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Marco showed her a rock face containing layers of chalk and rock

Mediante one place luxy, there was per huge fault line caused by an ancient earthquake

Tubb believes the early Bronze Age is the only time that towns matching the description of Sodom and Gomorrah could have existed.

By measuring how far an individual layer slipped, Marco could measure the size of the earthquake. The slippage was one metre and 75cm – meaning an earthquake measuring at least verso six, on the Richter scale.

An earthquake that big would have destroyed Bronze Age buildings – but it would have left ruins, not the utter destruction described by the Bible. For Harris’s pensiero preciso be plausible, the earthquake would have had esatto trigger verso landslide. This is possible when there is loosely packed ground that contains lots of chicchera. Shaken up by an earthquake, the water can rush esatto the surface, and the ground can turn to chicchera – a phenomenon called liquefaction. On per slope, this can become per landslide.

Professor Frostick believed the ground around the Dead Sea was court of liquefying. However, the towns had sicuro be built on ground that contained lots of tazza, so they must have been right on the water’s edge.

For Harris’s theory esatto stand up, he needed puro explain why towns like Sodom might have been built at the water’s edge. He believes the answer is that some towns might have needed to be built as close as possible preciso per source of asphalt, a naturally occurring substance that was invaluable in ancient times. The Egyptians used asphalt esatto embalm their dead: their word moumiah, ‘mummy’ esatto us, means asphalt.

According puro organic chemist Arie Niessenbaum, sebbene blocks of asphalt can be formed on the Dead Sea floor, and these can then float puro the surface. This Dead Sea floating asphalt has been chemically fingerprinted and matched to asphalt contained per early Bronze Age artefacts found con Egypt. That means there was an early Bronze Age trade in asphalt from the Dead Sea puro Egypt – and settlements may have existed where people collected it.

Liquefaction and destruction

After establishing that Sodom and Gomorrah may have been Bronze Age towns, that there was verso reason why they might have been built on the edge of the Dead Sea, and that a strong ancient earthquake may have liquefied the ground, one important question remained. Would an earthquake of magnitude six have produced liquefaction that was powerful enough esatto carry away whole towns? Only the Cambridge Centrifuge experiment could provide the answer.

Dr Gopal Madabhushi and his staff built structures and ground that exactly replicated conditions mediante the Dead Sea sopra the early Bronze Age. They then put this model sopra the centrifuge to spin it, creating 50 times the force of gravity on the model. This made the model act durante exactly the same way as if it were full size. The Cambridge staff then ‘fired’ an earthquake of strength six. The results showed precisely what full-size buildings would have done after an earthquake of this magnitude.

The results picked up by sensors durante the model were remarkable. The experiment pointed to verso scene of utter calamity – the ground would have turned onesto quicksand, with the houses sliding as far as they could until they reached the bottom of the Dead Sea.

The Cambridge experiment vindicated Harris, showing his ambiente could have happened: Sodom and Gomorrah could have been towns built on the edge of the Dead Sea, and could have been destroyed by earthquake and landslide.

When he saw the results, Harris was thrilled: ‘I’m absolutely delighted – in fact I’m ecstatic.’ He now hopes geologists and archaeologists will be inspired puro embark on an underwater search for the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah.