Meteor shocks on Earth are incredibly rare. It seems to be just as good, because their effects on the planet can be disastrous. For example, the Chicxulub event, which can effectively eliminate dinosaurs and cause an age dominated by a mammal, is strongly associated with such an impact. However, it is clear that large meteors can do damage even if they do not attack Earth. Even those who enter the atmosphere remotely can destroy a relatively large area. This effect is now attributed to the mysterious disappearance of the entire human civilization, known to exist in the Bronze Age.
This state (rather the city-state) was known as Tall el-Hamman, and once thrived in the area now located in modern Jordan. Archeological evidence has shown that Tall el-Hamman was once a fully-established city. It also controlled the area around it, which brought the total area to over 50 hectares. This area included strategic border towns (characteristic features of the Bronze Age), which were placed in a circle that gave them about 3 km from Tall el-Hamman. The area also included rich, fertile farmland, fortifications, and other city barriers that were able to defend themselves. They had to work well, as archaeologists still do not find evidence of a successful military attack on the city.
Despite all of Tall el-Hamman's providence and apparent power, his people and even farmland disappeared from the map without a trace and explanation.
This can be attributed to one event that took place 3700 years ago. Whatever happened at that time, a considerable amount of salt solution from the Dead Sea was moved over the area, which was covered with heated anhydrides and hence residential. In fact, it was only 600 to 700 years later that people could in no way return to the area.
So what happened to the ancient city state?
Middle Ghor event
The answer to this question has been recently revealed by a team that has collaborated with several universities and institutions such as DePaul University, Elizabeth City State University of New Mexico Tech, North Arizona University, NC State University, Trinity Southwest University, Komet Research Group and Los Alamos National Laboratories .
The group reported evidence of a meteorological explosion that devastated an area of 500 square kilometers (now known as Middle Ghor), which included Tall el-Hamman and its satellite cities. The explosion was so strong that he destroyed all his buildings with muddy walls and left only the foundations for archaeologists.
This explosion also had other devastating effects, such as the melting of ceramics into glass shards, which could then fall to the Bronze Age. These people, up to 65,000 people, could also be destroyed by an explosion. The Middle Ghor event may have ended with a colossal shock wave, which resulted in the abolition of fertile soils and the penetration of Dead Sea Salt (which was located south of Tall el-Hamman).
This evidence could be the way a meteor erased the entire prosperous city.
This new research was published in Proceedings of 2018 American Oriental Research Schools annual meeting.
The work contains abstracts on data, what is now called the Middle Ghor Event, and a project by a Trinity Southwest University researcher who provides concrete evidence that Tall el-Hamman exists.
This study may also inform about other similar events in recent history – the destruction of Tunguska. Tunguska was an area in northern Siberia including Krasnoyarsk in modern times. In 1908, reports of an unprecedented explosion appeared. According to the witnesses, the sky "split" and exposed the fire from end to end. There was evidence of corresponding colossal fire balls that could have been up to 100 meters across, which destroyed millions of trees in the Tunguska forest. The area was barely inhabited, though the people who lived there died in large numbers. The "Tunguska Event" also felt in the nearest human settlements (about 35 miles away).
Delays in gaining access to the site, lack of clear areas or crater, and considerable debate have meant that scientists have lasted for hundreds of years when they come to a conclusion about what happened in Tunguska. The theory that emerged from the research ran from collision of extraterrestrial vehicles to the black hole that somehow interfered with the atmosphere in the region.
In the end, however, less fantastic analysis of the samples taken from Tunguska led to claims that the meteor responded with the atmosphere, as was the case with Tall el-Hamman. This was supported by the discovery of minerals and deposits, including the lonsdaleite (a form of a carbon grate associated with the explosion of a meteorite rich in graphite), meteoric nickel and tiny rocks from the body of the supposed cosmic body.
Trees around Tunguska after the event. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Are Meteors really such a threat?
Events like those in Tunguska, as well as the last example in Chelyabinsk, can show that meteors can be a profound threat to life on Earth. These events are also now associated with energy levels between 2.092 and 83.68 petajoules.
On the other hand, meteoric events such as these are also extremely rare: in the end, we have seen that the nearest cosmic objects that are approaching the planet – recent "close approaches" observed by NASA, followed by the Leonid meteor shower – are more than 200,000 kilometers away from the planet. In the case of meteoric combustion, the fragments of the comet in the atmosphere burned harmlessly, just like the vast majority of meteors.
Research on events such as Middle Ghor and Tunguska has shown us that only sizeable meteorites (some scientists larger than the football pitch) have worries about life on Earth. It can hope that the technology that detects – and perhaps even turns away – will continue to develop these authorities in the future.
Top Image: Dead Sea in the Modern Jordan. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
An exploding meteor can destroy the ancient communities of the Dead Sea, in 2018, Science News, https: //www.sciencenews.org/article/exploding-meteor-may-have-wiped-out -…, (released on November 25, 18)
Asteroids fly close to Earth in November 2018 – something they're afraid of? 2018, Evolving science, https://www.evolving-science.com/space/asteroids-fly-close-earth-00840, (released on November 25, 18)
Tall el-Hammam-city and state: Insights from 13 Excavation Seasons, 2018, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of American Schools Year 2018 (page 96), http: //www.asor.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-Abstract-Book_update …, (released on November 25, 18)
Event 3.7kBP Middle Ghor: Catastrophic Termination of Bronze Age, 2018, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of American Schools Oriental Research 2018 (page 151-2), http: //www.asor.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-Abstract-Book_update …, (released on November 25, 18)
N. A. Artemieva et al. (2016), "from Tunguska to Chelyabinsk through Jupiter" Annual overview of planetary and terrestrial sciences, 44 (1), pp. 37-56