Washington: The Biblical flood mentioned in the story of Noah's Ark may have actually happened, claims the famed US archaeologist who found the wreck of Titanic in 1985. In an interview to ABC News, Robert Ballard, one of the world's best-known underwater archaeologists, talked about his team investigating a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists that there really was a massive flood in the Black Sea region.
The team is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilisation hidden underwater since the time of Noah. Ballard said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice and the water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world's oceans, causing floods all around the world.
"The questions is, was there a mother of all floods," Ballard said. The Columbia scientists believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the rising Mediterranean Sea. The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path.
Fascinated by the idea, Ballard and his team decided to investigate. "We went in there to look for the flood. Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed. The land that went under stayed under," he said.
Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea, the report said. By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC.
Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah's flood could have occurred. "It probably was a bad day. At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometres of land, went under," Ballard said.
The theory goes on to suggest that the story of this traumatic event, seared into the collective memory of the survivors, was passed down from generation to generation and eventually inspired the biblical account of Noah.