness plunges the world into the latter, freezing the surface in time and then flooding it so only a temple and a priestess remain above water.
  • The goal of Team Aqua in Pokémon Sapphire, Emerald and Alpha Sapphire, which they intent to achieve by unleashing Kyogre. What they don't realize is that the flood would be rather more drastic and rather more permanent than they had thought.
  • Killing Poseidon unleashes a great flood in God of War 3. And he's merely the first God to die in that game.
  • Konami's Noahs Ark actually takes place during the flood where the water slowly raises during gameplay.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn explains that before years began to be counted, Ashunera expressed great grief over the warring of the Beorc and Laguz, and caused the entire world to be flooded due to her grief overlapping with her power unintentionally. She then split into Ashera and Yune, causing a war of dominance to take place.
  • In Afterlife, this can randomly befall the planet you're supposed to be taking care of, killing off the entire population "except for a few smarty-pants who figured out how to build a boat."
  • While Halo doesn't have a literal flood, it certainly has a metaphorical one (called, of course, the Flood). And it was definitely successful in wiping out the previous galactic civilization. To quote Genesis 9:11:
    "I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."


  • Homestuck: In the Alpha timeline, when the Condescence openly takes over Earth, she floods the whole planet to make it more hospitable to an aquatic alien like herself. By the time her flood is done, humans are all but extinct and Earth is completely covered by oceans, broken only by floating prefab slums home to alien exiles and by Dirk's home on top of a ruined skyskraper.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • The Box: Strongly implied to be just getting underway at the end, when the old man and his lovely young companion wind up carrying their two animals in boxes to—The Ark. While it's pouring rain.
  • Gargamel ends up creating such a flood that covers the entire Smurf Forest by using magic beans in The Smurfs episode "Blue Eyes Returns". It took Smurfette and her pegasus friend Blue Eyes to fix the problem and restore the forest to normal.
  • Rugrats: in the episode Two by two, Grandpa Boris tells the babies the story of Noah's Ark. They naturally re-enact their own ship and collect small critters in their backyard before it starts to rain (which they believe to be a flood like the Biblical one). They wonder why Noah originally collected two of each animal, but quickly deduce it's for having a friend along for the ride. Not that babies in a G-rated show would get the real reason though.
  • The Simpsons: In "Mom & Pop Art" Homer floods Springfield to make it into a modern artwork.

     Real Life  

  • The Netherlands have been victim of floods for centuries, due to the country being below sea level. The flood of 1953 was so disastrous that a unique project was created to built strong dykes and level the land higher: The Delta Works. It has to be read to be believed, but it actually worked!
    • It is said that "God may have created the Heavens and the Earth, but it was the Dutch that built the Netherlands."
  • The Boxing Day Tsunami.
  • The 2011 Australia floods.
  • A number of record-breaking floods throughout recorded history could be considered as these, at least in terms of regional and economic effects.
    • Rising waters due to global warming and the end of the Ice Age. Could have been The Flood. note 
  • There has been some evidence found of a massive flooding when the Black Sea originally formed, which possibly inspired the writings on such great Floods in the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh in the first place.
  • The prevalence of flood myths is beginning to be considered to be the result of most early human settlements being situated on or very close to a large river for fresh water, and large rivers tend to flood every ten to twenty years or so, occasionally catastrophically.
  • The Missoula Floods. About 15,000 years ago, Glacial Lake Missoula (located over — surprise! — Missoula, Montana), melted through a glacier arm that was damming it, and poured out over much of eastern Washington (whose torn-up landscape now has the distilled-awesome name of the Scablands), tore the Columbia Gorge a new one, and backflooded up the Willamette Valley eight hundred feet deep in places before draining into the Pacific. It created dry falls that briefly had ten times the water flow of all the present-day rivers of Earth combined. Better yet, this is known to have happened — though not to the same scale as the first time — at least thirty-five times. Many other glacial lakes — notably Lake Agassiz in central North America and Lake Altai in central Asia — are believed to have produced similar megafloods.

Alternative Title(s): Great Flood