Skip to comments.EXCLUSIVE: Satellite Sleuth Closes in on Noah’s Ark Mystery
Posted on 03/09/2006 10:33:53 AM PST by steel_resolve
High on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey, there is a baffling mountainside "anomaly," a feature that one researcher claims may be something of biblical proportions.
Images taken by aircraft, intelligence-gathering satellites and commercial remote-sensing spacecraft are fueling an intensive study of the intriguing oddity. But whether the anomaly is some geological quirk of nature, playful shadows, a human-made structure of some sort, or simply nothing at allthat remains to be seen.
Whatever it is, the anomaly of interest rests at 15,300 feet (4,663 meters) on the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat, and is nearly submerged in glacial ice. It would be easy to call it merely a strange rock formation.
But at least one man wonders if it could be the remains of Noah's Arka vessel said to have been built to save people and selected animals from the Great Flood, the 40 days and 40 nights of deluge as detailed in the Book of Genesis.
The Genesis blueprint of the Ark detailed the structure as 6:1 length to width ratio (300 cubits by 50 cubits). The anomaly, as viewed by satellite, is close to that 6:1 proportion.
Identifying the Ararat anomaly has been a 13-year-long quest of Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies in Virginia.
Taylor has been a national security analyst for more than 30 years, also serving as a senior associate for five years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
"I've got new found optimism ... as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery," Taylor told SPACE.com/LiveScience. He points to a "new and significant development," a high-resolution image taken by DigitalGlobe's impressive QuickBird satellite and shown here publicly for the first time [alternate version with no annotation].
"I'm calling this my satellite archeology project," Taylor said. It's an effort that has now included use of QuickBird, GeoEye's Ikonos spacecraft, Canada's Radarsat 1, as well as declassified aerial and satellite images taken by the various U.S. intelligence agencies.
Making the mountain transparent
Taylor said his goal is straightforward: Combining this imagery to make the Ararat anomaly transparent to the public, as well as to the discerning, dispassionate eyes of scientists, imagery analysts, and other experts.
"I had no preconceived notions or agendas when I began this in 1993 as to what I was looking for," Taylor said.
As for the saga of Noah's Ark, he is quick to note that there are those who say it is fable while some take it as truth.
Nevertheless, the anomaly may not be a ridge line of ice, snow and possibly rock, but an artificial ridge line, Taylor said. "I maintain that if it is the remains of something manmade and potentially nautical, then it's potentially something of biblical proportions."
While chiding the intelligence communities to release more of their closely guarded satellite imagery, Taylor said that soon-to-fly commercial remote sensing spacecraft are sure to help his archeological undertaking.
"We've got three new birds that are going up. I'm using all my clout, rapport and lobbying to, hopefully, have them at least fly calibration runs over Mt. Ararat," Taylor said. Those images would make the mountain even more transparent, he said.
ill it float?
Meanwhile, Taylor has an ever-expanding network of experts to help tease out the truth about the anomaly.
For example, satellite imagery analyst Rod Franz of SunTek Media Group/RiteImage, Inc., located in Henderson, Nevada, has taken a look at imagery provided by Taylor of the Ararat anomaly and carried out additional analysis of the area. As director of training for the firm, Franz sharpened his skills by serving nearly 25 years as a military intelligence imagery analyst.
For the anomaly assessment, the same software tools used for studying government and commercial remote sensing data were employed, Franz told SPACE.com/LiveScience. Ground distances and scales of the anomaly were determined. That software also has the ability to adjust brightness, haze, sharpness, contrast and other factors of the area of interest, he said.
"Along with many other image manipulation functions ... I also used the pseudo-color function trying to determine if I could detect anything under the ice and snow," Franz said.
The face of the anomaly measured 1,015 feet (309 meters) across, Franz said. "I also found the shape of the anomaly appears to fit on a circle. I am not sure what this means, if anything, but I find it curious."
