Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Archaeologists have advanced a theory that towns and people in a region just north of the Dead Sea may have been obliterated by a Tunguska style airburst, 3,700 years ago.
Cosmic Airburst May Have Wiped Out Part of the Middle East 3,700 Years Ago
By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | November 28, 2018 06:32am ET
Some 3,700 years ago, a meteor or comet exploded over the Middle East, wiping out human life across a swath of land called Middle Ghor, north of the Dead Sea, say archaeologists who have found evidence of the cosmic airburst.
The airburst “in an instant, devastated approximately 500 km2 [about 200 square miles] immediately north of the Dead Sea, not only wiping out 100 percent of the [cities] and towns, but also stripping agricultural soils from once-fertile fields and covering the eastern Middle Ghor with a super-heated brine of Dead Sea anhydride salts pushed over the landscape by the event’s frontal shock waves,” the researchers wrote in the abstract for a paper that was presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research annual meeting held in Denver Nov. 14 to 17. Anhydride salts are a mix of salt and sulfates.
“Based upon the archaeological evidence, it took at least 600 years to recover sufficiently from the soil destruction and contamination before civilization could again become established in the eastern Middle Ghor,” they wrote. Among the places destroyed was Tall el-Hammam, an ancient city that covered 89 acres (36 hectares) of land. [Wipe Out: History’s Most Mysterious Extinctions]
Obviously early days with this theory, but this claim opens the question, how many currently unexplained cultural collapses and devastations will turn out to have been caused by meteor impacts or other natural disasters?
Perhaps its time we started taking real threats seriously, even low probability high impact events like major meteor strikes, and stopped wasting time and resources chasing imaginary problems like global warming.