Meteor Clue To End Of Middle East Civilisations Found
The Telegraph of London
Scientists have found the first evidence that a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East might have triggered the mysterious collapse of civilisations more than 4,000 years ago.
Studies of satellite images of southern Iraq have revealed a two-mile-wide circular depression which scientists say bears all the hallmarks of an impact crater. If confirmed, it would point to the Middle East being struck by a meteor with the violence equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs.
Today's crater lies on what would have been shallow sea 4,000 years ago, and any impact would have caused devastating fires and flooding.
The catastrophic effect of these could explain the mystery of why so many early cultures went into sudden decline around 2300 BC.
The crater also appears to be, in geological terms, very recent. Dr Master said: "The sediments in this region are very young, so whatever caused the crater-like structure, it must have happened within the past 6,000 years."
Reporting his finding in the latest issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Dr Master suggests that a recent meteor impact is the most plausible explanation for the structure.
A survey of the crater itself could reveal tell-tale melted rock. "If we could find fragments of impact glass, we could date them using radioactive dating techniques," he said.
A fine book on this very subject is "Fire On Earth" by John & Mary Gribbin. They maintain that asteroid and comet collisions have played major roles in shaping human history. I highly recommend it if you're interested in the subject.
These collisions are rather more frequent than most people believe but luckily most are small or at sea. Our planet is mostly water and the majority of objects striking the surface wouldn't be noticed at sea. It is only when a big one hits solid ground or in shallow waters that our attention is drawn.