Sodom And Gomorrah: The Köfels Asteroid Impact

The event was recorded by many civilizations, including the Genesis account.  If folks today still believe that natural disasters happen because of God’s displeasure with whomever they think deserves it, then they’ll still readily believe that “God” sent the asteroid to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, rather than it being a natural event beyond the control of humans or imaginary gods.

From the article:

Mark Hempsell, one of the researchers from Bristol University who cracked the tablet’s code, said: “It’s a wonderful piece of observation, an absolutely perfect piece of science.”

He said the size and route of the asteroid meant that it was likely to have crashed into the Austrian Alps at Köfels. As it traveled close to the ground it would have left a trail of destruction from supersonic shock waves and then slammed into the Earth with a cataclysmic impact.

Debris consisting of up to two-thirds of the asteroid would have been hurled back along its route and a flash reaching temperatures of 400 Centigrade (752 Fahrenheit) would have been created, killing anyone in its path.

About one million sq kilometers (386,000 sq miles) would have been devastated and the impact would have been equivalent to more than 1,000 tons of TNT exploding.

Dr Hempsall said that at least 20 ancient myths record devastation of the type and on the scale of the asteroid’s impact, including the Old Testament tale of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the ancient Greek myth of how Phaeton, son of Helios, fell into the River Eridanus after losing control of his father’s sun chariot.

The tale of S and G is the most beloved Bible verses of anti-gay Christianist crusaders, right after Leviticus 20:13.  Depending on one’s end means, the story is told in different ways.  The accurate translations of the story are not about gay domestic partnerships.  But the story does say that Lot, who did what any True Man of God™ would do, offered up his two virgin young daughters for a savage gang rape.  Then later, after they fled, a drunken Lot, a True Man of God™, impregnates both of his daughters.  Biblical morality.  Here is a link with a take on Lot abusing his daughters.

Bible nonsense.

For thousands of years, since ancient pagan times, religion has used natural phenomena to put fear into people.  The christian church has been using it for centuries.  The purpose of church bells was for “agitating the air” to scatter the demons in the clouds when storms approached, calling the fearful faithful in to bring penance and payment to the priests to keep back the “prince of the power of the air”.  Thunder was believed to be the actual voice of ‘God’ (or gods, before christianity) rumbling in anger.

Benjamin Franklin shook the Church at it’s roots with his invention of the lightening rod in 1852; the “heretical rod” it was called.  For two decades, churches across Europe refused to use this blasphemous attempt to control God, or the Devil, or whatever it was up there causing these things.  Then they changed their mind eventually when they got tired of churches burning down from lightening strikes.  One church, where tons of blast powder was stored, exploded after lightening struck it’s steeple, killing over 3,000 people. [Link to “A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom”]

Yet still to this day, regardless of the mountains of knowledge in meteorology, geology, cosmology, astronomy, religious leaders still assert the threat of “imminent” smiting by God’s literal hand directing earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and Snowpocalypses upon the sinful citizenry.  Preachers only have to bellow out the word “Sodomite!”, and the sheeple look skyward and tremble — they tremble so hard that their wallets and purses fall right open.

The 3123 B.C. Köfels asteroid’s trajectory was at 6° as it whizzed over the area where Sodom and Gomorrah stood, torching everyone and everything in it’s path.  Just like Pat Robertson was quick to blame Haiti’s “sins” for the 2010 earthquake, the ancient proclaimers of theodicy likewise blamed this natural event on God’s judgement for people’s “sins” — or, the other perfectly plausible explanation of Phaeton’s chariot crashing from the sky — yeah, that’s how it happened.

Kofels trajectory

Kofels trajectory

The cuneiform clay tablet, the Planisphere, has taken 150 years to translate.

cuneiform clay tablet

cuneiform clay tablet - the Planisphere



Filed under News and Stuff

8 responses to “Sodom And Gomorrah: The Köfels Asteroid Impact

  1. Josea

    Earth looks like a bright speck helically circling the sun. The human mind is wonderfull. The smell of a dewey rose is relaxing. True freedom is social-stripping peaceful. Spirit is not civilized. Influence is not good per se. Supreme riches devalue collective-life. Supreme poverty strangles individual-grace. Should I teach or should I be taught? Supreme Science has no peers, no past, no future, no heart. Some live to love, others live to business. Good genius & retarded persons. Bad genius & retarded persons. Differing primeval beginnings. Differing projected annihilations. Hmmm.

    Government is watching everyone. No one watches government.
    The elite super-rich are government. Brainwashing by media is the daily norm. Politics uses scientists as hit men. Go vote.

  2. wowjustrelax

    I get that you’re expressing your opinion, and I’m an atheist to so I agree with about most of this stuff. But when you compare the Israelites and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to Pat Robertson and the Haitian earthquake, it sounds like you really haven’t “read a wide range from left to far right”. Truth is, you’re just as biased and just as angry as right wing fundamentalists, and I’m glad you chose to blog rather than start a crusade.

  3. Ming Bucibei

    The impact energy was ~ 14,000 mega tons equivalent rather than 1,000 tons stated (see the book)

    Ming Bucibei

    • Larry MacCaskill

      Thanks, Ming.
      Considering the “house-sized” Chelyabinsk rock, insignificant compared to this impactor, was estimated equivalent to a 440 kiloton nuke, it was obvious the stated 1 kiloton yield for Kofels was ridiculously incorrect.
      The largest man made detonation, the fifty megaton Russian ‘Tsar Bomba,’ incinerated a town about 35 miles — approx. 50 km — from the detonation.
      An event with nearly three hundred times the energy yield beggars the imagination. Little wonder it was considered the Wrath of God.

  4. Russ

    I get that you’re atheist and that’s fine. But remember, for thousands of years, religion has been the best way for man to explain the world. Now, science is better of course, but do not simply discount all religious people as idiots and morons for trying to understand their world and it’s origins.

    Remember, science can only go so far. We cannot find proof of everything. And science cannot explain where the universe came from, or what ordered it. Only religion and philosophy can do this, and we will never find the absolute answers.

  5. bla

    if you actually read the bible you would find that Lot’s daughters got him so drunk that he didn’t know what he was doing – not actually Lot abusing his daughters

    • Larry MacCaskill

      To be SO drunk I didn’t know I was knocking-up my daughters, I can’t imagine I could still be CAPABLE of knocking-up my daughters.
      Lot’s wife was toast (or salt). Both girls, without husbands, probably thought they and dad were the last three humans alive. Faced with the thought of repopulating the Earth, they still might all have needed a goatskin or two of Ol’ Attitude Adjuster to overcome any remaining natural inhibitions against incest — assuming such exists — and just had to get sufficiently “relaxed” to carry it through..
      I suspect they all knew the name of the game.

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