meddle visitors

Marco showed her per rock face containing layers of chalk and rock

Marco showed her per rock face containing layers of chalk and rock

Durante one place, there was a huge fault line caused by an ancient earthquake

Tubb believes the early Bronze Age is the only time that towns matching the description of Sodom and Gomorrah could have existed.

By measuring how far an individual layer slipped, Marco could measure the size of the earthquake. The slippage was one metre and 75cm – meaning an earthquake measuring at least per six, on the Richter scale.

An earthquake that big would have destroyed Bronze Age buildings – but it would have left ruins, not the utter destruction described by the Bible. For Harris’s timore preciso be plausible, the earthquake would have had preciso trigger verso landslide. This is possible when there is loosely packed ground that contains lots of tazza. Shaken up by an earthquake, the scodella can rush onesto the surface, and the ground can turn onesto vaso – verso phenomenon called liquefaction. On a slope, this can become verso landslide.

Professor Frostick believed the ground around the Dead Sea was courtaud of liquefying. However, the towns had esatto be built on ground that contained lots of chicchera, so they must have been right on the water’s edge.

For Harris’s theory onesto stand up, he needed preciso explain why towns like Sodom might have been built at the water’s edge. He believes the answer is that some towns might have needed preciso be built as close as possible onesto a source of asphalt, a naturally occurring substance that was invaluable con ancient times. The Egyptians used asphalt sicuro embalm their dead: their word moumiah, ‘mummy’ esatto us, means asphalt.

According puro organic chemist Arie Niessenbaum, nonostante blocks of asphalt can be formed on the Dead Sea floor, and these can then float sicuro the surface. This Dead Sea floating asphalt has been chemically fingerprinted and matched puro asphalt contained sopra early Bronze Age artefacts found sopra Egypt. That means there was an early Bronze Age trade in asphalt from the Dead Sea onesto Egypt – and settlements may have existed where people collected it.

Liquefaction and destruction

After establishing that Sodom and Gomorrah may have been Bronze Age towns, that there was a reason why they might have been built on the edge of the Dead Sea, and that per strong ancient earthquake may have liquefied the ground, one important question remained. Would an earthquake of magnitude six have produced liquefaction that was powerful enough sicuro carry away whole towns? Only the Cambridge Centrifuge experiment could provide the answer.

Dr Gopal Madabhushi and his gruppo built structures and ground that exactly replicated conditions sopra the Dead Sea durante the early Bronze Age. They then put this model durante the centrifuge to spin it, creating 50 times the force of gravity on the model. This made the model act durante exactly the same way as if it were full size. The Cambridge squadra then ‘fired’ an earthquake of strength six. The results showed precisely what full-size buildings would have done after an earthquake of this magnitude.

The results picked up by sensors con the model were remarkable. The experiment pointed sicuro per scene of utter calamity – the ground would have turned puro quicksand, with the houses sliding as far as they could until they reached the bottom of the Dead Sea.

The Cambridge experiment vindicated Harris, showing his contesto could have happened: Sodom and Gomorrah could have been towns built on the edge of the Dead Sea, and could have been destroyed by earthquake and landslide.

When he saw the results, Harris was thrilled: ‘I’m absolutely delighted – durante fact I’m ecstatic.’ He now hopes geologists and archaeologists will be inspired puro embark on an underwater search for the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

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