A Numerical Modelling Study on the Potential Role of Tsunamis in the Biblical Exodus

José Abril, Raúl Periáñez
2015 Journal of Marine Science and Engineering  
The reliability of the narrative of the Biblical Exodus has been subject of heated debate for decades. Recent archaeological studies seem to provide new insight of the exodus path, and although with a still controversial chronology, the effects of the Minoan Santorini eruption have been proposed as a likely explanation of the biblical plagues. Particularly, it has been suggested that flooding by the associated tsunamis could explain the first plague and the sea parting. Recent modelling studies
more » ... have shown that Santorini's tsunami effects were negligible in the eastern Nile Delta, but the released tectonic stress could have triggered local tsunamigenic sources in sequence. This paper is aimed to a quantitative assessment of the potential role of tsunamis in the biblical parting of the sea. Several "best case" scenarios are tested through the application of a numerical model for tsunami propagation that has been previously validated. The former paleogeographic conditions of the eastern Nile Delta have been implemented based upon recent geological studies; and several feasible local sources for tsunamis are proposed. Tsunamis triggered by submarine landslides of 10-30 km 3 could have severely impacted the northern Sinai and southern Levantine coasts but with weak effects in the eastern Nile Delta coastline. The lack of noticeable flooding in this area under the most favorable conditions for tsunamis, along with the time sequence of water elevations, OPEN ACCESS J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3 746 make difficult to accept them as a plausible and literally explanation of the first plague and of the drowning of the Egyptian army in the surroundings of the former Shi-Hor Lagoon.
doi:10.3390/jmse3030745 fatcat:ojela5idwvfy7f7n5cddvxhgj4