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Asteroid strike offers a feasible explanation for Biblical story of Sodom

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  • Asteroid strike offers a feasible explanation for Biblical story of Sodom

    From The Conversation:

    Very interesting evidence that appears to offer a solution to the mystery of the destruction of the Cities of the Plain and the walls of Jericho.

    https://theconversation.com/a-giant-...f-sodom-167678

    As the inhabitants of an ancient Middle Eastern city now called Tall el-Hammam went about their daily business one day about 3,600 years ago, they had no idea an unseen icy space rock was speeding toward them at about 38,000 mph (61,000 kph).

    Flashing through the atmosphere, the rock exploded in a massive fireball about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the ground. The blast was around 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The shocked city dwellers who stared at it were blinded instantly. Air temperatures rapidly rose above 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,000 degrees Celsius). Clothing and wood immediately burst into flames. Swords, spears, mudbricks and pottery began to melt. Almost immediately, the entire city was on fire.

    Some seconds later, a massive shockwave smashed into the city. Moving at about 740 mph (1,200 kph), it was more powerful than the worst tornado ever recorded. The deadly winds ripped through the city, demolishing every building. They sheared off the top 40 feet (12 m) of the 4-story palace and blew the jumbled debris into the next valley. None of the 8,000 people or any animals within the city survived – their bodies were torn apart and their bones blasted into small fragments.

    About a minute later, 14 miles (22 km) to the west of Tall el-Hammam, winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. Jericho’s walls came tumbling down and the city burned to the ground.

    [...]

    Getting answers required nearly 15 years of painstaking excavations by hundreds of people. It also involved detailed analyses of excavated material by more than two dozen scientists in 10 states in the U.S., as well as Canada and the Czech Republic. When our group finally published the evidence recently in the journal Scientific Reports, the 21 co-authors included archaeologists, geologists, geochemists, geomorphologists, mineralogists, paleobotanists, sedimentologists, cosmic-impact experts and medical doctors.

    Here’s how we built up this picture of devastation in the past.

    Years ago, when archaeologists looked out over excavations of the ruined city, they could see a dark, roughly 5-foot-thick (1.5 m) jumbled layer of charcoal, ash, melted mudbricks and melted pottery. It was obvious that an intense firestorm had destroyed this city long ago. This dark band came to be called the destruction layer.

    No one was exactly sure what had happened, but that layer wasn’t caused by a volcano, earthquake or warfare. None of them are capable of melting metal, mudbricks and pottery.

    To figure out what could, our group used the Online Impact Calculator to model scenarios that fit the evidence. Built by impact experts, this calculator allows researchers to estimate the many details of a cosmic impact event, based on known impact events and nuclear detonations.

    It appears that the culprit at Tall el-Hammam was a small asteroid similar to the one that knocked down 80 million trees in Tunguska, Russia in 1908. It would have been a much smaller version of the giant miles-wide rock that pushed the dinosaurs into extinction 65 million ago.

    We had a likely culprit. Now we needed proof of what happened that day at Tall el-Hammam.

    Our research revealed a remarkably broad array of evidence.

    At the site, there are finely fractured sand grains called shocked quartz that only form at 725,000 pounds per square inch of pressure (5 gigapascals) – imagine six 68-ton Abrams military tanks stacked on your thumb.

    The destruction layer also contains tiny diamonoids that, as the name indicates, are as hard as diamonds. Each one is smaller than a flu virus. It appears that wood and plants in the area were instantly turned into this diamond-like material by the fireball’s high pressures and temperatures.

    Experiments with laboratory furnaces showed that the bubbled pottery and mudbricks at Tall el-Hammam liquefied at temperatures above 2,700 F (1,500 C). That’s hot enough to melt an automobile within minutes.

    The destruction layer also contains tiny balls of melted material smaller than airborne dust particles. Called spherules, they are made of vaporized iron and sand that melted at about 2,900 F (1,590 C).

