Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Noah's Great Flood -- History Channel "Mega Disasters" presents theory about Black Sea

On May 27, 2008 the History Channel aired “Noah’s Great Flood” in its Mega-Disasters series. The show hypothesizes that the Black Sea, between Russia, Ukraine, Romania on one side and Turkey on the other, was once a fresh water lake, apparently about 300 feet below sea level, and that the earliest urban civilizations began to develop along the lake, particularly on the southern (Turkish) side. (Note, the endorheic Caspian Sea to the east is actually 92 feet below sea level). Then, one day about 8000 years ago, the Mediterranean Sea overflowed through the Strait of Bosporus, filling up the lake and creating today’s Black Sea, which is saline but which has unusual composition and different depths.

It’s not hard to see why this could have generated the story of the Great Flood in Genesis. Most of the civilizations described in the Bible could have grown out of descendants from these early settlements, along with other invaders or peoples (especially in Egypt). If this story is true, it is the greatest cataclysm in history.

The Flood could have been caused by a rise in sea level of the Mediterranean. That would provide a lesson for today, in conjunction with the melting of ice caps and global warming. Imagine New York City or Florida after a rise in sea level, especially with the storm surge of a hurricane. The film offered images from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as examples of how a flood affects a large area permanently, especially when some of the affected area was below sea level.

The show documented some archeological dives off the Turkish coast, and the digs may have found stone remnants of a very old civilization, although the utensils and pottery recovered are much newer.

It’s also possible that such a Flood happened much more gradually over a few years, but it still would have been cataclysmic for an early urban civilization that could not have grasped the geographical cause of its danger.

The film points out that a flood like this (unlike a tsunami) leaves geographical change that is permanent, because the flood water does not recede from any area below sea level (or from any area that is trapped).

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