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I once before asked a question on how to quickly submerge a large landmass/continent.

The answers there basically concluded that literally ''Sinking'' (a la Atlantis) is pretty much impossible to do fast.

So I have thought about it a lot more and came up with the following scenario: Imagine a large mass of land that is basically a huge valley surrounded on all sides by huge mountain ranges. The valley itself is below sea level (a lot below sea level) but the peaks of these surrounding mountains are above sea level and thus keep the enormous valley from flooding. Could I justify the quick flooding of this huge (think roughly Germany sized) valley by one of the mountains in this range by way of some freak (if need be magic) disaster suddenly becoming much lower therefore allowing the surrounding sea to flood in and flood the entire valley leaving only the peaks of the mountain ranges to stay above water?

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  • $\begingroup$ Black Sea Deluge hypothesis. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 23 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ 40 days and 40 nights.... $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 23 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ "Believable" or "scientific"? There is is a lot of people that believe that the Great Flood was real. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Apr 23 at 18:18
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This is actually happened in the Mediterranean area during the Messinian salinity crisis

The Gibraltar strait was closed and the water coming from the rivers wasn't enough to compensate the evaporation, leading to the reduction of the Mediterranean sea.

When the strait was opened again, it took about a century to fill the large Mediterranean valley with water coming from the Atlantic Ocean, leaving only the islands standing out of the waters, and the waterfall at Gibraltar must have been impressive.

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  • $\begingroup$ You beat me to the punch! nitpick (still taking from wikipedia): most of the flooding happened in the first couple months/years. I assume that means "most" by area rather than volume. $\endgroup$ – ShapeOfMatter Apr 23 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ The Black Sea did it too... $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 23 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ see also xkcd/1190 (if you're not familiar with it, well, "Wait For It..." $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 23 at 14:28
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Sure.

There are lots of pesky and-or interesting details like timing (how quick is "quick"?), tectonic (how did this landmass form in the first place?), and aftermath (the mountains will themselves be a substantial landmass, onto which many people would flee).

As for how to suddenly break up this ring of mountains: Probably a volcanic eruption, maybe a really big earthquake. Just note that either of those, on a scale big enough to get a mountain out of the way, would be major disasters in their own right.

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Missoula floods, over the course of 2000 years at the end of the latest major glaciation, every about 55 years, vast areas were affected by glacial lake outburst floods - happens when the ice dam containing a glacial lake fails (see the documentary). Others say there weren't periodic floods, but a single catastrophic one.

Now, the Missoula floods aren't singular, the glacial lake outburst floods happen even nowadays or very recent at geological time scales. But those at the end of the last major glaciation should have been magnificent. The Straight of Dover was formed by two such events.

The Channeled Scablands saw quite a few - this last one is relevant to the question because nowadays is (an eroded) dry land of significant area - the photos in the article are quite impressive.

(Jökulhlaup is a special case of glacial outburst flood, when the flood consists of a mixture of water and ice. In Iceland they are formed by volcanic eruptions under glaciers. You may use this mechanism in the setup of your story)

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