Given that length, Taylor pointed out, the anomaly dwarfs the Titanic and Bismarck in size, and equals the size of the largest modern aircraft carrier. That analysis would seem to call into question whether the anomaly is a wooden ship and raises a key question: If a boat were truly that huge, would it float?
There are also experts in remote sensing who offer a skeptical view.
"Image interpretation is an art," said Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing.
"One has to be familiar with Sun lighting effects on the shape of observed features," El-Baz said. "Very slight changes in slope modify shadow shapes that affect the interpretations. Up to this time, all the images I have seen can be interpreted as natural landforms. The feature that has been interpreted as the 'Ararat Anomaly' is to me a ledge of rock in partial shadow, with varied thickness of snow and ice cover.
Visual truth serum
Thanks to more satellite imagery in the offing, as well as other studies underway, Taylor said his remote archeological research is on the upswing.
There is an ultimate end-game. That is, on-the-spot ground truth ... and Taylor hopes his research findings will catalyze a top-notch expedition to the area. "It is whatever it is," he said.
But for now, satellite remote sensing to carry out archeological "digs" from space will fill in for an in-the-field expedition.
Just a few weeks ago, for example, NASA scientists utilizing space- and aircraft-based remote sensing hardware and techniques uncovered Maya ruins hidden in the rainforests of Central America for more than 1,000 years.
"For explorers, imagery from GeoEye's Ikonos satellite married with Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data has become as indispensable as water and freeze dried food for any expedition. One does not want to leave home without it," said Mark Brender, GeoEye Vice President for communications and marketing, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.
For researchers, imagery from space like those provided by GeoEye provides "the ultimate high shot" and a contextual view you could never get from observations on the ground or even from a plane, Brender told SPACE.com/LiveScience. "It's visual truth serum."
NASA Budget Time Ping.
DigitalGlobe's QuickBird commercial remote sensing satellite imaged the Mt. Ararat "anomaly" in 2003. This image has never seen by the public until now. The anomaly is surrounded below by very rugged-looking strato-volcanic rock; however, the texture of the feature in question is relatively smooth and appears to be made of a different substance. Credit: DigitalGlobe
Didn't we do this back in the 80's?
Old news. There have been several shows on History or Discovery about this over the last few years.
Oh, wow! A red elipse on the side of a mountain! It MUST be the ark. Oh, wait...the red elipse is just a drawing around a natural formation. Oops. Never mind.
History in the making!
Yes they did. Some have even brought back wood from the ark supposedly. Never have figured out why they do not let researchers in to see for sure.
Of course, looking at things with a religious agenda can cause a person to look at facts with an interesting perspective:
I have my doubts as to whether a wooden craft, built more than 4,000 years ago and at least somewhat exposed in such a severe climate, would survive this long. It would be awe-inspiring if it did, but it just seems unlikely.
Yes, they do this same story every couple of years. It was interesting the first time, after that, it was just a repeat.
I still think Noah used the wood for fire to keep warm once getting back on land and to cook food.
I heard a guy interviewed after 15 trips to the middle-east and there is an upcoming special that he found Noah's ark and it is nont in Ararat mountains.
Wake me when they have more than wild speculation and a photo of a rock. Until then, the headline is ludicrously overwrought, and unlikely to bear any more fruit than these past "discoveries":
CH500: The Ark
And: Sun Pictures and the Noah's Ark Hoax
- CH500. Noah's ark has been found.
- CH501. We can expect to find Noah's ark on Mount Ararat.
- CH502.1. Noah's ark may have been photographed on Ararat in 1949.
- CH502.2. ERTS satellite photographed Noah's ark in 1973.
- CH503. Noah's ark has been found near Dogubayazit, Turkey.
- CH504.1. James Bryce found a 4-foot timber high on Ararat.
- CH504.2. Navarra retrieved hand-hewn wood from high on Ararat.
- CH504.3. Hardwicke Knight found soft wood timbers on Ararat.
- CH505.1. Yearam guided three vile scientists to Noah's ark in 1916.
- CH505.2. An 1883 Turkish expedition found Noah's ark.
