The history of the Flood, described in the Bible, excites people for a long time. Some believe in a cataclysm, others deny, citing their atheistic beliefs. Nevertheless, scientists have found evidence of a global cataclysm more than once.
According to the Bible, several centuries after the creation of the world “people began to multiply on earth, and daughters were born to them, then the sons of God (angels) saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, and took them as wives.”
The angry Lord decided to destroy humanity and all life on Earth. God had mercy only on the righteous Noah and his family and he commanded him to build a ship, taking in “a pair of each creature.” After that, a terrible downpour began and lasted forty days. The water rose “above the highest mountains.” As a result, everyone died except the inhabitants of the ark.
This story is perhaps the most famous. However, as scientists have found out, it is far from the only one. The flood myth is presented in one form or another among many cultures.
The ancient Sumerians and their heirs – the Akkadians and Babylonians, the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine, India and Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, Australia and Polynesia – told about this. Even the myths of Indian tribes, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, tell the same story. At the same time, there are no legends about the flood in the folklore of Europe (except for Greece, Wales, Lithuania and some gypsy tribes), most of Asia and Africa.
It was unclear whose legend appeared earlier and whether the cataclysm actually took place.
Several years ago, researchers stated that the roots of a large-scale disaster should be sought in the Chinese traditions. One of them tells how powerful streams of water fell on the country, threatening to flood all of China. But the wise ruler Yu (he really lived) curbed the elements with the help of magic. In 2016, ecologist Qinglong Wu of Peking University and his colleagues found unexpected confirmation of the reality of the legend.
They studied rock deposits in the Jishi Gorge in western China, through which the famous Yellow River flows. Their attention was attracted by atypical deposits of pebbles and sand, which could only have been formed under the influence of large volumes of water.
The reason, according to scientists, could be a huge landslide that blocked the Yellow River and turned into a giant natural 200-meter dam. A reservoir was formed, and the surroundings were completely flooded.
“As a result, the level of the Yellow River almost instantly rose by 38 meters, and the width increased several times. Every second the river was throwing more than 500 thousand cubic meters of water in excess of the norm,” Darryl Granger explains, one of the researchers.
But this catastrophe happened about four thousand years ago and most of the legends about the Flood appeared much earlier.
In Iraq, archaeologists have found clay tablets, on which the story was similar to the legend of the Great Flood. However, all this evidence was indirect and did not confirm the fact of a global cataclysm.
According to legend, the gods were angry with people for unrighteousness and sent a flood as punishment. It rained for many days and nights. Only the pious Ziusudra, the king of the city of Shuruppak, was saved: the deities warned him in advance.
During the 20th century, in many regions of the Middle East, archaeologists have found inscriptions with different versions of the legend.
Then they understood: the story about Noah was copied from them. In addition, scientists have found material evidence of the cataclysm.
Scientists suggested that then a very strong flood happened in Mesopotamia. At first everything turned out to be under water, and when the elements receded, cities and towns were covered with a thick layer of silt and clay.
Everything seems to fit, however, there is one thing: river floods occur regularly but even the most destructive ones cannot claim the status of the Flood. Only a cataclysm of a much larger scale could give birth to a legend.
A recent study by Geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman of Columbia University found the missing clue. They studied the “Earth’s climate record” – the ice deposits in Greenland and they came to the conclusion that ten thousand years ago the level of the world’s oceans rose significantly.
According to scientists, about 7,500 years ago, the melting of glaciers led to a significant increase in the level of the Mediterranean Sea. This, in turn, formed a large waterfall in the Bosphorus Strait, which was more than two hundred times stronger than Niagara. The spilling of the waterfall lasted for about three hundred days in a row.
“At a depth of about 160 meters, we discovered an ancient coastline. The remains of wooden structures stretch along it, which are very well preserved,” underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard emphasized.
According to scientists, the level of the Black Sea rose by half a meter a day. Scientists found evidence of this when they discovered a coastline at the bottom of the sea.
Scientists believe that it was the disaster on the Black Sea coast that could form the basis of the biblical story of the Flood but further research is required.