Biblical flood – myth or reality?

22 Jan

BiblicalThe legends, which are part of folklore, has long interested researchers in the field of geo sciences. Moreover, the legend of the Deluge taken seriously by some well-known geologists until the first quarter of the XIX century. and served as the basis for exercises, known dilyuvianizma (from the Latin. diluvio – Flood), which was divided into the geological history of the time that preceded and followed the deluge. Leader dilyuvianizma, a British scientist William Beklend even was an honorary member of the Moscow Society of Naturalists. Later, influenced by Charles Lyell work, he was forced to reconsider their views.

Dead Sea. Estimated position of Sodom and Gomorrah. Dark blue shows the probable position of the Dead Sea basin during the 2 nd millennium BC Light blue – land at the same time. Light brown – coastal land.
That such well-known legends, as, in particular, based on the statements of Plato the Atlantis legend, as well as the biblical tale of the Deluge, have continued to intrigue geologists. And always the question arose – is a legend or history? In the twentieth century. was published very serious research professor, University of Vienna, the famous researcher of the Alps, A. Thalmann and his wife, K. E. Tolman, which not only proves the reality of the submission of the Flood, but even established, with an accuracy up to a year, the date of this event.

In 1973, professor at Indiana University in the U.S. D. Vitaliano published a book “Legends of the Earth and its geological origin, in which both suggested that the term” geomifologiya “. In 1990, an Israeli geologist J. Bentor wrote a special article [1] on the geological interpretation of the events described in the Bible. In 2004, the 32 th session of the International Geological Congress, held in Florence, held a symposium on “Myth and Geology”, which Vitaliano read the title report. This date can clearly be considered the official date of birth of a new research direction in the geosciences.

In 2002, the Geological Society of London published a collection of articles under the title “Myth and Geology” [2]. It was attended by Russia scholar VG Trifonov (Geological Institute RAS).

In geomifologii can distinguish three main aspects of research. The first and most traditional of these is to establish a degree of reality of a myth or legend, in search of the geological phenomenon, object or phenomenon, which formed the basis of their creation.

The second aspect is the use of the information contained in one form or another in the legend or myth, to set the date and scope described in these events – earthquake, volcanic eruption or catastrophic flooding. This information can be useful, for example, to determine the frequency of recurrence in the region of earthquake magnitude determination.

The third aspect – measuring the impact of a catastrophic event in the development of human civilization, which applies particularly to the history of ancient cultures. Recently, publisher of Princeton University published a book seismologist A. Nur, written in collaboration with D. Burgess, “Apocalypse: earthquakes, archeology and Providence┬╗ (Apocalypsis: earthquakes, archeology and the earth of God). It is proved that the death of the Eastern Mediterranean civilizations of the Bronze Age was associated with the earthquakes occurred in the region about 1200 years BC

We will concentrate mainly on the first aspect geomifologii, considering it the most prominent examples.

The death of Sodom and Gomorrah

One bright subjects contained in the Bible – the story of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, or pyatigradiya of Sodom, which was followed by the will of God for the fact that their inhabitants behaved very inappropriately. Josephus, Jewish historian, I in. AD, wrote that “adjacent to the lake area Sodomitskaya was once blessed country of their fertility and decorated with many cities, but now it is completely burned. Many researchers believe that the catastrophe that befell Sodom and Gomorrah – it is a real natural event. Elucidation of the disaster have devoted special work Bentor [1], Trifonov [2. P.133-142] and made a very detailed analysis of D. Rohl [3] based on the assumptions set out by the German scientist M. Laudenom.

So far there is no exact answer to two questions: where were these cities and destroyed them when there was a disaster?

“And the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord from heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and all the vegetation of the Earth. But his wife looked back behind him, and became a pillar of salt “(Genesis, ch. 19. 24-26).

Natural disaster, which destroyed these cities occurred during the time of Abraham and Lot. Sodom, which existed already in the early Bronze Age, gave refuge to Lot and his tribe after he was rescued Abraham from the slavery that threatened him in Mesopotamia.