- CH505.3. Prince Nouri of Baghdad found the ark in 1887.
- CH505.4. Hagopian visited the ark with his uncle around 1908.
- CH505.5. Russian aviator Roskovitsky photographed the ark.
- CH505.6. Resit, a Kurdish farmer, found the ark in 1948.
- CH505.7. Local Kurds led Ed Davis to the ark in 1943.
- CH505.8. Ed Behling was led to the ark in 1973.
So maybe the satellite pics are from Gilgamesh's ark.
>>>The face of the anomaly measured 1,015 feet (309 meters) across, Franz said. "I also found the shape of the anomaly appears to fit on a circle. I am not sure what this means, if anything, but I find it curious." Given that length, Taylor pointed out, the anomaly dwarfs the Titanic and Bismarck in size, and equals the size of the largest modern aircraft carrier
Would a modern aircraft carrier be large enough to hold two of every species of animal on the Earth?
"Would a modern aircraft carrier be large enough to hold two of every species of animal on the Earth?"
IT would if they were freeze dried!
You mean aside from the motivation to drum up tourist dollars?
But those ruins were first discovered and photographed by Charles Lindbergh!
Nope, it is startling to see the ground slope down to the river that separates Turkey from Armenia and see how a person would think it was the highest point on earth.
I doubt that Armenia gets very much tourist money from a mountain in Turkey.
And: Sun Pictures and the Noah's Ark Hoax
Didn't this film get released about 1976? I saw it then and thought it was "hokey". I also believe Sun released a film about 1970 on Bigfoot, running with another film called Couger Country.
They would come into an area and rent (4 walling it is called) a theater for one day to run the film, each day in a different town.
Their advertisements were a hoot with a fast talking salesman trying to name all the dates and theaters in just a few seconds.
So you are saying the Bible is incorrect?
Noah's ark was made from gopherwood, right? Any gopher trees still around?
Someone needs to hike up to that anomaly & look for some gopherwood.
AFTER the flood - certainly!
Has anybody Google Earth'd this?
Is it just me or does it general shape look vaguely like a Star of David?
That makes more sense than anything else, especially since any wood he found, would be really wet. Probably roasted up one of those tasty animals that had been giving him problems on the voyage.
all the proof I need is written in the word of the Lord...
People might claim that the ark landed there, but, the Bible does not. The Bible says that the Ark landed in the "Mountains of Ararat". That could be any mountain within 100 miles of Mt Ararat. These explorers need to read the Bible FIRST then explore.
Yeah, but who can remember Gilgamesh.
Noah is so much easier and sounds better.
The real question is whose boat was bigger?
Exactly. There was a story of a British passenger plane that crashed in the Andes mountains onto a glacier shortly after WW 2. Fifty years later the glacier had moved the wreckage down the slope to where the glacial ice was melting and out popped the wreckage.
>>"Would a modern aircraft carrier be large enough to hold two of every species of animal on the Earth?"
>IT would if they were freeze dried!
It's a little known fact that Noah actually had 4 sons. Ham, Shem, Japeth and Clarence (Birdseye). 8^)
Noah's, by far.
I wonder how many funny looks that comment will engender...
B) Almost every ancient culture on every continent had a universal flood story;
C) The Genesis version was from oral history that predated them all.
Dig a little.
Bogus question. That's not the biblical claim- it said two of every "kind".
If noah only saved two of every kind, speciation would have to have occured through macroevolution.
Yeah but the elephants keep crapping on the catapults & screwing up air ops.
Why doesn't someone just walk (climb, ski, whatever) over there & take a look?
just how many animals were there on the earth at the time of Noah??? At least, how many that he knew of and had access to?
But of course, we all know that all species came from some other species which in the end was born of a single celled critter so - yeah - Noah could have carried two of all critters on his big boat. Two single celled critters multiplied and boom - all the animals of the world were thus born over the course of the next 2000 years (but back then, their days were like a month or something like that to our year), so...
Wouldn't that shake up a few folks.