The water level of the Dead Sea has been dropping rapidly for the past 50 years or so. This drop in water level is due to the development of agriculture north of the Dead Sea. (reasons why)

Right now (in 2012), the Dead Sea is dropping a little over 1 meter (~3 feet) per year.

As the Dead Sea level has dropped, much of what was formerly underwater has been exposed and subject to erosion. Because the Dead Sea bottom sediments are relatively soft, they erode quickly leaving many gullies and sinkholes on the shores. These gullies and sinkholes give Geologists direct access to sediments deposited thousands of years ago.

The exposed sediments contain a wealth of information about the climate and earthquake history of the region and have been studied by Geologists.

Three sites on the Western shores of the Dead Sea have been studied in detail. These sites are Ein Gedi, Nahal Ze’elim and Ein Feshka. (map)

In each case, the Geologists first went in and examined samples of burnt pieces of wood found  in the section to engage in Carbon Dating. The Carbon Dating gives us our first crude understanding of the age of the sediments from the top to the bottom of the outcrop. After doing carbon dating, we find anchor earthquakes.

Anchor earthquakes are historically documented earthquakes that deformed the sediments in the Dead Sea. The historical documentation means we know the date when the earthquakes occurred. Three very useful anchor earthquakes in the outcrops are the Josephus quake of early spring in 31 BC, an earthquake on May 2, 1212 AD, and an earthquake in January 1293 AD.  If these anchor earthquakes are successfully identified in a section, we have a precise indication of time at the top of the deformed layer.

In the case of the ~31 AD Earthquake , the anchor earthquake is the Josephus earthquake of early Spring in 31 BC. This earthquake can be observed throughout the Dead Sea including at the three well studied sites of Ein Feshka, Ein Gedi, and Nahal Ze’elim.

Incidentally, a deformed layer corresponding to an earthquake from around 31 AD is also present at all three sites.

So, the challenge is to use what we know about the date of the Crucifixion (Easter between 26 and 36 AD)  with what we can read from sediments to determine if the earthquake in the sediments corresponds to the “earthquake of the crucifixion” … or something else.

And this leads to a discussion of 06 Varves …..

 

References

Ein Gedi

Recurrence_Pattern_of_Holocene_Earthquakes_Along_the_Dead_Sea_Transform_Revealed_by_Varve-Counting_and_Radiocarbon_Dating_of_Lacustrine_Sediments by Migowski et. al.

Nahal Ze’elim

High Resolution Geological Record Of Historic Earthquakes In The Dead Sea Basin by Ken Tor et. al.

Ein Feshka

Intrabasin paleoearthquake and quiescence correlation of the late Holocene Dead Sea by Kagan et. al.

 

 

 

 

 

4 comments
  1. Trevor Harris said:

    Hi Jefferson Williams

    I am very interested in your site
    I am currently researching Biblical chronology and have some theories on the correct Crucifixion dates
    I am interested in the whole quake in 30 AD
    Trevor Harris. Adelaide Australia

  2. Josephus also established that when they started dateing the start of the A.D. period, they missed it by around 2 years because they used the king’s reign as a marker to work from,and it was well known they were incorrect.Also,I might add also,that there was another mistake made by not starting A.D. with 1 full year of the year 0,after that should have been the beginning of the year 1A.D.,right? these two fundamental mistakes account for around 3 years.Jesus was born at the time of the census[Easily established date,and year-every 7 years I think] He was baptized of John on his birthday[recorded in one of the 3 gospils]on his way to the passover,only a few days away.[Started at noon.] I personaly beleive his birthday was 8 days before the day of passover that the lamb was slain.[The 8 days of uncleanness for a man child]And that he is said to have become our lamb,dying exactly when the lamb in the temple was slain.33year+8 days of age. 33 in biblical numatics would reprosent perfectly perfect. Thanks for indulging my folly. Curtis.Echols60@yahoo.com

  3. Deborah Hawk said:

    I’m also very interested and hope you continue to refine the work. I’m using April 3, 30AD, and wonder if this is 3 yrs too early now? Hope to hear soon, more confirmation.

    • admin said:

      Contrary to the Discovery News Article’s sensationalistic claim, we dated an earthquake in the sediments to a 10 year time frame; 26 – 36 AD. So, at this point, we don’t know if the earthquake in the sediments has a relationship with the earthquake report in Matthew and we have nothing to add on which day and year the crucifixion occurred. Research is continuing however. I am trying to stabilize the sediments so that they can be cut into very thin layers to examine deposition over short periods of time; for instance a month or 2 weeks. So far so good.

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