Some 3 700 years ago, a meteor or comet exploded across the Middle East and wrecked human life over a…
Some 3 700 years ago, a meteor or comet exploded across the Middle East and wrecked human life over a landslide called Middle Ghor, north of the Dead Sea, says archaeologists who have found evidence of the cosmic air burst.  The airborne “in a moment destroyed about 500 km2 [about 200 square miles] immediately north of the Dead Sea, which not only dries out 100 percent of [cities] and the towns, but also removes farmland from only fertile fields and covers East Middle Ghor with a superheated saline solution of Dead Sea Anhydride salts is pushed over the landscape through the event’s shock shocks, “wrote the researchers in abstract for a paper presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting in Denver Nov. 1
4 to 17. Anhydride salts are a mixture of salt and sulfates.
“Based on the archaeological evidence, it took at least 600 years to recover sufficiently from the earthquake and the pollution before civilization can once again be established in East Middle Ghor,” they wrote. Among the places destroyed were Tall el-Hammam, an old city that covered 89 hectares (36 hectares) of land. [Wipe Out: History’s Most Mysterious Extinctions]
Among the evidence that the researchers discovered for the airborne burst are 3 700 years old Tall el-Hammam pottery that has an unusual appearance. The pot’s surface had been glazed (turned to glass). The temperature was also so high that parts of zirconium in the ceramic became gas – which requires a temperature of more than 730 degrees Fahrenheit (4000 degrees Celsius), says Phillip Silvia, a field archaeologist and tutor with the Tall el-Hammam Digging Project. But the heat, while powerful, did not last long enough to burn throughout the ceramic pieces, leaving portions of ceramic under the surface relatively undamaged.
The only natural occurrence that can cause such an unusual pattern of destruction, Silvia said, is a cosmic air burst – something that has occasionally occurred in the history of the earth, such as the 1908 explosion in Tunguska, Siberia.
Archaeological excavations and surveys in other cities in the affected area suggest a sudden lifespan in life around 3,700 years ago, Silvia said. So far no craters have been found nearby, and it is unclear whether the guilty one was a meteor or comet that exploded across the field.
Destruction of only 200 square million land indicates that the air burst occurred at low altitude, perhaps no more than 3 280 meters (1 km) above the ground, said Silvia. In comparison, Tunguska airburst heavily damaged 830 square kilometers, or 2,150 square kilometers of land.
The team’s results are preliminary and research is ongoing, Silvia stressed. The research group consists of Trinity Southwest University members, North Arizona University, DePaul University, Elizabeth City State University, New Mexico Tech and Comet Research Group.
Originally published on Live Science.