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E & A #2  posted 6/1/00

Page 215, “The Bosporus River - Awaiting Armageddon”

Prof. Emil Stanev of the Sofia University of Bulgaria (stanev@phys.uni-sofia.bg) assures me that the concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the Black Sea is far below saturation so there is no danger of the soda can effect liberating the poison gas, as I had speculated. However, in their fascinating book “Noah’s Flood,” the geologists Ryan and Pitman note that the level of the hydrogen sulfide interface has risen by more than eighty feet in the last few decades, and they speculate that “major storms or tsunami generated by earthquakes would have been capable of momentarily sliding away the protecting surface layer to release a lethal cloud of destruction across the basin and its rim.” The flood occured about 5600 BCE; the Mediterranean broached the natural dam of soil and debris in the Bospurus Strait, poring with the flow rate of 200 Niagaras (page 234, 249) into the freshwater lake lying some 350 feet (page 157) or as much as 500 feet (page 234) below the sea level, in a few years changing it into the salt-water Black Sea, and sending its coastal residents on a Diaspora that changed world history. The authors also state (page 242) that “since the flood, its depths, devoid of oxygen, have been enriched in poisonous hydrogen sulfide.” This would indicate that the hydrogen sulfide comes from natural sources, but they do not describe what the sources could be. They note that the Babylonian epic “Gilgamesh” describes the sea of that myth’s climax, which Ryan and Pitman convincingly identify as the modern Black Sea, as the “Sea of Death,” a title with which they concur. “Not from the beginning of time has anyone been able to go across this sea of death. Far out in the waters, forbidding the way, there slide the other waters, the waters of death.” (Gilgamesh, Tablet 11.)

This book is a sweeping examination and synthesis of the authors own original work in geology plus other studies in archeology, comparative linguistics, paleobiology, genetics, and mythology. Though the book includes many personal and human stories, it is not an easy read, simply because of its immense scope, but it is a most satisfying book. I found Chapters 17 and 20 provide most accessible summaries. “Noah’s Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event that Changed History”, William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Simon and Schuster, 1998.

My colleague Dr. David Dietrich (david@songoku.uib.es or dietrich@plato.nmia.com) has had recent success in computational modeling of the complex flows in the Black Sea, including all the major gyres and the counter-flowing submerged current in the Bosporus Strait.

pjr

E & A #1  posted 11/22/99

  Page 217, line 11, "... season (which lowered the temperature and therefore decreased the density of the upper layer)”

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