Believers tend to be a little bifid in their view of Scripture, it's either this or that, and to interpret any statement as though of universal application. And for so much of Scripture that is exactly right. Here though God is not telling of morality or things of spiritual imperative, but a simple account of a special work he did for us.
I will suggest God expected(s) us to pad this account out with our own investigations at some time or other. If a father gave his children flutes would he not expect them to learn the music? Say thank you for the fine instrument later the giver may applaud your performance?
I will suggest then, that the rising landmass simply shows itself on the third day. The water may have been in a shallow condition for some time. [science: Stromatalite] Land can be formed quickly. [science: volcanic formation of Surtsey 1963/7] The continental lands though are probably formed by forces deep in the Earth, and the final completion of the land mass design was after the creative days. However below water the land is non functional, above water it is functional. It is the significant moment which we would mark. It's bit like; the builder has laid the floor so you can walk on it, no furnishing but for the first time you can stand in your building, you sense the progress.
[Psalm 104 v 5,6,7,8,9,10]
Verse 9 tells us something now confirmed by science, there was once one ocean therefore one landmass. [science: Pangaea, after 1960.] Verse 9 is further reinforced by the Apostle Peter in the first century C.E. Recorded at 2 Peter 3 v 5,6, which also tells us this vast single encircling ocean was one source of Noah's Flood water.
What might I suggest for you to consider.
Think now of God as Creator solving by design, the heat and water distribution problems to maximise habitability of the Landmass. A single Land mass will have the continental weather effect, extreme hot/cold in the centre moderated by oceans around the edges.
So why not split the Landmass, you have more coastal regions and most places will be nearer the sea than before. Use the split continents to control ocean currents, mountains to control air flow. So according to Peter after the Flood the compact Landmass moved apart later to be confirmed by the theory/science of plate tectonics. All you need is a World Map see what you think:
1/... Poles are opposite in condition, one a landmass surrounded by water, the other an ocean mainly surrounded by lands.
2/... Most land is congregated around the northern Pole ocean, most water in south continental Pole.
3/... There is a rough triangle arrangement, lands often base north apex south.
4/... There are two north to south water corridors.
Well to me it looks like a planet sized impeller system?
[To get an Earthwide Flood?
This question is the wrong way around, it is most unusual we have any land at all. Look at the average ocean depth and water surface area and compare with average land height and coverage. It is the present normality of land that is unusual!
If we look to tectonic movement and associated volcanic actions, can we make a guess at a scenario?
A suitably placed major tectonic movement below water with associated volcanic actions, would easily raise the water with heat expansion and gas foam to flood our lands. The volcanic action would produce the atmospheric dust chilling the whole Earth for years to come.
[[In which case the water springs from within itself]]
A flood like this, with rising water would do immensely less damage than dropping it from the sky in the time period specified. As much of the violent activity could occur in the ocean this would not damage soil on land. Rain would fall but the fresh water torrents laden with debris, would loose momentum on meeting a relentlessly incoming tide. This could result in the waters above land being less salty and holding seed and plant parts. Such would be followed by major glaciation in all vulnerable areas temporarily reversing flood condition to low ocean level, so the animals can re-
As the super-
Back to Second Day,
What would a grower of plants think?;
1/... we have [muted] light, +
2/... we have [clear] air, +
3/... we have [fresh] water, +
4/... we have [reasonable] temperature, +
5/... we now have ground space, =
the 5 elements for good growing.
So God installs [higher] plant life. Plant life would spread along streams but as this is a new land surface, it would look odd to us. Nature today lives on the remains of previous life, this would be a nutrient low environment with shallow gritty soils. No matter there are no animals eating the plants so gradually a humus recycle system builds up. It may have looked like scattered desert oasis amidst barren areas or like oceanic islands with a few trees and nothing else. Ocean plant life does far better since water circulates.
Little boat: you are beached and along the shore trees and plants. The air begins to smell good. There is colour. We had a walk to see.