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Parting the waters: Computer modeling applies physics to Red Sea escape route (Physics of Moses)
UCAR ( University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) ^ | 09/22/2010 | Carl Drews and Weiqing Han

Posted on 09/22/2010 7:16:05 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

September 21, 2010 BOULDER—The biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea has inspired and mystified people for millennia. 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,” says Carl Drews of NCAR, the lead author. “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.”

The study is part of a larger research project by Drews into the impacts of winds on water depths, including the extent to which Pacific Ocean typhoons can drive storm surges. 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. Archeologists and Egyptologists have found little direct evidence to substantiate many of the events described in Exodus.

The work, published in the online journal, PLoS ONE, arose out of Drews’ master’s thesis in atmospheric and oceanic sciences at CU. The computing time and other resources were supported by the National Science Foundation.

Wind on the water 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.

Wind setdown in the Nile Delta. Sustained winds can cause an event known as a wind setdown in which water levels are temporarily lowered. This animation shows how a strong east wind over the Nile Delta could have pushed water back into ancient waterways after blowing for about nine hours, exposing mud flats and possibly allowing people to walk across. (Animation by Tim Scheitlin and Ryan McVeigh, NCAR. News media terms of use*)Scientists from time to time have tried to study whether the parting of the waters, one of the famous miracles in the Bible, can also be understood through natural processes. Some have speculated about a tsunami, which would have caused waters to retreat and advance rapidly. But such an event would not have caused the gradual overnight divide of the waters as described in the Bible, nor would it necessarily have been associated with winds.

Other researchers have focused on a phenomenon known as “wind setdown,” in which a particularly strong and persistent wind can lower water levels in one area while piling up water downwind. Wind setdowns, which are the opposite of storm surges, have been widely documented, including an event in the Nile delta in the 19th century when a powerful wind pushed away about five feet of water and exposed dry land.

A previous computer modeling study into the Red Sea crossing by a pair of Russian researchers, Naum Voltzinger and Alexei Androsov, found that winds blowing from the northwest at minimal hurricane force (74 miles per hour) could, in theory, have exposed an underwater reef near the modern-day Suez Canal. This would have enabled people to walk across. The Russian study built on earlier work by oceanographers Doron Nof of Florida State University and Nathan Paldor of Hebrew University of Jerusalem that looked at the possible role of wind setdown.

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. A more realistic reef with lower and deeper sections would have retained channels that would have been difficult to wade through. In addition, Drews and Han were skeptical that refugees could have crossed during nearly hurricane-force winds.

Reconstructing ancient topography Studying maps of the ancient topography of the Nile delta, the researchers found an alternative site for the crossing about 75 miles north of the Suez reef and just south of the Mediterranean Sea. Although there are uncertainties about the waterways of the time, some oceanographers believe that an ancient branch of the Nile River flowed into a coastal lagoon then known as the Lake of Tanis. The two waterways would have come together to form a U-shaped curve.

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. Drews and Han 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.

“People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts,” Drews says. “What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."


TOPICS: History; Religion; Science; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: carldrews; catastrophism; exodus; godsgravesglyphs; moses; parting; physics; redsea


The physics of a land bridge.

This illustration shows how a strong wind from the east could push back waters from two ancient basins--a lagoon (left) and a river (right)--to create a temporary land bridge. New research that such a physical process could have led to a parting of waters similar to the description in the biblical account of the Red Sea. (Illustration by Nicolle Rager Fuller.)
1 posted on 09/22/2010 7:16:06 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

CBS also reported it here :

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20017140-501465.html?tag=stack

SUMMARY


In Exodus, Moses parts the Red Sea, saving the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery. It may be that he had some assistance, according to a computer modeling study of fluid dynamics by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado in Boulder.

According to a posting on the UCAR website:

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.

Read the full article explaining the findings :

https://www2.ucar.edu/news/parting-waters-computer-modeling-applies-physics-red-sea-escape-route


2 posted on 09/22/2010 7:17:48 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
It may be that he had some assistance,

May be?? Duh. That is main point of the biblical story for crying out loud.

3 posted on 09/22/2010 7:23:57 AM PDT by mc5cents
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pushed back waters estimated to be six feet deep...



... Pharaoh's army drowned in 6 feet of water?
(Lol, Egyptians can't swim)


4 posted on 09/22/2010 7:30:20 AM PDT by evets (beer)
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To: SeekAndFind

Any purely by chance it only happened once and on the very day Moses needed to cross. See, science can explain everything! /s


5 posted on 09/22/2010 7:32:28 AM PDT by lunarville (Common sense ain't so common anymore...)
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To: SeekAndFind

Sea of Reeds


6 posted on 09/22/2010 7:33:37 AM PDT by hecht (TAKE BACK OUR NATION AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
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To: SeekAndFind

Let me see if I understand. The Bible says God caused a strong wind to blow, parting the waters. The computer modeling and the animation show that a strong wind could have parted the waters.

Yup, that sure proves the biblical account is wrong alright.

