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In the Media

article imageDid Moses really part the Red Sea?

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By Jane Fazackarley
Sep 25, 2010 in World
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According to researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder, the answer is 'no'.
Researchers have carried out a study using computer modelling which demonstrates that it is possible that the waves were parted by the momentum of the wind.
According to the computer simulations, a strong east wind from overnight could have forced back the water at a bend where it is thought an ancient river could have joined with a lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea. This could have made the water push back in both of the waterways, causing a land bridge to open at the bend, meaning people could have safely walked across the mud flats.
The researchers set out to provide a likely scenario of the parting of the Red Sea that happened over 3000 years ago, reconstructing possible locations and the depths of the Nile delta.
Carl Drews is from NCAR and the lead author of the study, he said:
"The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus."
"The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that's in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in."
The research was carried out as part of a bigger study by Carl Drews into the impact that winds could have on water depths. It is possible that this research might help experts who have been studying whether the Biblical event really did take place as so far there has been little in the way of evidence.
Scientists have carried out studies into the parting of the Red Sea before. Some scientists thought it likely that a tsunami could have taken place. Others have suggested that a Wind Setdown had occurred, where a robust wind can lower water in one part and pile up water levels in another.
Two Russian scientists, Naum Voltzinger and Alexei Androsov, did a previous computer modelling and thought it possible that a mild hurricane wind could have uncovered an underwater reef, allowing people to cross. In this latest study Drews, along with CU oceanographer Weiqing Han, did not think that scenario likely.
Carl Drews said:
"People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts."
"What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."
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