Two years ago, archaeologists and scientists working in the Jordan River Valley made an amazing discovery—that 3,700 years ago a comet or large meteor exploded in mid-air above the then city at Tall El-Hammam in Jordan, incinerating it and the surrounding towns and countryside. The results were published in the highly respected peer-reviewed scientific journal, Scientific Reports (Bunch et al, 2021). The timing and location match the biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah that would have been very near the same time.
For years many investigators have searched for these lost cities at sites around the Dead Sea, more frequently at its southern end, without success. The biblical account, however, strongly suggests the site was north of the Dead Sea. Tall El-Hammam has long been a well-known archaeological site—a hill with layers of ruins of the foundations of many buildings. It was first described in the nineteenth century, and then described in detail in 1932. Renewed excavations began in 2011. The site, now claimed to be Sodom of the bible, is north of the Dead Sea on the eastern side of the Jordan River in the Kingdom of Jordan (see below).
The scientists who reported their findings have encountered some blowback from critics, but this is not unexpected because as the saying goes—extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Fortunately, I have personal experience as a scientist investigating other ancient bolide impacts and the evidences for them. Ten to fifteen years ago I was part of a scientific team that investigated the much more ancient impact at the Chesapeake Bay (Gohn and others, 2008; Sanford and others, 2013). These results were also published in top peer-reviewed scientific journals. We reported many of the same lines of evidence.
The more recent authors report evidence that a cosmic airburst about 3700 years ago destroyed Tall el-Hammam. The proposed Sodom airburst was larger than the famous 1908 explosion at Tunguska, Siberia. There an estimated 50-m wide bolide (comet or meteor) detonated with about 1000 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb
and flattened 80 million trees over 800 square miles. The recent Jordan study reports a city-wide 4-5 feet thick carbon-and-ash-rich destruction layer with melted pottery and mudbricks. This layer also contained spherules (typical of airborne droplets) with high concentrations of iridium, platinum, nickel, gold, silver, zircon, and chromite. Such metals are not native to this area but are plentiful in many meteorites. The layer also contained shocked quartz—tell-tale small grains that have only been found at other impact sites. Only high-pressure shock waves from such hugs explosions or impacts can create these types of mineral fractures. Heating experiments were also conducted, and indicated temperatures must have exceeded 2000 degrees Celsius. The explosion demolished the 12-plus meters of the four-to-five story main palace and caused the fragmentation of many human skeletons into very small pieces. The estimated wide-spread impact of the explosion was estimated to have reached as far west as Jericho and south well into the Dead Sea. There salt water was blown up into the atmosphere and rained down to create wide-spread salinization of the soils in the region.
The event is considered to have been a mid-air explosion rather than a land-impact because the latter would have left a large crater that would still be visible today. Numerical simulations for the similar Tunguska explosion by Sandia National Laboratory (see below) indicate that hot gases would have been ignited and reached the ground at extremely high temperatures. This simulation software run by Sandia National Laboratory is the same that they use to simulate nuclear warhead detonations for the defense department. The specialized software incorporates the extreme temperature and pressure physics occurring during such events. They also used this program to simulate the large bolide impact we studied at the Chesapeake Bay.
The different types of evidence presented in the scientific report point strongly to a cosmic source for this large and extreme thermal event that destroyed this ancient city. The timing of the event is so close to that of the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone rained down from the sky, that it’s hard to imagine these two are not the same event.
Bunch, Ted E., and 20 others (2021) A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea. Scientific Reports, volume 11, 18632 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97778-3
Gohn, Greg S., and 11 others (2008) Deep Drilling into the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure. Science, volume 320, 1740 https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1158708
Sanford, Ward E., and 4 others (2013) Evidence for high salinity of Early Cretaceous sea water from the Chesapeake Bay crater. Nature, volume 503, pages 252-256, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12714