|San José State University|
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The Black Sea is now a brackish inland sea over seven thousand feet deep in the middle, but there is evidence that its character was quite different eight thousand years ago. This evidence, collected by two oceanographers, indicates that about 7,500 years ago the Mediterranean Sea, whose level had risen as a result of the melting of the Ice Age glaciers, broke through into the Black Sea basin at the Bosporus Straits. Before this breakthrough the Black Sea basin contained only a much smaller fresh water lake.
The Mediterranean Sea water poured in a rate estimated at 10 cubic miles per day raising the Black Sea by about a foot a day and spreading the surface water over an additional mile of shoreline each day. The Black Sea basin filled quickly in terms of geologic time shifting the marine life from fresh- water type to salt-water types.
Very likely there were agricultural-based human settlements in the areas flooded and the people driven out by the flood may have speeded the dispersion of agriculture to previously unfarmed areas in Europe and the Middle East.
The rapid flooding of the Black Sea basin could have been the indirect origin of the biblical flood story. The flood story of the Bible was preceded by flood epics of Mesopotamia, which could have been one of the sites settled by refugees from the Black Sea. The legendary resting place of Noah's ark is Mount Ararat in Turkey, not far from the Black Sea.
Source: "Black Sea deluge may have helped spread farming," Science Feb. 20, 1998, p. 1132.
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