XVI INQUA Congress
Paper No. 84-12
Presentation Time: 11:50 AM-12:10 PM

GEOLOGY OF A CATASTROPHE - THE WHEN AND WHERE OF THE BLACK SEA FLOOD

YANKO-HOMBACH, Valentina, Avalon Institute of Applied Sci, Charleswood Technology Centre, 3227 Roblin Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB R3R 0C2, Canada, valyan@avalon-institute.org and TSCHEPALIGA, Andrei, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sci, 29, Staromonetniy per, Moscow, 109017, Russia

Deeply engrained in the collective memory and religion of humanity is the Great Flood, also called Noah’s Flood. Recently, W. Ryan and W. Pitman, (1999,2003)have attributed this flood to the Black Sea basin. Their proposal that a catastrophic postglacial (8.35 ka BP)rise in the level of the Black Sea accelerated the dispersion of early Neolithic foragers and farmers into the interior of Europe, forming the historical basis for the biblical story of Noah’s Flood, has spurred a tremendous interest by the public, the scientific community, and the media. This presentation summarises the results of extensive geological and palaeooceanograpic studies of the Black Sea and the former Manych Strait undertaken since 1970. Thousands of cores as well as thousands of kilometres of high-resolution seismic profiles were studied in a large-scale marine-geological survey. The samples obtained were subjected to multidisciplinary studies (micropalaeontology, geochemistry, sedimentology), and correlated with 14C, O and C isotope data. A large amount of geological and archaeological publications were reviewed for comparison. In the context of the Ryan&Pitman Noah Flood hypothesis, the time span of 15.0 ka - 7.0 ka BP is discussed in six crucial stages: (1) The lowest level (about -100 m) of the freshwater Novoeuxinian Lake before 14 ka BP; (2) The rapid increase of the level (from -100 m to -20 m) between ~14.0 and 11.0 ka BP due to a massive overflow from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea through the Manych Strait; (3) The re-establisment of the Black Sea / Sea of Marmara connection and the concurrent first appearance of Mediterranean immigrants in the Black Sea at ~9.0 ka BP; (4) Alternative to the Bosporus connections between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara; (5) The gradual and fluctuating character of Holocene transgression; (6) The influence of sea-level change on coastlines and surrounding human culture. It will be shown that although there seems to be not much room for the Ryan&Pitman Noah Flood hypothesis, there does exist much stronger possibility of an earlier flood in the basin due to the massive water overflow from the Caspian Sea through the ancient Manych Strait, reducing available space and food resources for Palaeolithic people and likely causing inland migration and the transition from hunting and gathering to farming and cattle breeding in the region.

XVI INQUA Congress
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 84
Environmental Catastrophes and Recovery in the Holocene
Reno Hilton Resort and Conference Center: Crystal 3&4
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, , p. 224

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