April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
It is one of the oldest stories in the human pantheon, and one of the first any child learns at church. Noah and his great Ark, saving two of every animal from a world destroying flood.
Now, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s most famous underwater explorers, has set his sights on proving the existence of this flood. Ballard, the archaeologist who discovered the Titanic using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras in 1985, has been searching Turkey for evidence of a civilization swept away by a monstrous ancient flood.
“We went in there to look for the flood,” Ballard told ABC News. “Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed…The land that went under stayed under.”
The discovery of Noah’s ark – the huge ship filled with two of each creature meant to repopulate the Earth – has been announced many times. In 1960, a boat like formation was spotted in an aerial photograph on Mount Everest. The shape in the photograph was roughly 500 – 515 feet long, which would put it in the right ball park of the biblical dimensions of the floating zoo. According to the bible, the ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. In today’s terms, that’s 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high, as a cubit was “the length of a man’s arm from fingertips to elbow,” or approximately 18 inches.
More recently, in 2010, National Geographic reported that a team of “evangelical Christian explorers” claimed to have found the wooden remains of Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat, 20 miles away from Everest.
Until the 1990s, though, not much evidence had been found for the flood itself. Columbia University marine geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman gathered compelling evidence to show that a flood may have occurred in the Middle East approximately 7,500 years ago. (Interesting side note: this time estimate does not agree with the age of the wooden structure found on Mount Ararat.)
The geologists put forth the theory that a rising Mediterranean Sea pushed a channel through what is now the Bosphorus. This submerged the original shoreline of the Black Sea in a flood moving at approximately 200 times the volume of Niagara Falls that extended out for about 100,000 miles.
Ballard says that some 12,000 years ago, much of the world as we know it today was covered in ice.
“Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that’s a big ice cube,” he told ABC News reporters. “But then it started to melt. We’re talking about the floods of our living history.”
“The questions is, was there a mother of all floods,” Ballard said.
Ballard and his team investigated the idea of the Mediterranean turning the small freshwater inland lake into the salty Black Sea.
“We went in there to look for the flood,” he said. “Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed… The land that went under stayed under.”