Washington, Sep 22 (ANI): The movement of wind could have led to the parting of Red Sea waters-a finding which is similar to description of its formation in the biblical account, say researchers.
A new computer modeling study by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) shows how the movement of wind as described in the book of Exodus could have parted the waters.
The computer simulations show that a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea.
With the water pushed back into both waterways, a land bridge would have opened at the bend, enabling people to walk across exposed mud flats to safety. As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in.
The study is intended to present a possible scenario of events that are said to have taken place more than 3,000 years ago, although experts are uncertain whether they actually occurred.
The research was based on a reconstruction of the likely locations and depths of Nile delta waterways, which have shifted considerably over time.
"The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus. The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that's in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in," said Carl Drews of NCAR, the lead author.
By pinpointing a possible site south of the Mediterranean Sea for the crossing, the study also could be of benefit to experts seeking to research whether such an event ever took place.
The Exodus account describes Moses and the fleeing Israelites trapped between the Pharaoh's advancing chariots and a body of water that has been variously translated as the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds.
In a divine miracle, the account continues, a mighty east wind blows all night, splitting the waters and leaving a passage of dry land with walls of water on both sides. The Israelites are able to flee to the other shore. But when the Pharaoh's army attempts to pursue them in the morning, the waters rush back and drown the soldiers.
The new study, by Drews and CU oceanographer Weiqing Han, found that a reef would have had to be entirely flat for the water to drain off in 12 hours.
An extensive analysis of archeological records, satellite measurements, and current-day maps enabled the research team to estimate the water flow and depth that may have existed 3,000 years ago.
The researchers then used a specialized ocean computer model to simulate the impact of an overnight wind at that site.
They found that a wind of 63 miles an hour, lasting for 12 hours, would have pushed back waters estimated to be six feet deep. This would have exposed mud flats for four hours, creating a dry passage about 2 to 2.5 miles long and 3 miles wide.
The water would be pushed back into both the lake and the channel of the river, creating barriers of water on both sides of newly exposed mud flats.
As soon as the winds stopped, the waters would come rushing back, much like a tidal bore. Anyone still on the mud flats would be at risk of drowning.
The set of 14 computer model simulations also showed that dry land could have been exposed in two nearby sites during a windstorm from the east.
However, those sites contained only a single body of water and the wind would have pushed the water to one side rather than creating a dry passage through two areas of water.
The study was published in the online journal, PLoS ONE. (ANI)