New Scientist, 16 January 1999, p. 43
Book Review: Noah's Flood by William Ryan and Walter Pitman
Simon & Schuster, $25, ISBN 0684810522
There was a truly great flood around the Black Sea, recounted orally and eventually in writing by descendants of the scattered groups of survivors. Geology, climatology, archaeology, linguistics, history and international subterfuge bordering on espionage all play a part in a fascinating story that reveals as much about how science works today as it does about the world 7000 years ago. ... A chance remark from a colleague set Ryan and Pitman wondering whether a similar catastrophic flood could have been witnessed and remembered as the story of Noah. Strands of evidence from diverse fields slowly came together to implicate the Black Sea, around 5600 BC.
Geologists Speculate on Noah's Flood
Some biblical fundamentalists have expended great energy searching for the remains of Noah's ark. However, before they break out the non-alcoholic champagne to celebrate, they should know that the two scientists see no evidence for a worldwide deluge in line with a strictly literal reading of Genesis 7. But geological research does find reason to believe there was indeed a vast, sudden and deadly flood around 5,600 B.C., close enough to the possible time of Noah to fascinate biblical literalists and liberals alike.
The Ryan-Pitman candidate for the great Flood locale is what we know as the Black Sea, bordering Turkey to the north. In 1993, Ryan and Pitman joined a Russian expedition on the Black Sea and used the latest technology to examine evidence of geological patterns, soil layers and forms of aquatic life that existed in ancient times. One telltale clue: Freshwater mollusks with smashed shells gave way to salt-water creatures that had intact shells, a biological transition that could be dated through carbon-14 testing of the shell remains. From such research, the scientists spin this scenario: Until about 5600 B.C. the Black Sea was an inland fresh-water lake, considerably smaller than today's salt-water sea and lying far below the level of the Mediterranean Sea.