BTW, evidence of chariots and men has been located at the bottom of the Red Sea near a place that is called Wadi Watir.

http://www.arkdiscovery.com/red_sea_crossing.htm


7 posted on 09/22/2010 7:37:44 AM PDT by savedbygrace (But God.)
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To: SeekAndFind

WHY is a government-sponsored university doing research on this? The Bible is clear on the Red Sea account, but no, the Fedzilla has to spend money to combat God Almighty. I am telling you, the mother of all civil wars is coming to this country.


8 posted on 09/22/2010 7:38:29 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (There is no "common good" which minimizes or sacrifices the individual. --Walter Scott Hudson)
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To: SeekAndFind
How about this one? Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and was 100% God and 100% man. If that is true, parting the red sea is pretty small potatoes.

After the incarnation, everything is easy. If someone doesn't believe that, then no amount of scientific explanation will convince them.

9 posted on 09/22/2010 7:40:26 AM PDT by Pete (29thday.org Exponential problems require exponential solutions)
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To: SeekAndFind
Well since the whole premise is wrong the rest of the theory is bogus.

Moses crossed the “Reed” Sea not the Red Sea. This is one of the many mistakes in Hebrew translation. http://www.hotstockmarket.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62736

10 posted on 09/22/2010 7:41:29 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Playing by the rules only works if both sides do it!)
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To: SeekAndFind

“The computer simulations show that a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back”

I’m not sure how convincing this “scientific” explanation is. Yes, the waters hypothetically could have been pushed back, but that wouldn’t have made the river bed dry enough to safely walk on. The term “mud city” comes to mind.


11 posted on 09/22/2010 7:46:09 AM PDT by DrC
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To: evets
(Lol, Egyptians can't swim)

Concerning that disability, they are deep in de Nile.

12 posted on 09/22/2010 7:48:05 AM PDT by Erasmus (Personal goal: Have a bigger carbon footprint than Tony Robbins.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Would it be possible to travel under such a wind condition? It seems to me that a wind strong enough to clear a path through the waters would knock people off their feet.

God did it, no doubt; but how is likely to remain a mystery!


13 posted on 09/22/2010 7:52:10 AM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty too! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: lunarville

RE: Any purely by chance it only happened once and on the very day Moses needed to cross.


A lot of things happen without explanation. Just last week, we had a freak storm that caused a mini tornado that battered New York City and destroyed thousands of trees in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.

That storm just lasted over hour or so and disappeared soon after.

There was a woman who was driving her car near Forest Hills. She stopped her car under a tree going in to the Grand Central Parkway because the rains were too heavy and obscuring her view. She thought it would be safer to do that instead of attempting to enter the highway under such conditions.

Guess what ? The tree where her car was parked under was uprooted by the winds and crushed her and her car. She died tragically.

Who would have thought this would happen?


14 posted on 09/22/2010 7:54:00 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

If there was a 63 MPH wind pushing the water back, wouldn’t it have been difficult to walk through mud flats?

Just curious


15 posted on 09/22/2010 7:55:24 AM PDT by Ro_Thunder (Press want Obama = “Camelot II - The Return of JFK”, not “Peanuts II - that’s all you’ll have l)
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To: SeekAndFind

*experts are uncertain whether they actually occurred.

Archeologists and Egyptologists have found little direct evidence to substantiate many of the events described in Exodus.*

It happened a few thousand years ago. I’m guessing the physical evidence would’ve been gone after a few decades.
The Egyptians are not likely to have chronicled their humiliation.

I believe the Word of God of the word of man.


16 posted on 09/22/2010 1:08:38 PM PDT by PATRIOT1876 (Language, Borders, Culture, Full employment for those here legally)
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To: JimRed
Would it be possible to travel under such a wind condition? It seems to me that a wind strong enough to clear a path through the waters would knock people off their feet.

I think the authors are nuts, but if I understand their hypothesis correctly, the wind would have already died down, after sustained gale like winds for nearly ten hours, by the time Moses and the Israelites got there. The momentum of the water rushing back would have taken enough time for them to cross, but not enough time for the Egyptian army to cross over also.

In a nutshell, they are claiming a rare physical event combined with extraordinary luck produced the event.

The glaring error is that the land bridge would have been exposed by the time Moses encountered it, which is at odds with the Biblical account. But that's an easy fix once you have a workable theory. All you have to do is say the participants couldn't possibly understand physical laws of science and so they naturally interpreted the event as divine intervention and glorified the account.

17 posted on 09/22/2010 10:07:57 PM PDT by csense
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To: SeekAndFind

additional:

Dynamics of Wind Setdown at Suez and the Eastern Nile Delta
[ Exodus computer modelling ]
Public Library of Science [ PLoS ONE ]
September 2010 | Carl Drews and Weiqing Han
Posted on 09/21/2010 8:30:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2593923/posts


18 posted on 09/23/2010 6:49:15 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
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19 posted on 09/23/2010 6:52:49 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
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"The question, centuries or even millennia old, as to where the Sea of Passage was, can be solved with the help of the inscription on the shrine. On the basis of certain indications in the text, Pi-ha-Khiroth, where the events took place, was on the way from Memphis to Pisoped." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, "Ages in Chaos", (1952)

20 posted on 01/13/2011 6:51:00 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Jon Stewart is just another tiresome, overpaid, partisan media shill.)
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