Meteor destroyed ancient city, likely inspired Bible tale of Sodom, study finds - The Times of Israel
Sep 25, 2021 1 min, 51 secs
An ancient civilization in the Dead Sea area was wiped out by an apparent “airburst” meteor explosion with the force of a nuclear weapon that destroyed cities and salted the earth some 3,600 years ago, leaving it uninhabitable for centuries, scientists said in a study published this week, and postulated it could have inspired the biblical account of the destruction of Sodom.

The findings from the years-long study by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists at Jordan’s Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project were published on Monday in Nature Scientific Reports, an online peer-reviewed journal.

It also possibly offers a source to the biblical account of the destruction of the city of Sodom that was described in Genesis 19:24–25: “Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens.

The study notes that there is ongoing debate as to whether Tall el-Hammam could be the biblical city of Sodom, saying that question is “beyond the scope of this investigation.”.

The spike in salinity in the area provides a further link to the biblical account of Sodom.

Steven Collins, the Tall el-Hammam site is a strong candidate for the biblical city of Sodom due to a multitude of factors.

However, other scholars — particularly Christian bible authorities — have disputed identifying Tall el-Hammam and its destruction as the site and inspiration for the story of Sodom, citing both its location and dating as problematic in fitting into the biblical narrative.

“In my opinion, this is an example of evidence being marshaled to support the identification of the site as Sodom, as opposed to letting the site speak for itself,” archaeologist Robert Mullins, Chair of the Department of Biblical Studies at Azusa Pacific University, told Christianity Today after the study was published.

The conclusions on the meteor airburst were reached by a team of 21 scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, New Mexico Tech, Northern Arizona University, NC State University, Elizabeth City (NC) State University, University of South Carolina, East Carolina University, DePaul University, Trinity Southwest University, University of Oregon, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Charles University in Prague, the Comet Research Group, the US Navy, and Los Alamos National Laboratories, who examined samples from 15 seasons of Tall el-Hammam excavations.

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