musical accompaniment for Chapters 1-8

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open.


– Matthew Chapter 27

Was there really an earthquake on the day that Jesus died ?

My name is Jefferson Williams. I am a Geologist and I have been studying Dead Sea seismites since 1999. Seismites are sedimentary layers that were deformed by earthquake shaking. In the process of studying seismites I have also been trying to answer that question.

To answer that question, we have to travel to the Dead Sea; a large body of water that gets as close as a mere 13 miles (21 km.) from the City of Jerusalem where Jesus died. Click here to see a Satellite Photo

The muds of the Dead Sea record earthquakes. Normally sediments accumulate in the Dead Sea layer by layer leaving a steadily growing thickness of Dead Sea mud. But, during earthquakes, the top layer of the Dead Sea mud deforms; leaving something known as a seismite.

The seismite labeled as Event B below was formed in 31 BC.

Josephus wrote about this in his book “The Jewish War” (Book 1, Ch. XIX)

But as he [King Herod] was avenging himself on his enemies, there fell upon him another providential calamity; for in the seventh year of his reign, when the war about Actium was at the height, at the beginning of the spring the earth was shaken, and destroyed an immense number of cattle, with thirty thousand men; but the army received no harm, because it lay in the open air.


Approximately 60 years later, an earthquake formed Event C in the photo above

Next –> 02 After Shocks