45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

Matthew Chapter 27

33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Mark Chapter 15

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Luke Chapter 23

Three of the four canonical gospels report darkness from noon to 3 pm ( aka from the 6th to the 9th hour using the Jewish method of telling time).

Such a darkness could not have been caused by a Solar Eclipse. A Solar Eclipse can only occur during the time of a New Moon which last occurred on 1 Nisan (Nisan is a month in the Jewish calender). By the time that the crucifixion occurred on 14 or 15 Nisan, the moon was full and could not have gotten in the way between the Earth and the Sun.

 

One possible explanation for the darkness is that it could have been due to a dust storm.

Some dust storms do indeed block out the sun and lead to darkness in the middle of the day. YouTube has a number of videos documenting this phenomenon. For example this one in Australia:

 

 

 

 

 

Spring time in Judea is known for it’s frequent dust storms or Khamsins.

 

 

If such a dust storm did occur, it would have left a distinctive deposit. Current research is also focused on determining if there is any evidence for or againstĀ  there being dust storm deposits in the sediments and, if so, the time of their deposition. For example, is there a dust storm deposit that is coincident with the earthquake or was it deposited up to 5 years before or after the earthquake.

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