Some 3,700 years ago, a massive meteor approached Earth. As it entered the planet’s atmosphere, it exploded unleashing all its cosmic fury and a massive heat wave.
According to experts, the heat wave unleashed by the explosion in the sky was so powerful that it destroyed cities and agricultural settlements north of the Dead Sea.
Radiocarbon dating and minerals that were unearthed which crystallized instantly at high temperatures indicate that a massive explosion caused by a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere instantly destroyed civilization in a 25-kilometer-wide circular plain called Middle Ghor, explained archaeologist Phillip Silvia, as reported by Science News.
Furthermore, their evidence suggests that the event also pushed a bubbling brine of Dead Sea salts over previously fertile farmland.
It was a disastrous moment and people did not return to the region for hundreds of years.
People who lived in the area and survived the catastrophic encounter did not return to the region for 600 to 700 years, explained Phillip Silvia, who works at the Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque.
The new findings were reported at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Excavations at five major sites in Middle Ghor, in what is now Jordan, indicate that all were continuously occupied for at least 2,500 years until a sudden collective collapse towards the end of the Bronze Age.
Field studies have located 120 smaller settlements in the region that researchers suspect were also exposed to extreme heat and wind.
It is estimated that between 40,000 and 65,000 people inhabited Middle Ghor when the meteor disintegrated in the atmosphere, explained Silvia.
Evidence of destruction caused by a low-altitude meteor explosion can be found in the ancient city of Tall el-Hammam, which dates back to the Bronze Age.
Some Biblical scholars have proposed that the Tall el-Hammam was the original city of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, most scholars believe this is not the case.
Experts, including Silva, have been excavating the site for the past thirteen years.
Radiocarbon dating indicates that the adobe walls of almost all the structures in the city disappeared suddenly some 3,700 years ago, leaving only stone foundations.
Furthermore, the outer layers of many ceramic pieces of the same period show signs of having melted into glass.
Silvia said that the zircon crystals in those vitreous layers formed in a second at extremely high temperatures.
As explained by Science News, High force winds created small spherical mineral grains that seemingly rained on Tall el-Hammam, the researchers explained.
Scientists have identified these tiny fragments of rock in ceramic artifacts recovered from the site.