Location of Sodom, most researchers correlate with the western coast of the Dead, or the salt sea, as it was called at that time. The city was located on the sloping plain, lined the shore of the Dead Sea, whose level was approximately 120 -150 m below, and Sodom was against the canyon of Nahal Hever. Nearby, but a little north, in 2 – 3 km from the cliffs beat a perennial source of fresh water in the oasis of En Gedi, still exists today. He could supply Sodom water, as well as the winter rain water from the gorge of Nahal Hever. At the time of Christ the sea level was about 50 m below the present one, but in the early Bronze Age – more below. The climate then was dry, and the southern half of modern salt-marsh basin of the Dead Sea did not exist. In the extreme south-east of the basin, probably located g.Gomorra, south of g.Zoara. Return Lot went out and there are known ruins of the village of Bab al-Dra. Remains Gomorrah identified with the archaeological point Numeiry, near the Bab al-Dra. The ancient authors, notably Strabo, wrote that Sodom was located somewhere between the En-Gedi and Masada, is 7 – 8 km south of En Gedi.

Rohl brings a piece of sonar maps of the Dead Sea Israel geophysical expedition of 1978, which next to the En-Gedi includes two elongated hill – the possible location of Sodom – and even depression identified with the quarry from which to take the stone for the walls of Sodom, or the biblical “tar pits” where sodomites extracted valuable bitumen ( “pitch black”) and, possibly, sulfur sedimentary origin. The city of Sodom existed in 3 “the first millennium BC, as evidenced by the hoard of copper objects from the temple, found in the cave of Nahal Mishmar.

What a disaster struck Sodom and Gomorrah, and when? According to the New Chronology Rola, it happened in the summer of 1830 BC All indications suggest earthquake, precursors of which were felt for at least a month. The walls are covered with cracks, bitumen pits lay down, and the sea level suddenly dropped a few meters. Lot and his family left Sodom and went through Lisansky hydrochloric Peninsula to the Zohar. And this time there was a severe earthquake hypocenter which was probably connected with a powerful fault – left shift, limiting the Dead Sea rift with the west. In the air was ejected burning liquid sulfur. Sulfur balls are in the area and in our days. The fire, which is mentioned in the Bible, and the strongest tremors completely destroyed Sodom and probably other cities – Zohar and Gomorrah. Trifonov believes that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is related to a volcanic eruption in south-western Syria, where the lava sheets discovered abundant fossil remains of [2, pp. 133-142], but it is too far from the places described in the Bible. Be that as it may, Sodom and Gomorrah were killed by a terrible and a real natural disaster in the early 2 nd millennium BC, ie 4 thousand years ago, and that was reflected in the Bible. Now the level of the Dead Sea drastically reduced, by about 1 m / year. Maybe we will see the remains of Sodom?

Biblical flood – myth or reality?

All, of course, heard of the Deluge, so vividly described in the first book of the Old Testament. LORD was angry with the people “… because the earth is filled with violence through them” (Genesis, ch. 7.13), and he wanted to destroy them, send down to earth unprecedented rain. But first he told Noah, a just man and perfect in his generations, to make a huge boat, the ark and load it all his family and all the animals. And “… the same day were all the fountains of the great deep and the windows of heaven were opened … And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis, Chapter 7. 11, 12). “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth, so that covered all the high mountains, which is beneath the whole heaven. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters and the mountains were covered “(Genesis, Chapter 7. 19, 20). Finally, the water began to subside, were the tops of mountains, land of staggering. Noah opened the ark, stepped down and let all the animals. Then it is said that “… the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat” (gl.8. 4).

It should be borne in mind that under the “mountains of Ararat” should not mean Mount Ararat in the Lesser Caucasus. Most likely, these low mountains located east of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the foothills of the Zagros, where located, and the mountain kingdom of Aratta Arattskie. In his book Antiquities of the Jews Flavius wrote that the mountain, which landed the Ark of Noah, had long been known. Perhaps it was somewhere in Kurdistan (Judy Dag mountains Karduayan, land Karduniya). Sometimes the descent of a mountain called Nisir in the Zagros Mountains. In any case, Ararat, more than 5 miles, can hardly be a place where Noah came down from ark on the ground. Biblical flood penetrated deeply into the consciousness of people as a punishment from God for the many sins and the salvation of the righteous as Noah.

Was the flood, ie catastrophic flood, really? We know that very often myths have led archaeologists to believe in them, to the greatest discoveries. Suffice it to recall H. Schliemann of Troy and Mycenae.

A Flood or “local” floods at different times? When speaking of the Deluge, always mean the one described in the Old Testament. However, water-related disasters are known in more than 150 legends of many peoples. Therefore correct to speak of the deluge of all mankind, and not about the flood, has taken over the entire space of the Earth. In Greek mythology, Deucalion has a flood, which explains the ninth Olympic Ode of Pindar. Zeus, furious at the King Lycaon of Arcadia, turned him into a wolf, lightning destroyed the palace and sent down a terrible downpour. All of Greece (except the top of Parnassus) disappeared under the water, and saved only Deucalion, the son of Prometheus, and his wife – Pyrrhus. Prometheus told his son to make a huge box that was nailed waves to Parnassus, and then asked Zeus, Deucalion again populate the earth people.

In Mesopotamian legends speak of the three different “local Noyah. Sumerian Noah – Ziusudra, starovavilonsky – Atrahasis and Akkadian – Utnapishtim. And they all fled from the flood in the box “boats. The legend of Utnapishtima first read Englishman Dzh.Smit in 1872 on cuneiform tablets from the excavations of Nineveh. According to this legend, respectable Utnapishtim lived with his wife in g.Shuruppake (current headlamp in the swamps Afedzha). god Ea warned him about the terrible flood, which he intended to punish the human race. Utnapishtim built a big box-boat and put him in his own family and livestock. Six days was of a boat on rough water, until she was at the Mount Nisir who is, in the western spurs of the Zagros, ie, to the east of r.Tigr. Utnapishtim released a dove from the boat, swallow and, finally, a crow. And when the latter is not returned, he realized that the water started to recede.

It is easy to see that this tradition is extremely similar to the story of the flood, as outlined in the book “Genesis” of the Old Testament, where it came (and it is unlikely that anyone now doubt) from Mesopotamia.

Hindu Noah – Manu – also managed to survive during the flood in the Indus Valley. This list could continue. In the history of many peoples who lived on different continents, there are stories of disasters – floods. In other words, “Floods” was a lot. But the most important thing that happened, they, obviously, at different times and covered well-defined areas of land, mainly lowland with major river systems, beginning in mountainous areas.

Deucalion Flood applies where “it to the 1500-1550 gg. BC is worth noting that while there has been immense eruption of Santorini in the Cycladic Aegean ruined Minoan civilization on Crete. It is possible that the eruption was accompanied by waves – the tsunami, which reached not only Crete but also mainland Greece, the Peloponnesus.

At Rhodes, also belonged to the Cycladic island arc – its eastern end – there is a grand tradition of the flood, before which the inhabitants of the island – telkiny moved to the nearby Asia Minor. That arose later in Rhodes new culture Heliades (Children of the Sun) was destroyed by flooding due to prolonged rainfall. After all the disasters in the Aegean region (Crete, Santorini, Rhodes), there rushed Achaeans, advancing south from the Balkan Peninsula. These disaster one way or another associated with the “flood” somewhere in the XV century. BC

Geological evidence of the Flood. A variety of literary sources, not just the Old Testament to indicate that a flood or a severe flood was entirely possible the real historical event, which turned into nothing civilization just emerging on the extensive lowland plains of Mesopotamia.

Archaeologist L. Woolley (1880-1960) in 1928-1934 gg. excavated in the lower river. Euphrates, which investigated drevneshumersky city of Ur. He has done excavations in the 20 m depth and at approximately 4 m from the bottom layer is revealed clearly the capacity of 5 m of alluvial (river), silt, absolutely devoid of any archaeological remains. Below this layer are fixed traces of fire, destroying some buildings, ash and potsherds, dating from the 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd ubaidskimi periods. Below the layer of early period ubaidskogo traces of human presence is not revealed. But above the “dumb” layer of alluvial deposits also occurs layer capacity of 5 m, but containing a large number of potsherds, fragments of kilns for firing pottery and burial, which gave rise attributed to this layer later, urukskomu period. Rohl [3] suggests that the layers of alluvial, very fine silt and sand deposits can be dated somewhere between 4000 – 3000 BC If it traces the Biblical Flood, it occurred 5000-6000 years ago, in the early period of the Sumerian civilization, at the turn of the disappearance of ancient ubaidskoy culture. After the Flood began flourishing already higher urukskoy culture, when he appeared, apparently, a potter’s wheel. We all know Gilgamesh, the fifth king of the First urukskoy dynasty, lived in 1000-1500 years later than the Flood.

