ECU professor’s research team says cosmic event could explain biblical destruction of Sodom

Dr. Sid Mitra, professor of geological sciences, examines a sample in his lab. (ECU Photo by...
Dr. Sid Mitra, professor of geological sciences, examines a sample in his lab. (ECU Photo by Rhett Butler)(East Carolina University)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:38 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A research team including an East Carolina University professor has presented evidence that the biblical city of Sodom could have been destroyed by an exploding comet or meteor.

Dr. Sid Mitra, a geological sciences professor at ECU, says archaeological excavation began at Tall el-Hammam, the city located in the Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea, in 2005.

There is an ongoing debate whether Tall el-Hamman and Sodom were actually the same city.

In the Book of Genesis, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness.

Researchers were particularly interested in a city-wide 1.5-meter-thick destruction layer of carbon and ash. The layer, which dates to about 1640 B.C.E. (about 3,600 years ago), contains shocked quartz, melted pottery, mudbricks, diamond-like carbon, soot, remnants of melted plaster, and melted minerals including platinum, iridium, nickel, gold, silver, zircon, chromite and quartz.

The site includes a “massive palace complex with thick walls and a monumental gateway, much of which was destroyed.”

The researchers developed a hypothesis that there had been a meteorite impact or bolide, a meteor that explodes in the atmosphere. The researchers compared the airburst to a 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia, where a 50-meter-wide bolide detonated, generating 1,000 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Researchers in a variety of fields were called upon to analyze evidence from the site, including Mitra, whose lab focuses on the analysis of soot.

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