    In addition, the surfaces of the pottery and meltglass are speckled with tiny melted metallic grains, including iridium with a melting point of 4,435 F (2,466 C), platinum that melts at 3,215 F (1,768 C) and zirconium silicate at 2,800 F (1,540 C).

    Together, all this evidence shows that temperatures in the city rose higher than those of volcanoes, warfare and normal city fires. The only natural process left is a cosmic impact.

    The same evidence is found at known impact sites, such as Tunguska and the Chicxulub crater, created by the asteroid that triggered the dinosaur extinction.

    One remaining puzzle is why the city and over 100 other area settlements were abandoned for several centuries after this devastation. It may be that high levels of salt deposited during the impact event made it impossible to grow crops. We’re not certain yet, but we think the explosion may have vaporized or splashed toxic levels of Dead Sea salt water across the valley. Without crops, no one could live in the valley for up to 600 years, until the minimal rainfall in this desert-like climate washed the salt out of the fields.

    It’s possible that an oral description of the city’s destruction may have been handed down for generations until it was recorded as the story of Biblical Sodom. The Bible describes the devastation of an urban center near the Dead Sea – stones and fire fell from the sky, more than one city was destroyed, thick smoke rose from the fires and city inhabitants were killed.

    Could this be an ancient eyewitness account? If so, the destruction of Tall el-Hammam may be the second-oldest destruction of a human settlement by a cosmic impact event, after the village of Abu Hureyra in Syria about 12,800 years ago. Importantly, it may the first written record of such a catastrophic event.





    "It ain't necessarily so
    The things that you're liable
    To read in the Bible
    It ain't necessarily so
    ."

    Sportin' Life
    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

  • #2
    Various folks have been linking the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to this or that cosmic impact for awhile now. Here is an article from 2008 that associates it to a massive landslide in Austria from 3123 B.C. that they suspect was the result of an asteroid coming in at a real low angle (six degrees), and the plume from which rained fiery destruction in its path.

    There was another one around 3700 B.C. that got a good deal of coverage about three years ago where they figured an aerial burst flattened a city that has been considered a plausible site for Sodom.

    I can remember reading about similar theories going back to the early 80s or late 70s.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      Various folks have been linking the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to this or that cosmic impact for awhile now. Here is an article from 2008 that associates it to a massive landslide in Austria from 3123 B.C. that they suspect was the result of an asteroid coming in at a real low angle (six degrees), and the plume from which rained fiery destruction in its path.

      There was another one around 3700 B.C. that got a good deal of coverage about three years ago where they figured an aerial burst flattened a city that has been considered a plausible site for Sodom.

      I can remember reading about similar theories going back to the early 80s or late 70s.
      I seem to vaguely recall reading something pertaining to that 2008 article. However, that evidence found on this site matches that found at other impact sites seems significant. The possibility of an oral tradition being later embellished for the Biblical account as it has come down to us is certainly not implausible given that folk memory may contain kernels of something that was originally observed.
      "It ain't necessarily so
      The things that you're liable
      To read in the Bible
      It ain't necessarily so
      ."

      Sportin' Life
      Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

        I seem to vaguely recall reading something pertaining to that 2008 article. However, that evidence found on this site matches that found at other impact sites seems significant. The possibility of an oral tradition being later embellished for the Biblical account as it has come down to us is certainly not implausible given that folk memory may contain kernels of something that was originally observed.
        Often in these articles describing the evidence that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were the result of a cosmic impact there is a snide remark concerning not finding any pillars of salt. That of course might have something to do with being turned into a pillar of salt being an ancient Aramaic idiom for having a stroke.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #5
          Even if it were destroyed by an asteroid strike, who's to say God didn't use an asteroid strike to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Or that whatever he did use left behind the same evidence (like shocked quartz) as an asteroid would?


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
            Even if it were destroyed by an asteroid strike, who's to say God didn't use an asteroid strike to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Or that whatever he did use left behind the same evidence (like shocked quartz) as an asteroid would?
            Exactly. The Bible is full of examples of God employing "natural" events as a means of passing judgment on a group -- such as an invading army.

