Black Sea Used to Be Freshwater Lake, Experienced Deluge - Scientists
The Black Sea used to be a freshwater lake turned into a salt-water sea, Columbia University Professor William Ryan announced in Bulgaria.
Ryan participated in a scientific expedition headed by Prof. Petko Dimitrov, the director of the Underwater Archaeology unit of the Oceanology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, which started to explore the ancient coastline of the Black Sea on June 27, 2011.
The 18-member team of scientists sailed 80 miles along the Bulgarian coast to Turkey in the Akademik ship of the Oceanology Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Scientists.
According to Ryan, the expedition has found evidence that in the past the Black Sea experienced a sudden influx of salted water, a cataclysm that he described as an "environmental catastrophe", as cited by BTA, and that changed tremendously the environment of the Black Sea.
Samples that the scientists extracted from the Black Sea bottom indicate that layers of sand sealed with slime. A total of 27 drillings were made during the expedition, which funded by Bulgarian Scientific Research Fund.
The scientists who took part in the expedition believe that there was an abrupt change in the fauna of the Black Sea basin. Ryan pointed out that after the last Ice Age, the water from glaciers flew into the Black Sea, the Caspian and the Aral Sea.
Prof. Dimitrov from the Bulgarian Oceanology Institute stressed that evidence suggest that people used to live along the old Black Sea coast some 8000 years ago.
Scientific data that the Black Sea basin experienced a flooding that transformed it, and linked to the Mediterranean has given rise to interpretations that the true story of this natural calamity might have something to do with the story of the Biblical Deluge.
Earlier in June, Bulgarian underwater archaeologist Prof. Petko Dimitrov said the Black Sea could turn in a worldwide attraction for underwater tourism if countries cash on the story that the Biblical Deluge happened in the area.
"If the hypothesis that the Biblical Deluge occurred at the Black Sea is popularized, Bulgaria can draw many more tourists," said Dimitrov.
He added that a number of underwater museums with special diving access can be created along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.