The meteor impacts on Earth are incredibly rare. It seems just as good because their effects on a planet can be catastrophic. For example, the Chicxulub event, which may have effectively eliminated dinosaurs and caused age dominated by mammals, is strongly related to such an impact. However, it is obvious that big meteors can cause damage, even if they do not touch the Earth. Even those who penetrate remotely into the atmosphere can eliminate a relatively large area. This effect is now attributed to the mysterious disappearance of a whole human civilization whose existence was known in the Bronze Age.
The missing city
This state (rather city-state) was known as Tall el-Hamman and was formerly developed in a region now located in the modern nation of Jordan. Archaeological evidence has shown that Tall el-Hamman was once a fully established city. She also controlled an area around him that had a total area of just over 50 hectares. This space included strategic frontier towns (characteristic of the wealthy city of the Bronze Age), divided into a ring separating them about 3 km from Tall el-Hamman. The area also includes rich and fertile farmland, fortifications and other remnants of a defensive city. They must have worked well because archaeologists have not yet found evidence of successful military incursions into the city.
Despite all the providence and apparent power of Tall el-Hamman, its inhabitants and even farmland disappeared from the map without leaving any trace or explanation.
This can be attributed to a single event that occurred about 3,700 years ago. Everything that happened at the time also resulted in a significant amount of Dead Sea brine in the area, making it covered with heated anhydrides and therefore uninhabitable. Indeed, it was only 600 to 700 years later that humans were able to return to the region in all their aspects.
So, what happened to the old city-state?
The Middle Ghor event
The answer to this question has recently been revealed by a collaborating team in several universities and institutions such as DePaul University, New Mexico Tech University of Elizabeth City University, the University of North of Arizona, North Carolina State University, Trinity Southwest University, Comet Research Group and Los Angeles. Alamos National Laboratories.
The group reported evidence of a meteoric explosion in the air that devastated the 500 square kilometer area (now known as Middle Ghor), which encompassed Tall el Hamman and its satellite towns. The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed all its clay buildings, leaving only their foundations to archaeologists.
This explosion also had other devastating effects, such as melting pottery into fragments of glass, which may have rained down on the inhabitants of the Bronze Age. These people, numbering 65,000, could also have been destroyed by the blast. The Middle Ghor event could have ended with a colossal shock wave, thus causing the repeal of fertile soils and the penetration of brine from the Dead Sea (located south of Tall el Hamman). ).
This evidence could explain how a meteor destroyed a prosperous city.
This new research was published in the Proceedings of the American Oriental Research Schools 2018 annual meeting.
The document includes summaries of the data, what is now called the "Middle Ghor Event", as well as a project led by a researcher from Trinity Southwest University and providing concrete evidence of the very existence from Tall el-Hamman.
This study may also inform of another similar event in more recent history – the devastation of Tunguska. Tunguska was a region of northern Siberia encompassed by Krasnoyarsk in modern times. In 1908, reports of an explosion of unprecedented magnitude began to appear. According to witnesses, the sky "split in two" and presented a fire from end to end. The presence of a corresponding colossal fireball up to 100 meters would have obliterated millions of trees in the Tunguska taiga. The area was barely populated, although the reindeer who lived there died in large numbers. The "Tunguska" event was also felt in the nearest settlements (about 35 km away).
Delays in access to the site, the lack of a clearly defined area of impact or crater, and prolonged debate have forced scientists to come to a conclusion about what happened in Tunguska . Theories from research in this country ranged from the collision of extraterrestrial vehicles to a black hole invading the atmosphere of the region.
Finally, however, a less fantastic analysis of the samples taken at Tunguska made it possible to say that a meteor was reacting with the atmosphere, just as it had done with Tall el-Hamman. This was reinforced by the discovery of minerals and deposits, including lonsdaleite (a form of carbon network associated with the explosion of a meteor rich in graphite), meteoric nickel and tiny rocks from the body of the cosmic body. putative.
Trees felled in the Tunguska region after the event. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Do meteors really represent such a threat?
Events such as those of Tunguska, as well as the more recent example of Chelyabinsk, can demonstrate that meteors could pose a profound threat to life on Earth. These events are also associated with energy levels ranging from 2.092 to 83.68 petajoules.
On the other hand, weather phenomena of this type are also extremely rare: we have just seen that the closest cosmic objects to approach the planet – the Recent 'close approaches' observed by NASAfollowed by the meteor shower Leonid – were all more than 200,000 km from the planet as they traveled it. In the case of meteorite rain, fragments of the comet in question burned harmlessly in the atmosphere, as does the vast majority of meteors.
Research on events such as Middle Ghor and Tunguska have shown us that only meteors of significant size (defined by some scientists on a lot larger than a football field) have something to worry about that life continues to exist on Earth. It is to be hoped that the technology that detects – and perhaps even deflects – these organisms will continue to grow in the future.
Top image: The Dead Sea in modern Jordan. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
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The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization, 2018, Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Meeting of American Eastern Research Schools (pages 151-2), http: //www.asor.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-Abstract-Book_update …, (accessed November 25, 18)
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