Washington, Jan 24 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have suggested that an ancient flood, similar to the biblical Noah's flood, which was believed to have occurred 9,500 years ago and drowned the shores of the Black Sea, was much smaller than previously proposed by other researchers.
Using sediment cores from the delta of the Danube River, which empties into the Black Sea, the researchers, from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), determined sea level was approximately 30 meters below present levels, rather than the 80 meters others hypothesized.
"We don't see evidence for a catastrophic flood as others have described," said Liviu Giosan, a geologist in the WHOI Geology and Geophysics Department.
Ten thousand years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, the Black Sea was a lake, which was cut off from the Sea of Marmara and beyond it the Mediterranean by the Bosphorus sill.
Debate in geological and archaeological circles has focused on whether, as glaciers melted and global sea levels began to rise, the Bosphorus sill overflowed gradually or whether a flood broke through the sill, drowning some 70,000 square kilometers and wiping out early Neolithic civilizations in the region.
In addition to questions about the rate of the flood, investigators continue to debate the extent of the flood - a debate centered around what the level of the Black Sea was 9,500 years ago.
In 2006, a team led by Liviu Giosan showed that the development phases of the Danube delta demonstrate that the level was more or less as today in the last 6000 years.
To extend their record back in time beyond 6000 years, in 2007, Giosan and his colleagues drilled a new core to 42 meters depth at the mouth of the Danube River.
Their goal was to reconstruct the history of that part of the delta-before and after the flood-through an examination of the sediments.
In analyzing the delta sediment from the new core as well as others taken in the region, Giosan's team discovered fresh water deposits of the newly forming delta dating back approximately 10,000 years, subsequently overlaid by fine marine sediments, followed by the modern delta deposits.
"It's amazing. The early delta was forming in a fresh water lake just a couple of hundred years before the flood. And after the flood, you have these marine deposits overlaying the whole delta region," said Giosan.
Once the researchers dated and reconstructed the delta plain, they could determine sea level for the Black Sea.
They found that the Black Sea level at the time of the flood was around 30 meters below present levels. (ANI)