            I'm always still in trouble again

            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              Exactly. The Bible is full of examples of God employing "natural" events as a means of passing judgment on a group -- such as an invading army.
              Originally posted by Sparko
              Even if it were destroyed by an asteroid strike, who's to say God didn't use an asteroid strike to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Or that whatever he did use left behind the same evidence (like shocked quartz) as an asteroid would?

              I agree - 7 years ago

              https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...102#post126102

              https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...072#post127072

              That thread lasted 3 pages before it changed to a debate about Early Israel for the remaining 15. Or rather the time of the original writing of Old Testament
              Last edited by tabibito; 09-21-2021, 08:43 AM.
              sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                Exactly. The Bible is full of examples of God employing "natural" events as a means of passing judgment on a group -- such as an invading army.
                Floods, plagues, fire, disease, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  True, false, caused by aliens ... none of that matters.

                  I don't need talking foxes to understand the lessons from Aesop. Neither does anyone need to know how Sodom was destroyed to understand the cautionary tale of the Biblical story. Though there's more than one take in the literature on what that cautionary tale might be ... immorality, or lack of charity to strangers?

                  Don't get me wrong here.

                  I for one welcome our asteroid-wielding alien reptilian overlords.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
                    True, false, caused by aliens ... none of that matters.

                    I don't need talking foxes to understand the lessons from Aesop. Neither does anyone need to know how Sodom was destroyed to understand the cautionary tale of the Biblical story. Though there's more than one take in the literature on what that cautionary tale might be ... immorality, or lack of charity to strangers?

                    Don't get me wrong here.

                    I for one welcome our asteroid-wielding alien reptilian overlords.
                    Yeah, you say that, but just wait till they zero in on your compound!
                    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Juvenal View Post
                      True, false, caused by aliens ... none of that matters.

                      I don't need talking foxes to understand the lessons from Aesop. Neither does anyone need to know how Sodom was destroyed to understand the cautionary tale of the Biblical story. Though there's more than one take in the literature on what that cautionary tale might be ... immorality, or lack of charity to strangers?

                      Don't get me wrong here.

                      I for one welcome our asteroid-wielding alien reptilian overlords.
                      Really? Lack of charity for strangers is an old canard that falls down immediately because it assumes that God did it for a ridiculous reason. God did it because of the rampant immoral wickedness of the city. Destroying a population for lack of charity for strangers is utterly not on God's character.

                      Otherwise how do you explain the fact that the US is not a massive hole in the ground (literally speaking, not figuratively ) for the Trump years when he tried to shut the border down?


                      Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                        Yeah, you say that, but just wait till they zero in on your compound!
                        Yeah he'll be singing a different tune when Marvin the Martian uses that big rail gun to hurtle a house sized meteor down on south Georgia at a gazillion miles per hour.


                        1002063935-photo-u1.jpg

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mossrose View Post

                          Really? Lack of charity for strangers is an old canard that falls down immediately because it assumes that God did it for a ridiculous reason. God did it because of the rampant immoral wickedness of the city. Destroying a population for lack of charity for strangers is utterly not on God's character.
                          Not arguing for one over the other, just mentioning competing explanations I've read in the literature.

                          Personally, well ...

                          2021-09-21_11-07-33.jpg

                          Otherwise how do you explain the fact that the US is not a massive hole in the ground (literally speaking, not figuratively ) for the Trump years when he tried to shut the border down?
                          If God doesn't exist, then the Pin™'s the only massive hole-maker we need to worry about.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                            Yeah he'll be singing a different tune when Marvin the Martian uses that big rail gun to hurtle a house sized meteor down on south Georgia at a gazillion miles per hour.
                            Gazillions don't exist either.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

                              Gazillions don't exist either.
                              Neither does Marvin -- just don't tell me brudder


                              I'm always still in trouble again

                              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                              Comment

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