Fire and Brimstone: Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by “cosmic fireball”, evidence shows
SANTA BARBARA, CA – The biblical “sin cities” of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by a meteor “flurry” that incinerated the 8,000 residents, new research shows. The giant space rock exploded over the city 3,650 years ago, creating a fireball. Scientists say the same event could also have given rise to the story of the “collapsing” walls of Jericho, as this city was only 20 miles away.
In tthe Bible, God would have been enraged by the wickedness of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, making it rain on them “fire and brimstone”. Now, there seems to be hard evidence that a “heavenly event” actually occurred around this time. Cosmic calamity devastated the north shore of the Jordan Valley, razing a huge city of 100 acres. He also exterminated other towns and several small villages. There would have been no survivors.
Jordan’s epicenter is located at what is known today as the Tall el-Hammam. An ancient palace was flattened, along with the perimeter walls and other structures. The detonation occurred about 2.5 miles above the ground. Even at this distance, the explosion created a shock wave of 740 mph. He would have razed most of the buildings. None of the 8,000 residents would have survived the initial explosion or the melting temperatures of the rocks that followed.
The human remains suggested they had been blown up or cremated, with extreme disarticulation and fragmentation of the bones. âWe have seen evidence of temperatures above 2,000 degrees Celsius,â said lead author of the study, Professor James Kennett of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a statement.
An international team also found building materials and shards of pottery melted into glass. The mud bricks had heat bubbles. These are all indications of unusually high temperatures, which would have occurred during the biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. There was no artificial technology at the time that could have produced such amazing damage.
“There is evidence of a large cosmic fireball near Tall el-Hammam,” says Professor Kennett. He compares this extraordinary event to the Tunguska event of 1908 when a 12-megaton meteor destroyed 80 million trees across 830 square miles of eastern Siberia. It would also have been similar to the impact that wiped out dinosaurs but on a much smaller scale.
Further evidence was provided by the identification of molten metals, including iron and silica, in soil and sediment samples. The colony had housed early civilization for thousands of years. At the time, it was ten and five times the size of Jerusalem and Jericho, respectively.
âI think one of the main discoveries is shocked quartz. These are grains of sand containing cracks that only form under very high pressure. We have shocked quartz from this layer. This means that there were incredible pressures involved in shocking the quartz crystals. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals. It’s very hard to shock, âsays Kennett.
The fireball also explains the unusually high concentrations of salt in the subsoil layer, which reached 25% in some samples. âThe salt was thrown out due to the high impact pressures,â he adds.
Meteor It is believed to have ruptured upon contact with the Earth’s atmosphere. “And it may be [that] the impact partially hit the Dead Sea, which is rich in salt, âsays Kennett. He redistributed crystals rich in salt from the local shores of the Dead Sea, wiping out other communities in the region. They may have included the biblical city of Jericho, which suffered violent destruction at the same time.
The high salinity soil is believed to trigger the ‘Late Bronze Age Gap’ in which local towns were abandoned. Populations have grown from tens of thousands to perhaps a few hundred nomads. Nothing could grow on this once fertile land, forcing people to leave the area for hundreds of years. Evidence of the resettlement of Tall el-Hammam and neighboring communities reappears in the Iron Age, some 600 years after the sudden devastation of cities.
Tall el-Hamman has been the subject of an ongoing debate as to whether it could be the biblical city of Sodom. In the Old Testament book of Genesis, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because of the wickedness of their inhabitants. One resident, Lot, was saved by two angels who ordered him not to look back as they fled. But Lot’s wife lingers and turns into a pillar of salt. Meanwhile, fire and brimstone fall from the sky; several towns were destroyed; thick smoke rose from the fires; the townspeople have been killed and the region’s cultures have been destroyed in what looks like eyewitness testimony to a cosmic impact event.
âAll of the observations stated in Genesis are consistent with a cosmic fireball. But there is no scientific proof that this destroyed city is indeed Old Testament Sodom, âsays Kennett. Space rock passed through the atmosphere and exploded above the ancient city, he explained.
Researchers believe the disaster generated an oral tradition that inspired the written account of the Book of Genesis. It may also have led to the story of the burning of Jericho in the Old Testament book of Joshua. âThis is an incredibly important area culturally. This is where much of the early cultural complexity of humans developed, âadds Kennett.
The results are published in the journal Scientific reports.
South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.