Gen 8:10-11 . . He waited another seven days, and again sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came back to him toward evening, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf. Then Noah knew that the waters had decreased on the earth.

The word for "plucked-off" is from taraph (taw-rawf') which means: recently torn off; viz: fresh. A taraph leaf is alive; which of course the skeptics are only too happy to point out is impossible seeing as how olive trees cannot survive under water very long before they die. But wasn't the Flood itself impossible? (sigh) Some people are just naturally miracle-challenged; what can I say?

Old-world olives prefer a Mediterranean climate, which is pretty good empirical evidence that the ark did not come to rest on the top of Turkey's Mt. Ararat; a snow-capped dormant volcano consisting of two peaks: Lesser Ararat @ 12,782 feet, and Greater Ararat @ 16,854 feet.

Tall mountains like Ararat have what's called a timberline; which is an elevation beyond which no trees grow. The elevation of Mt. Hood's timberline here in Oregon is right around 6,000 feet. So it's a pretty safe bet that the olive tree, from which the dove plucked a leaf, wasn't growing up on Mt. Ararat prior to the Flood. It would've preferred neither the elevation nor the climate.

Gen 8:12 . . He waited still another seven days and sent the dove forth; and it did not return to him any more.

Apparently the dove finally found some dry, bare ground to forage for seeds, and minute gravel for its craw.

Why didn't Noah just look out the window and see for himself? Well; the structural location of the ark's window is a bit of a mystery. For one thing, it wasn't cut into the sides like the windows in an airplane, rather, it was located up on top. The design of the ark's top itself is a bit of a mystery. Apparently the position of the window was such that structural portions of the top obscured Noah' view; allowing him to see the sky but not the ground.