Some 3,700 years ago, a meteor or comet exploded in the Middle East, destroying human life through a strip of land called Middle Ghor, north of the Dead Sea, archaeologists found evidence of the air explosion.
The airburst "in an instant, devastated about 500 km2 [about 200 square miles] immediately to the north of the Dead Sea, not only by erasing 100 percent of the [cities] and cities, but also strip agricultural soils from formerly fertile fields and cover the Middle Eastern Ghor with an overheated brine of Dead Sea anhydride salts pushed onto the landscape by the frontal shock waves of the event ", have The researchers summarized a summary paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research held in Denver from November 14 to 17. The anhydride salts are a mixture of salt and sulphates.
"On the basis of archaeological evidence, it took at least 600 years to recover enough from the destruction and contamination of the soil before civilization could once again establish itself in the east of Middle Ghor", did they write. Tall el-Hammam, an old city of 36 hectares, was among the destroyed places. [Wipe Out: History’s Most Mysterious Extinctions]
Among the pieces of evidence discovered by scientists during the burst of air are pieces of Tall Al-Hammam pottery dating back to 3,700 years old and of unusual appearance. The surface of the pottery had been vitrified (transformed into glass). The temperature was also so high that pieces of zircon in the pottery turned into gas, which requires a temperature above 7,230 degrees Fahrenheit (4,000 degrees Celsius), said Phillip Silvia, field archaeologist and supervisor at the excavation of Tall el-Hammam. Project. However, the heat, although powerful, did not last long enough to burn entire pottery pieces, leaving parts of the pottery beneath the surface relatively unharmed.
Silvia explained that the only natural event likely to cause such an unusual pattern of destruction is a cosmic aerosol – something that has happened from time to time during the Earth's history, as the 190, explosion in Tunguska, Siberia.
In addition, archaeological excavations and investigations in other cities in the affected area suggest a sudden erasure of life about 3,700 years ago, said Silvia. Until now, no crater has been found nearby and it is unclear whether the culprit was a meteor or comet that exploded above the ground.
The fact that only 200 square miles of land was destroyed indicates that the aerial explosion occurred at low altitude, probably within 1280 meters (3,280 feet) of the ground, Silvia said. In comparison, the Tunguska airburst has heavily damaged 830 square miles, or 2,150 square kilometers of land.
The team's results are preliminary and research is underway, Silvia said. The team of scientists includes members from Trinity University Southwest, Northern Arizona University, DePaul University, Elizabeth City State University, New Mexico Tech and the Comet research group.
Originally posted on Live Science.