BC Volume 9 (2008)
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The Biblical Chronologist Volume 9, Number 1
The Crater at Mt. Yeroham -- Part I
Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
-- Exodus 19:18.
Mount Yeroham is the Biblical Mount Sinai. ...
The Bible nowhere mentions a crater at Mount Sinai that I am aware of. What the Bible mentions, repeatedly, is that when God visited Mount Sinai, at the time when the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, all sorts of volcano-like phenomena accompanied His visit. For example: "and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom" (Deuteronomy 4:11b, NASB.); "and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently" (Exodus 19:18b, NASB.); "And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking" (Exodus 20:18a, NASB.).
As you may recall, I discovered that Mount Yeroham is the Biblical Mount Sinai because of the abundant Exodus pottery found there. I stumbled upon the very large crater at Mount Yeroham/Sinai when I colored in a topographical map of the mountain (Figure 1) in preparation for a field trip to the site in June, 2000.
It seemed, from the start, a great deal more than merely coincidental that a crater---a rare feature for Israel---should exist at this very mountain where the Bible tells us that all this volcano-like activity took place. So Philip (then cameraman, now son-in-law) and I went looking for field evidence that the crater at Mount Yeroham/Sinai was due to a volcano.
We came back from our exploration of the crater hot, tired, thirsty, and empty-handed, as I reported in The Biblical Chronologist a half year later:
... if the crater behind Mt. Yeroham is of volcanic origin, it is doing a very good job of concealing that fact, to amateur eyes at least. We had uncovered not so much as a single pebble of volcanic origin inside the crater.
The volcano theory of the origin of the crater at Mount Sinai had, in fact, been pretty much falsified by our one-day excursion into the crater. This seemed to me, at the time, to leave the idea that the crater was purely an erosional feature as the only alternative.
But this was not very satisfying. Why should this 'erosional' feature be so conspicuously crater-shaped? Why did the topographical map fail to show any obvious 'delta' at the base of the mountain, where all the water-eroded sands and gravels of the previous mountaintop should have been deposited? And why should such a rare, crater-like feature be located precisely where, from the Biblical account of God's visit to Sinai, one might expect to find such a thing---right on the top of the mountain?
The mystery of the origin of the crater at Mount Yeroham/Sinai remained in this unsettled state, niggling away at me for some time. I can no longer remember just how long. But one day, some years ago, further light suddenly dawned. ...
Research in Progress
by Thomas James Godfrey
707 Burruss Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060-3205.
When Gerald Aardsma first introduced "IO3 (Interesting Object #3)" to readers of The Biblical Chronologist, he described it as "an object of considerable interest to the present search [for Noah's ark]". Indeed it was. Several men devoted much time, effort, and expense to investigate its true nature.
The IO3 project climaxed in August 2001 with acquisition of modern satellite imagery.
Further significant progress was not made until February 2008, when Aardsma found color imagery on the Internet provided free of charge by the Google Maps™ mapping service. Given this new evidence, he and I now feel that IO3 appears to be nothing more than a set of geological features and should no longer be considered an ark candidate. ...
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