– The biblical city of Sodom was destroyed by “brimstone and fire”, as the book of Genesis says. Now, scientists say it’s possible that this story is the written version of the oral tradition of what happened to an ancient Middle Eastern city now called Tall el-Hammam, which they determined was erased by a space rock about 3,600 years ago. According to a study in Scientific reports, archaeologists who spent 15 years excavating the remains of the city’s destruction found bone fragments and a layer of molten metal, mud bricks and pottery 5 feet deep. Everything from volcanoes to lightning to war has been ruled out as a cause. Where they landed: This was the result of an even larger cosmic air explosion than the 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia.
The conversation describes what researchers think happened after the meteor, moving toward Earth at about 38,000 mph, exploded about 2.5 miles above the city. “The explosion was about 1,000 times more powerful than Hiroshima’s atomic bomb,” on the one hand. Anyone looking at him would have been blinded, not that he would have survived the other impacts: the air temperature skyrocketed to 3,600 degrees, and clothing and wood caught fire. Then, seconds later, a shock wave hit the city, causing winds unlike any tornado on record. The buildings were destroyed; the bones of the inhabitants were “exploded”, like the London Times the dish.
And another biblical town was hit, the Conversation noting that about a minute after the blast, the blast winds hit Jericho about 14 miles away in the Jordan Valley. “The walls of Jericho collapsed and the city was burnt to the ground.” The study says the aerial explosion resulted in an influx of salt (likely from the Dead Sea) covering the area that inhibited agriculture and saw as many as 120 regional settlements abandoned for 300 to 600 years. In the book of Genesis, Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt when she thought about the destruction of Sodom. (Read more stories of archeology.)