Mythical Flood or Meteor Strike?
Most people are familiar with the story of Noah and his Ark and take two extreme positions: it is literally true or it's a myth. Political agendas aside, what if the answer is somewhere in between?
Recent scientific evidence and the discovery in the 1990s of a massive meteor crater on the floor of the Indian Ocean can very well be the event the Noah story and other myths are based on.
What we will study in this essay is how meteor strikes within the last 15,000 years have completely altered human history. I have no interest in conforming to consensus science politics. I'll also briefly cover earlier meteor strikes that altered life on this planet in separate essays.
Let's review what is known about two more recent comet or meteor explosions since 1900 and man-made explosions to get a perspective on the power nature can unleash. In addition I'll address some earlier strikes that completely altered evolution.
On February 15, 2013 in Chelyabinsk Russia a meteor exploded over the city shattering windows across the region. We saw this on TV and on YouTube. Even at 100 Km (62 miles) away the "flash was brighter than the sun." Some witnesses claim to have felt heat from the fireball. Almost 1500 people were injured.
Estimated to have an explosive force of 500 kilotons this was 25 times the power of the Hiroshima nuclear blast. It was estimated to have a mass of 12,000 tons and a diameter of 60 feet - perhaps the weight of a cargo ship or small destroyer. Fortunately the explosion was 18-19 miles high.
On June 30, 1908 another "superbolide" explosion occurred in the Tunguska region in central Siberia. While information is sketchy scientists believe the explosion occurred between 3 to 6 miles high. It destroyed through blast and fire 770 square miles of forest. It left no crater.
The object has been estimated to be from 200 to 600 feet in diameter. (60 to 190 meters.) Using supercomputers scientists guess the explosive yield of 10 to 30 megatons. (Wiki)
These are both air bursts, but for our purposes we are looking at an underwater explosion, which has very different results from an air burst. For reference let's turn to Bikini Atoll in 1946. Operation Crossroads involved US military nuclear testing on navel shipping.
Between 1946 and 1958 23 nuclear detonations were unleashed on this remote atoll including a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb. Today the atoll has recovered with abundant corals and sea life in the old bomb craters and lush vegetation covers the atoll itself. (Note the land has been deemed unfit due to radioisotopes in the soil that nature doesn't seemed to have noticed.)
Here we are interested in the Crossroads Baker blast. Around 95 target ships of all kinds including battle ships and aircraft carriers were anchored in the lagoon. The 23 kiloton bomb was suspended on a steel cable 90 ft. under water from a surplus liberty ship.
An earlier air detonation (Able) did limited damage to what some call the Ghost Fleet. The Able blast sunk 5 ships while Baker sunk 8.
Baker created a large mushroom cloud and blasted a crater on the bottom of the lagoon. Films I saw in the military showed the shock wave though the water that had crushed the hull of the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier and the steam column picked up the USS Arkansas battleship most of which is buried in the bomb crater. Only its propellers can be seen today was the rest of the ship is upside down and mostly buried.
We should note that no safety goggles, etc. were needed because the water absorbed the blast energy producing a massive cloud of vaporized seawater, coral, and sand - and was very radioactive.
Indian Ocean Strike
Burckle Crater is located in the southern Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Australia. The crater is 18 miles wide - 25 times the size of the Arizona meteor crater. It's 12,500 ft. deep.
The Holocene Impact Working Group believe the impact occurred 2800-3000 BC - 5000 years ago. Some claim the impact was responsible for "chevron" dunes in Australia and Madagascar - other scientists dispute this. (Wiki)
Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory believes that:
"that some 5,000 years ago, a 3-mile-wide ball of rock and ice swung around the sun and smashed into the ocean off the coast of Madagascar. The ensuing cataclysm sent a series of 600-foot-high tsunamis crashing against the world's coastlines and injected plumes of superheated water vapor and aerosol particulates into the atmosphere.
Within hours, the infusion of heat and moisture blasted its way into jet streams and spawned super hurricanes that pummeled the other side of the planet. For about a week, material ejected into the atmosphere plunged the world into darkness. All told, up to 80 percent of the world's population may have perished, making it the single most lethal event in history."
I myself question the 3-mile-wide object - it could have been a mile because the Yucatan strike alleged to have killed the dinosaurs was 5-6 miles wide. Depends on whether the bolide was a lot of ice or solid stony-iron.
Why don't we know about it? Well we do sort of:
"In the Gilgamesh Epic, the hero of Mesopotamia saw a pillar of black smoke on the horizon before the sky went dark for a week. Afterward, a cyclone pummeled the Fertile Crescent and caused a massive flood. Myths recounted in indigenous South American cultures also tell of a great flood."
Note the steam column in the Indian Ocean could not have been seen from Mesopotamia, but the event would have triggered volcanic eruptions and earthquakes - there are active volcanoes in Sinai and other locations in the Middle East. And the Hindus and Chinese would have known as well:
"Among 175 flood myths, Masse found two of particular interest. A Hindu myth describes an alignment of the five bright planets that has happened only once in the last 5,000 years, according to computer simulations, and a Chinese story mentions that the great flood occurred at the end of the reign of Empress Nu Wa. Cross-checking historical records with astronomical data, Masse came up with a date for his event: May 10, 2807 B.C."
The coast of modern Pakistan and western India would have been devastated. In Madagascar debris piles hundreds of feet high (chevrons) were deposited 4 miles inland. This is the opinion of Ted Bryant, a geomorphologist at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia.
The wave was believed to be 600 feet high. The chevrons were packed with "deep-oceanic microfossils dredged up by the tsunami." Dozens of chevron structures were located with Google Earth in Asia and Africa.
More of this can be found at: "Did a Comet Cause the Great Flood?" by Scott Camey Discover Magazine November 15, 2007.
Also November 14, 2006 "Ancient Crash, Epic Wave" New York Times to quote,
"This year the group started using Google Earth, a free source of satellite images to search around the globe for chevrons, which they interpret as evidence of past giant tsunamis Scores of such sites have turned up Australia, Africa, Europe and the United States including the Hudson River Valley and Long Island.
When the chevrons all point in the same direction to open water, Dallas Abbott, an adjunct research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., uses a different satellite technology to look for oceanic craters. With increasing frequency, she finds them, including an especially large one dating back 4,800 years."
The New York Times further notes:
"So far, astronomers are skeptical but are willing to look at the evidence, said David Morrison, a leading authority on asteroids and comets at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.
Surveys show that as many as 185 large asteroids or comets hit the Earth in the far distant past, although most of the craters are on land.
No one has spent much time looking for craters in the deep ocean, Dr. Morrison said, assuming young ones don't exist and that old ones would be filled with sediment."
As is proper with science the debate goes on but unlike politicized climate change science we don't have demands for prosecution of skeptics or banning altering viewpoints.
No doubt today that a Tunguska size event over a large urban area such as Chicago would kill millions, but what would happen with a continent wide event?
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