The above data suggest that a catastrophic event “The Flood”, as described in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament, could actually take place. He certainly was not a “universal”, as happened in Mesopotamia, mainly in the lower valleys of the great rivers – Euphrates and Tigris. In those days, waters of the Gulf because eustatic rise in sea level penetrated far to the north and could raise their level by surges. However, the layer uncovered in the dig at Ur, before it is alluvial clays and fine-grained sand, indicating the moving river water, relatively slow current. The composition of precipitation also gave rise Woolley to consider them brought on by the middle reaches of the Euphrates. It should be emphasized that the ancient city of Ur, Eridu, Tall al-Uband, Uruk and other settlements were located in the mouth of the Euphrates, where flooding was felt particularly strongly. The relief in these places is absolutely vile, close to the level of water in the bay.

In terms of climatic conditions that existed 5000 years ago, no obstacles to the emergence of severe flooding was not. Conversely, a more humid climate contributed to heavy rainfall, especially in mountainous areas, where the rapid melting of snow could cause flooding in the plains of the valleys of two great rivers.


Better place than o.Santorin for the legendary Atlantis of Plato not find. In his dialogues Timaeus and Critias great Greek philosopher, a very detailed description of the island, which he had heard only the words of Solon – a legislator of Athens, and the latter from the priests – the Egyptians. To our misfortune, Plato placed Atlantis in “Hercules, or Heracles Pillars”, ie, in the modern sense, west of the Strait of Gibraltar in the Atlantic Ocean. After the terrible earthquake and subsequent flooding Atlantis disappeared, sunk into the deep.

On Atlantis and its whereabouts are written dozens of books. Whenever found no place for it! We will not transfer them, but it is possible that the island did not exist at all, as Plato would like such an unusual way to tell the Hellenic world their vision of an ideal and just, in his opinion, state structure. And such an idea can not be discounted. However, we are interested not so much Atlantis-state as an island, which could be in ancient times and which has had a high civilization that disappeared overnight about 3500 years ago.

, Who first suggested that the modern o.Santorin is the Atlantis of Plato, was a French archaeologist Fige (1872), although several years before other French archaeologists have found remains of a pumice stone houses in the south have s.Akrotiri. Interpretation of the geological history of the island 50 years ago proposed a geophysicist AG Galanopoulos, who testified that the unprecedented strength of the eruption led to a catastrophe not only on the island, but all near the eastern Mediterranean. In particular, in Crete in 1900, Schliemann excavated Knossos palace king Minos, owned by an ancient civilization, vanished about 1500 years BC

Geological situation. Santorini Island (St. Irene), formerly known as Strongile (round), Callisto (the most beautiful). This is the most southern island of Cycladic island arc in the Aegean Sea, separated from Crete, 120 km to the north. It consists of several islands – Fira (Tyra), and Firassii Aspronisi framing a huge bowl in the center of which are two small islands – and Paleokameni Neokameni. Largest – Fira – has a crescent shape, emphasizing the former type of o.Strongile (round). Any geologist has only to look at the layers of volcanic rocks exposed in vertical cliffs Fira, to establish a system of islands giant caldera (diameter up to 15-16 km and a depth of 500 m), formed in a powerful explosion and collapse of volcanic construction – stratovolcano. If mentally to continue up the gentle slopes of the external Fira and Ferassii, the height of the volcanic construction will obviously exceed 1 km – much more than the current highest point of the islands.

Vertical cliffs Fira horizontal stripes raschercheny extraordinarily beautiful colors: black lava flows alternate with sequences lavobrekchy red, yellow, gray and orange layers of tuff; tufobrekchy, as well as rocks, called tephra, and indicate the successive explosive (explosive) and effusive ( lava flows) of an ancient volcano. In some places, layers are expanding, such as red tufobrekchii near the village of Oia, in others – wedge out and taper off, indicating that eruptions of different strengths and different type, come from various points on the slopes of the volcano. Only in two places at Firassii there are outcrops of metamorphic rocks of the Mesozoic. One – Mount Mass-Vuno with vertical rocky cliffs, projecting into the sea, the second – cliffs around the harbor in the south Afinios Ferassii, which are the foundation on which formed volcano. The oldest volcanic rocks here are aged 0.527-0.640 million years.

The surface of all the islands that make up Santorini, is covered with a light layer of pumice and pumiceous pyroclastic material (Minoan pumice), sometimes very diffuse, but generally well preserved and stands out against the dark lava and tephra. Its capacity ranges from several to 150 m. There are three such layers. Upper – the most powerful, reaching 150 meters, the other wedge out and have a capacity of not more than 5-6 m.

