Saturday, December 11, 2010

Canada sank ancient cultures under Persian Gulf

Flood of biblical proportions triggered by massive Canadian melt

Vancouver Sun: A British researcher has published a startling new theory that the remains of untold settlements from a 100,000-year stretch of human history were submerged by the rapidly rising waters of the Persian Gulf around 6,000 BC -- the result, in all likelihood, of a catastrophic, planetwide flood triggered in Canada.

There's a consensus among scientists that the collapse of a kilometres-high glacial dam at the end of the last ice age caused a massive outflow of meltwater into the Arctic or North Atlantic Ocean near Hudson Bay, generating a sharp rise in sea levels around the world and profoundly altering the Earth's climate.

Some scientists have even speculated that ancient myths about great floods -- culminating in the biblical story of Noah's Ark -- were inspired by the worldwide deluge.

But the new theory, advanced in the latest issue of the journal Current Anthropology by University of Birmingham archeologist Jeffrey Rose, offers the clearest picture yet of what may have been lost at the Middle East nexus of human civilization when Canada's super-sized Lake Agassiz -- a remnant of which is today's Lake Winnipeg -- suddenly burst its banks 8,000 years ago.

The resulting rise of the Indian Ocean flooded a Great Britain-sized expanse of the Arabian Peninsula that had previously been above water and was almost certainly inhabited by ancient people for as long as 100 millennia... The flooding of those lands... would have submerged extensive archaeological evidence of key moments in the evolution of the human race, of the initial stages of their eastward migration out of Africa, and of the cultural developments leading to the early civilizations of the Middle East...

[Rose] also referenced groundbreaking studies by University of Manitoba geologist James Teller, whose reconstructions of the colossal drainage of ancient Agassiz -- the meltwater basin that once covered most of Central Canada, and held a volume equivalent to 15 Lake Superiors -- have initiated a wave of new research on outburst impacts ranging from global climate cooling to the origins of agriculture in southern Europe.
Images: Persian Gulf and Lake Agassiz; sources here and here.