The Historical Link of Comet Debris to Agriculture in Syria

The absence of comets in the night sky is one of those phenomena that has been taken for granted.

Oct 8, 2023 - 22:57
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The Historical Link of Comet Debris to Agriculture in Syria

The absence of comets in the night sky is one of those phenomena that has been taken for granted. But many years ago, it was believed that strange occurrences in the upper atmosphere were indicators of moments of great change both in nature and human society. For example, it‘s been recently discovered that huge chunks of comet debris impacting Earth‘s atmosphere may have been the cause of the successful beginnings of agriculture in Syria.

A study published in Nature Communications has found that 11,000 years ago, a comet disintegrated in Earth’s atmosphere, sending the debris to fall across a large area across the Middle East. As the comet impacted the atmosphere, it created a strong storm that lasted for days and was accompanied by heavy rains. The effects of the storm, along with the influx of water, may have been responsible for creating an environment that was ideal for developing agriculture for the first time in this region.

The researchers studied the sediments from the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and discovered high amounts of platinum, an element that is usually found in comets, indicating that a large comet indeed may have passed by this region. The amount of platinum in the sediments was up to three times higher than normal and significantly higher than expected in this region.

This data supports the hypothesis that these impacts of comets from space were responsible for the beginning of agriculture in this area. This breakthrough discovery helps us better understand the relationship between our environment and human history.