The most impressive outcrops of light-yellow pumice tephra found in the cliffs to a height of 40-50 m south g.Firy. At the end of XIX century. to develop and breed steamers sent to Egypt for the construction of the Suez Canal. Tephra pumice, clothe all the irregularities of the ancient terrain, underlain by black layered tuffs and tufobrekchiyami. In the latter are abundant in leaf imprints of olive trees, which after the eruption on the island is no longer growing.

Tephra pumice contains very few minerals phenocrysts (from 2 to 18-20%) presented plagioclase, augite and hypersthene, but most of the structure – afirovaya (ie without phenocrysts). Temperature erupting tephra, apparently, was 900-1100 ┬░ C. Judging by the volume of ejected material (about 83 km 3), the eruption pumice tephra was grandiose. After his volcanic edifice subsided and collapsed. How long this eruption remains unclear. But, obviously, it was not instantaneous. This is evidenced by two earlier pumice layer.

Consequences of explosion of the volcano. On the island 3500 years ago there were settlements, and pretty big. One of them, excavated by the Greek archaeologist S. Marinatos in the thick pumice tephra in 60-ies of XX century., Called Akrotiri, on behalf of a small village in the south of. Fira. Essentially it was a town with a two-story houses, with small squares, with the market, workshops, storehouses, mills. Rooms in houses decorated with stunning frescoes, which are now presented in a separate exposure of the Athens Historical Museum. The floors of many houses were mosaic. Preserved many different ceramic products – pithoi, vessels, vases and other covered with magnificent paintings, images of the marine and terrestrial fauna. There were frescoes and with the ships on which the inhabitants of Akrotiri sailed to neighboring islands, Crete, Cyprus and the east coast of the Mediterranean. While the Aegean Sea was not an obstacle to communication between the continents. It is important that the clay shards discovered inscriptions, is an exact copy of Cretan inscriptions. They are made so-called Cretan “Linear A”. All the islands of this region were linked economically.

Archaeological excavations at Akrotiri make an indelible impression. Prev our eyes were ancient highly developed culture, such existed at the same time, the Minoan civilization on Crete. And this civilization, distinguished by their level of development, vanished like smoke extinct fire.

Catastrophic eruption of Santorini was preceded by increased tectonic activity in the region. Served as harbingers of disaster, apparently, frequent earthquakes and renewed volcanic activity of Santorini. This forced the inhabitants of Akrotiri to leave their homes. During the excavations of the buried cities found few human skeletons, while the population was not less than 30 thousand inhabitants.

Delphic oracle

One of the most popular Greek legend – the legend of the Delphic oracle, which broadcasts a priestess Apollo – Pifiyu, which sat on a tripod in the temple of Apollo, and gave out their prophecies under the influence of the emanation of gases from cracks in rocks. However, there is a legend and that, under the tripod burned laurel leaves. Laurus – tree dedicated to Apollo, who was considered the patron of Delphi. And the smoke of smoldering laurel priestess fell into a trance, shouting incoherent words. On the Delphic oracle told the first homer, and after seven centuries of Plutarch wrote about it.

Delphi, located west of Athens, at the foot of the famous Mount Parnassus on the northern shore of the Gulf of Corinth. The suspicion that the basis for the myth of the Delphic oracle are some geological features of the area, arose long ago, but recently the study of this problem has taken a special Italian expedition, which brought together all the geological, geophysical and geochemical data [4]. It became clear that Delphi, with its three ancient temples are located on the east-west fault line of the young – the dumping of limiting the south Mount Parnassus, which is a fragment of the Early Cretaceous carbonate platform. This reset is both the most northerly of the system discharges the northern limit of the graben the Gulf of Corinth, emerged in the late Pliocene (about 2 million years ago). Delphic fault seismically very active. In historic times it has repeatedly occurred along the quake and resumed the cracks in rocks and soil. On one of them directly and is the temple of Apollo at Delphi [5]. It is therefore logical to assume that it is to this or any other of the cracks of the fracture were timed events, which gave rise to include in the legend of the Delphic oracle story about a dragon dwelt in the cleft of the female sex, spewing poisonous vapors and killed by Apollo.

The foregoing suggests that many of the myths, legends, legends are based on very real natural events, geological events and catastrophes. We geomifologii – a great future.

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Posted by on January 22, 2010 in Historical


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