Many cultures have a flood myth. Is any one aware of any myth having to do with the last glacial period? Or do all mythologies start when the ice has melted and caused wide spread flooding?

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    Do you mean myths originating from experiences of the last glacial period? With the first instances writing around 3200 BCE in Mesopotamia, and the last glacial period ending around 12000 BCE, that would require an uninterrupted oral tradition spanning at least 9000 years. Which, to me, seems...unlikely. – femtoRgon Jun 11 '15 at 17:21
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    I stumbled on this by chance this morning: The Vendidad "...The first chapter is dualistic creation myth, followed by the description of a destructive winter comparable with the great floods of various other mythologies." Some claim this "destructive winter" or "evil winters" is a reference to the last glacial period. – BobB Jun 12 '15 at 18:43
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    As for oral traditions consider "Recent studies show that Aboriginal traditions record sea level change over the past 10,000 years. Other studies suggest the volcanic eruptions that formed the Eacham, Euramo and Barrine crater lakes in northern Queensland more than 10,000 years ago are recorded in oral tradition. In addition to demonstrating the longevity of Indigenous oral traditions, emerging research shows that these stories can lead to new scientific discoveries. Aboriginal stories about objects falling from the sky have led scientists to meteorite finds they would not have known about." – BobB Jun 12 '15 at 19:00
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    @BobB where are you getting those quotes? – user62 Jun 13 '15 at 17:27
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    It seemed unlikely to me, but looking up what you've referenced, it appears I may have to stand corrected! Sounds like you've the makings of a good answer now, yourself. If so, you shouldn't hesitate to answer your own question. Not only is that allowed, you are explicitly encouraged to self-answer. – femtoRgon Jun 13 '15 at 18:35

In the Pacific Northwest USA, the Indian lore has many flood myths. The area has its fair share of floods, however, there was a glacial lake called Lake Missoula during the last ice age. The lake was held back by ice dams that broke at least once (called a glacial lake outburst flood), flooding nearly the entire Pacific Northwest. Though there has never been a solid connection with this event and the Indian lore, it is often suggested whenever the two are mentioned in the same place. As a resident of the area, I hear it all the time whenever the area's ancient history is discussed.

nearly SOURCES

  1. Here's a source that talks about some of that lore, but not the glacial Lake Missoula.
  2. A typical article discussing the myths and the actual flooding.
  3. An example myth.


It's a mistake to think that all or even most flood myths are the result of glacial melt. In fact, floods in general are the most common natural disaster; nearly every area in the world experiences them from time to time. Floods are most often caused by tsunamis and rivers overflowing from snow pack melt (not the same thing as glacial melt). There's a few notable exceptions throughout history, but most floods are caused by those two. And considering most ancient communities gathered around rivers and shorelines, it makes sense that a great many flood myths would develop around the world.

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    From the #2 source above: "...An Ojibwa Indian legend from around Lake Superior tells of a great snow that fell one September at the beginning of time: A bag contained the sun's heat until a mouse nibbled a hole in it. The warmth spilled over, melting the snow and producing a flood that rose above the tops of the highest pines." Could well be a reference to the ice age. Glacial Lake Missoula is not far. The many ancient shore lines are easily seen stepping up the mountain sides. It damned up and broke many times. – BobB Jun 14 '15 at 21:04
  • @BobB Yes, I certainly think it's possible, but it's one of those things that's realy hard to get any concrete evidence for. – user93 Jun 15 '15 at 5:01

Its more than possible, I know there are stories from the tribes of that event, the descriptions are too vivid. Just like its been proven that the Klamath kept the story of the formation of Crater lake, a 7000 year old event, the tribes of the Columbia kept stories of water that crested at the tops of mountains. That is not your average annual flood.


Something definetly with snow and ice:

According to some, the Aymaran creator god was the snow god, Kun. Angry at human beings, Kun once covered creation with snow and ice, and nothing but evil spirits could survive on the frozen world. After this ice flood, it was the gods of fertility who sent their sons, the Eagle Men, to create a new people, the Paka-Jakes, who still live near Lake Titicaca.

Leeming, David A. (1994). Creation Myths of the World

Personally, I think every Heaven-Earth Separation story is about the last glacial period. Specifically about people living in glaciers in expanses between the heaven-ice (heaven/firmament are solid in this stories) and earth. Read for example some native american creation myths with this analogy and judge for your self. They are found all around the world, even in places like Ghana...

I like this part of a Krachi creation myth, containing mundane details of everyday life in an glacier (according to my interpretation):

In the beginning Wulbari (Heaven· male) lived on top of Asase Ya (Earth· female). Man lived between them, but with little room to move. Man's squirming irritated Wulbari so much that he left and went up above. One of the things that bothered Wulbari was an old woman who, when grinding maize, kept hitting him with her pestle, and the smoke from the cooking fires bothered his eyes. Some say that Wulbari was annoyed because men would sometimes wipe their dirty hands on him. The Krachi people say that there was an old woman who used to cut off bits of Wulbari to flavor her soup.

Leeming, David A. (1994). Creation Myths of the World

Btw: Shiva has a blue throat, which is the color of glaciers from the inside, white or gray skin and is associated with ice.

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