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No. 92: Mar-Apr 1994

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Back to siberia: the biggest flood?

14,000 BP. Deep in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. About this date, a wall of water 1,500 feet high surged down the Chuja River valley at 90 miles per hour. How does one deduce such a hydrological cataclysm? A. Rudoy, a geologist at Tomsky State Pedagogical Institute, points to giant gravel bars along the Chuja River valley. These are not the inch-sized ripples we seen on the floors of today's rivers; these are giants measuring tens of yards from crest to crest. Only a catastrophic flood could have piled up these ridges of debris. Rudoy postulates that, during the Ice Ages, a huge ice dam upstream held back a lake 3,000 feet deep, containing 200 cubic miles of water. When the ice dam suddenly ruptured, all life and land downstream was devastated.

(Folger, Tim; "The Biggest Flood," Discover, 15:36, January 1994.)

Comment. The breaking of Pleistocene ice dams also carved up parts of North America. There was the famous Cincinnati ice dam and, of course, the Spokane Flood that gouged out the Channelled Scablands of the Pacific Northwest, when Lake Missoula catastrophically emptied into the Pacific. See ETM5 in our catalog: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds. It is described here.

But other thoughts intrude: Were the heaps of mammoth carcasses, the Siberian "ivory islands," and those anomalous stone tools mentioned earlier under Archeology the consequences similar Siberian floods?

From Science Frontiers #92, MAR-APR 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987