UCL News


Noah's Ark Discovered in Iran?

5 July 2006

High in the mountains of northwestern Iran, a Christian archeology expedition has discovered a rock-type formation they say resembles the fabled Noah's ark.

"It looks uncannily like wood," says Robert Cornuke, president of the Bible Archeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE), the Palmer Lake, Colorado-based group that launched the expedition. …

"We have had (cut) thin sections of the rock made and we can see (wood) cell structures," Cornuke says. …

Not everyone is convinced by the BASE team's claims. Professor Kevin Pickering [UCL Earth Sciences], who specializes in sedimentary rocks, doesn't think that the ark-like rocks are petrified wood.

"The photos appear to show iron-stained sedimentary rocks, probably thin beds of silicified sandstones and shales, which were most likely laid down in a marine environment a long time ago," he says.

Pickering thinks that the BASE team may have mistaken the thin layers in the sediment for wood grain and the more prominent layers as beams of wood.

"The wider layers in the rock are what we call bedding planes," he says. "They show fracture patterns that we associate with ... the Earth processes that caused the rocks to be uplifted to their present height." …

Meanwhile, ancient timber specialist Dr Martin Bridge [UCL Institute of Archaeology] is doubtful that a wooden structure would have lasted long enough to petrify under ordinary conditions.

"Wood will only survive for thousands of years if it is buried in very wet conditions or remains in an extremely arid environment," he says. …

Kate Ravilious, 'National Geographic'