Israel / Places We Go

Exploring The Ancient Epicenter Of Sin: Sodom

Actually, no one knows exactly where the ancient and infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were. However, the rough location of the cities has always been suspected to have been in this area and the hills here are even named Mount Sodom:

Mount Sodom overlooks the Dead Sea and a dirt road leading to it can be found off of of Israel’s Road 90. The dirt road is marked by this sign below:

mt-sodom

It is suggested that the bulk of Sodom was located on a Dead Sea peninsula just below Mount Sodom.

According to the bible, Sodom was destroyed in a torrent of fire and brimstone as God unleashed his wrath on it for the naughty ways of its inhabitants. Not very nice.

According to one theory among geologists, there may even be a kernel of truth in the biblical version of events.

This area is made up of saturated sand and salt and, in the event of a large earthquake, the ground will actually liquefy. I know that sounds strange, but you can find videos of this on YouTube. Essentially, saturated sand when vibrated at the proper frequency, takes on the properties of water (meaning that everything resting on it collapses and is essentially swallowed up by the earth).

As an interesting “oh by the way” – the ground underneath the financial district in San Francisco has the same properties and it is not where I would want to be in a significant earthquake.

So, if Sodom were destroyed by an earthquake and collapsed into the Dead Sea, it would explain why not much has been found. It would literally have been swallowed up by the earth.

Ah, but what about the fire and brimstone? Aside from serving as a shipping point for salt to the Mediterranean and Egypt, locals were also involved in bitumen mining (bitumen is the technical term for tar or asphalt). As such, fire would have been a constant threat, particularly in an earthquake zone. Thus, our massive theoretical earthquake described above, could easily have triggered the explosive and fiery destruction of Sodom as the remains sank into the liquefied earth.

There is even an explanation for Lot’s wife… For those of you that could use some brushing up on your biblical history, Lot was supposedly the only good man left in Sodom and Gomorrah. So the great man in the sky came down to warn Lot and his wife to flee just prior to the cataclysmic destruction of the cities. However, he placed one condition on their safe departure (there are always strings attached) – they could not look back as they fled. Well, with the destruction of the cities initiated, the temptation was too much for Lot’s wife to resist and she glanced back. At that point, she was supposedly instantly transformed into a pillar of salt.

The possible explanation for the story of Lot’s wife lies in the many salt floes that dot the Dead Sea. These salt floes would have been thrown up and tossed around by our hypothetical earthquake and the surges of water that would have been created by the earthquake. Any one of these salt floes could have resembled a female outline in such a scenario. In other words, the theory suggests a case of mistaken identity.

Thus, as you accompany The Velvet Rocket staff up Mount Sodom, we may all be driving on the ruins of Sodom:

road-to-sodom

sedom

sodom

The road eventually flattens out to cross a great plateau…

sodom

…before heading higher up into the hills where the road deteriorates to the point that one must proceed on foot:

sodom

A brief hike along the ridge will…

sodom-mountain

…take one to this overlook:

sodom

Sodom may have rested just below this point… Across this narrow point on the Dead Sea one can see Jordan and the Edom and Moab Mountains.

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