Sodom and Gomorrah? Proof {That a} Cosmic Influence Destroyed a Biblical Metropolis within the Jordan Valley


Cosmic Impact Destroyed City in Jordan Valley

Artist’s evidence-based depiction of the blast, which had the facility of 1,000 Hiroshimas. Credit score: Allen West and Jennifer Rice

An Historical Catastrophe

Within the Center Bronze Age (about 3,600 years in the past or roughly 1650 BCE), town of Tall el-Hammam was ascendant. Situated on excessive floor within the southern Jordan Valley, northeast of the Lifeless Sea, the settlement in its time had grow to be the most important repeatedly occupied Bronze Age metropolis within the southern Levant, having hosted early civilization for a couple of thousand years. At the moment, it was 10 instances bigger than Jerusalem and 5 instances bigger than Jericho.

“It’s an extremely culturally essential space,” mentioned James Kennett, emeritus professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara. “A lot of the place the early cultural complexity of people developed is on this basic space.”

A favourite website for archaeologists and biblical students, the mound hosts proof of tradition all the way in which from the Chalcolithic, or Copper Age, all compacted into layers because the extremely strategic settlement was constructed, destroyed, and rebuilt over millennia.

Researchers Stand Near the Ruins of Ancient Walls

Researchers stand close to the ruins of historic partitions, with the destruction layer about halfway down every uncovered wall. Credit score: Phil Silvia

However there’s a 1.5-meter interval within the Center Bronze Age II stratum that caught the curiosity of some researchers for its “extremely uncommon” supplies. Along with the particles one would count on from destruction through warfare and earthquakes, they discovered pottery shards with outer surfaces melted into glass, “bubbled” mudbrick and partially melted constructing materials, all indications of an anomalously high-temperature occasion, a lot hotter than something the expertise of the time may produce.

“We noticed proof for temperatures higher than 2,000 levels James Kennett

James P. Kennett, professor emeritus in UCSB’s Division of Earth Science. Credit score:
Sonia Fernandez

“I believe one of many most important discoveries is shocked quartz. These are sand grains containing cracks that type solely underneath very excessive stress,” Kennett mentioned of certainly one of many traces of proof that time to a big airburst close to Tall el-Hammam. “We now have shocked quartz from this layer, and meaning there have been unbelievable pressures concerned to shock the quartz crystals — quartz is without doubt one of the hardest minerals; it’s very exhausting to shock.”

The airburst, in response to the paper, may additionally clarify the “anomalously excessive concentrations of salt” discovered within the destruction layer — a median of 4% within the sediment and as excessive as 25% in some samples.

“The salt was thrown up because of the excessive affect pressures,” Kennett mentioned of the meteor that seemingly fragmented upon contact with the Earth’s environment. “And it could be that the affect partially hit the Lifeless Sea, which is wealthy in salt.” The native shores of the Lifeless Sea are additionally salt-rich, so the affect might have redistributed these salt crystals far and extensive — not simply at Tall el-Hammam, but additionally close by Inform es-Sultan (proposed because the biblical Jericho, which additionally underwent violent destruction on the identical time) and Tall-Nimrin (additionally then destroyed).

The high-salinity soil may have been chargeable for the so-called “Late Bronze Age Hole,” the researchers say, by which cities alongside the decrease Jordan Valley have been deserted, dropping the inhabitants from tens of 1000’s to possibly a couple of hundred nomads. Nothing may develop in these previously fertile grounds, forcing individuals to depart the world for hundreds of years. Proof for resettlement of Tall el-Hammam and close by communities seems once more within the Iron Age, roughly 600 years after the cities’ sudden devastation within the Bronze Age.

Hearth and Brimstone

Tall el-Hamman has been the main target of an ongoing debate as as to whether it might be the biblical metropolis of Sodom, one of many two cities within the Outdated Testomony E book of Genesis that have been destroyed by God for the way depraved they and their inhabitants had grow to be. One denizen, Lot, is saved by two angels who instruct him to not look behind as they flee. Lot’s spouse, nevertheless, lingers and is become a pillar of salt. In the meantime, fireplace and brimstone fell from the sky; a number of cities have been destroyed; thick smoke rose from the fires; metropolis inhabitants have been killed and space crops have been destroyed in what appears like an eyewitness account of a cosmic affect occasion. It’s a satisfying connection to make.

“All of the observations said in Genesis are in keeping with a cosmic airburst,” Kennett mentioned, “however there’s no scientific proof that this destroyed metropolis is certainly the Sodom of the Outdated Testomony.” Nevertheless, the researchers mentioned, the catastrophe may have generated an oral custom that will have served because the inspiration for the written account within the e book of Genesis, in addition to the biblical account of the burning of Jericho within the Outdated Testomony E book of Joshua.

Reference: “A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Center Bronze Age metropolis within the Jordan Valley close to the Lifeless Sea” by Ted E. Bunch, Malcolm A. LeCompte, A. Victor Adedeji, James H. Wittke, T. David Burleigh, Robert E. Hermes, Charles Mooney, Dale Batchelor, Wendy S. Wolbach, Joel Kathan, Gunther Kletetschka, Mark C. L. Patterson, Edward C. Swindel, Timothy Witwer, George A. Howard, Siddhartha Mitra, Christopher R. Moore, Kurt Langworthy, James P. Kennett, Allen West and Phillip J. Silvia, 20 September 2021, Scientific Studies.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-97778-3

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