Joanna Webster

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Scientific Explanation of Historic and Pre-Historic Natural Events

Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 5:18 AM filed under General postings

Science continues to provide concise explanations of the occurrence or fictional nature of numerous historical and pre-historic events that have been relayed to subsequent generations verbally. By conducting specific analysis of geographic features and/or archeological evidence, contemporary scientific capabilities have made it possible to ascertain the occurrence or existence of certain folklore events. A case under current study relates the China’s ‘Great Flood’, a tale recorded about 1,000 BCE that claims the occurrence of a massive landslide referred to as ‘Yu’s Great Flood’ within the oral history realm, but which, based on a pragmatic scientific inquiry, seems to have occurred in reality.

Due to the absence of geological evidence to corroborate the same, defending the longevity of its occurrence has received skeptic stance in academic circles. Such a perspective only reinforces the idea that this story is largely a myth or a propaganda, designed to achieve a specific objective critical to the leadership of the time. The author cites a different version of the same story, one that presents Yu not as driven by the desire to obtain power but rather by the motivation to bring order to the land. It alludes to the process of draining the land to make it suitable for agriculture. The fact that this process took Yu and his accomplice more than a decade aligns with existing evidence of the ancient flooding of the Yellow River.

The expert reinforces this argument by citing a contemporary study who have found evidence of a massive flood that surged down the river by having conducted mapping and dating of lake sediments found around the said region. The study by Wu et al. also established that the flooding period coincides with the social disruption reported in the tales. Further, the idea that the results are admissible relates to the fact that the findings established the existence of an avulsion that changed the course of the river towards the North China Plain, noting that a change of that magnitude would have taken ages to occur had it not been for the effects of a massive flood.

Further evidence relates to an earlier study that had sought to render ancient tales regarding historical and pre-historic natural events scientifically admissible as it draws from an in-depth study of the patterns of flood stories collected from different parts of the globe. A meta-analysis conducted by James Frazer on the stories concerning ancient flood events, a specific pattern emerges. In nearly all of them, the stories attributed the cause of the event to prevailing environmental patterns. For instance, those from the areas near the ocean, such as the islands of the Pacific, cited a rising sea. It is noteworthy that such areas are prone to massive earthquakes that result in tsunamis.

However, unlike the regions closer to the sea, tales from the regions that have extensive glaciers such as Tibet, Scandinavia, etc. attribute the causes of floods to the failures of glacial dams. A similar explanation relates to the floods experienced in lowland regions, such as those between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, that might have flooded the lowlands and therein intertwined to give rise to the infamous Noah’s flood. Based on this observation, the causes of global historical floods seem to be largely a factor of the prevailing environmental conditions and topography, some of which are observable to date, such as when Cyclone Nargis swept through Myanmar, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

Summing up, one can state that a greater proportion of the ancient flood tales relate to geographical tsunamis, lowland floodings, or glacial outbursts. Science has found enough evidence to link the tale of Yu and the Great Flood to an actual flooding event that had changed the course of the river. Therefore, most of the flood tales presented in folklore from around the globe, including The China Great Flood, are true records of the events that took place.

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1 Comment (add) | Tags: science
Last comment by sophiaayla on 9/4/2020 1:18 AM

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