46. This was, then, the veritable universal deluge. Opinions are divided as to the cause which produced it; but, whatever they may have been, the fact no less exists.
It is generally supposed that a sudden change took place in the position of the axes of the Earth, by which the poles were displaced, whence a general projection of the water upon the surface. If this change had come about gradually, the waters would have been displaced by degrees without agitation; whilst everything indicates a violent and sudden commotion. While in ignorance of the veritable cause, one can give only hypothesis.
The displacement of the waters can have been occasioned only by the uprising of certain parts of the solid crust, and the formation of new mountains on the bosom of the waters, like that which took place at the commencement of the tertiary period; but, beyond there having been a general inundation, this would explain nothing of the sudden change of the temperature of the poles.