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Noah's Ark
Could this be Noah’s Ark?
Fact or Fiction?

The Story: Discovering the Ark

Over the last two decades the search for Noah's Ark has received international attention. Dozens of expeditions to the Ararat region of eastern Turkey, mostly by American Christian groups, have led to numerous claims - but no proof.

The Bible says Noah's boat came to rest on "the mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4). "Ararat" probably designated a region (the ancient kingdom of Urartu) and not a specific mountain peak. After Noah and his family left the Ark on the mountain, the boat virtually disappeared from the pages of the Bible. Later Biblical writers never suggested they knew it could still be seen.

The mountain called Ararat today is more like a mountain range with twin peaks. Interestingly, there have been numerous reports throughout history of a large boat on a mountain in this region. Earliest references (beginning in the 3rd century B.C.) suggested it was common knowledge that the Ark could still be viewed on Mount Ararat.

Reports over the past century range from visits to the vessel, to recovery of wooden timber, to aerial photographs. It is generally believed that at least large part of the Ark is intact, not on the highest peak, but somewhere above the 10,000 foot level. Apparently encased in snow and ice for most of the year, only during certain warm summers can the structure be witnessed or accessed. Some have spoken of climbing onto the roof, others say they have walked inside.

In the 1980s, "ark-eology" was given an air of respectability with the active participation of former NASA astronaut James Irwin in expeditions up the mountain. In addition, Ark investigation was also given a boost with the breakup of the former Soviet Union, because the mountain was right on the Turkey-Soviet border. Expeditions up the mountain had been considered a security threat by the Soviet government.

Unfortunately, return visits to proposed sites have produced no further evidence, the whereabouts of all photographs are presently unknown, and different sightings do not suggest the same location on the mountain. Furthermore, Astronaut James Irwin has since died, a purported eyewitness has recently recanted publicly, and there have been few new expeditions up the mountain in the 1990s. Further expeditions have taken place in the new millennium, but no proof of the Ark has yet been found.

This mountain is home to many mysteries, dangers and troubles. Begin your search to find out more by selecting some of the following items:

The Location
Noah's Ark
Expeditions Present: Operation Triple G

Science Fact

It is Alleged That
Metal detector surveys found a regular pattern of ‘hot spots’ which could be joined to reveal a regular pattern of ‘lines’ lengthwise and across the inside of the formation only. These ‘hot spots’ represent iron concentrations and could be traced by the metal detector along these interconnecting lines or ‘iron lines’.

A subsurface interface (ground-penetrating) radar device. Dr John Baumgardner is seen here (top) with others pulling the
radar antenna across the site.

a standard beach combing type metal detector (the type with a disc-shaped detector head on the end of a long pole) ‘hot spots’ were indeed found, but these were randomly distributed and not in a regular pattern along lines. Since this type of metal detector can only detect metal objects down to a depth of about 1 foot (30 centimetres), these ‘hot spots’ can only represent objects with high metal concentrations buried in the surface mudflow material. Such a description perfectly fits the numerous basalt (a volcanic rock that is everywhere throughout the area) boulders found randomly buried in, and protruding from, the mud. The basalt boulders are often weathered but contain iron oxides that make the instrument respond positively in contrast to the ‘dead’ mud. Furthermore, this instrument did not detect ‘iron lines’ between the ‘hot spots’. That this distribution of ‘hot spots’ was random was confirmed by at least two such metal detector surveys.

Metal Detectors Mapping Iron Lines

It is Alleged That
Metal detecting surveys using a ‘molecular frequency generator/discriminator’ mapped out these ‘iron lines’, which represent longitudinal and cross beams containing iron nails and /or brackets. (These ‘iron lines’ were marked out with bright yellow plastic tape for greater impact.)

A ‘molecular frequency generator’ consists of a pair of brass welding rods bent at 90 degrees near one end, which are placed in sleeves for ease of movement while hand-held, connected by wires to a set of batteries which are carried in the operator’s pocket. (This electrical source is supposed to make the device more sensitive!) A so-called frequency generator is placed on the ground within the area to be surveyed. The dials are set on this ‘instrument’ for it to emit the supposed inaudible frequency of whatever metal (gold, iron, etc.) one hopes to detect. As the operator walks along holding the brass rods out in front, one in each hand, the rods are supposed to cross or separate when the subsurface target is located. Such movement, however, will occur by simple physical principles even when there are no batteries connected. Just as a supermarket trolley (castor) wheel tends to trail behind the direction of motion, there is a tendency for the long arms of the rods to rotate so as to trail behind the direction of walking. The resultant crossing or separating may therefore easily be initiated by the conscious or unconscious expectations of the user.

Qualified scientists have been independently consulted about this gadget, which is generally advertised in treasure-hunting magazines, not scientific journals. They are unanimous that there are no scientific principles employed. Indeed, two of these scientists built and tested working models. The results of this technique can hardly be considered trustworthy, the brass welding rods being used in essence, as divining rods, similar to the use of a forked stick to search for water.* So the ‘iron lines’ on diagrams of the boat shape and the lines of plastic tape in photographs are only an interpretation based on 'results' from a pseudo-scientific ‘instrument’. They have not been able to be reproduced or verified by any reputable scientific survey technique, including standard metal detection equipment. This includes the highly sophisticated types of magnetometer used by mining companies (see later).
(* Even Baumgardner, to his later embarrassment, was initially taken in by the false claims attributed to this ‘instrument’. Fasold still promotes its virtues and cries ‘foul’ when these ‘home truths’ are pointed out, yet if it were what he claims then every mining company and fortune seeker would own and operate one and be making hordes of money! No mining company uses anything like it.)

Ground Penetrating, Subsurface Interface, and Radar Surveys

It is Alleged That
The pattern of ‘iron lines’ that was located by the metal detecting surveys and marked out by plastic tape was duplicated and verified by other subsurface techniques including ground penetrating, or subsurface interface, radar surveys, particularly the radar scans obtained by Fasold and Wyatt. These radar scans showed an internal structure typical of a boat’s structural framework (‘bulkheads’, ‘keelsons’, ‘walls’, etc.). Tom Fenner of Geophysical Survey Systems Inc. has thus designated the formation as a man-made boat.

The yellow tapes allegedly show
regular ‘grids’ of metal objects. This
has been shown to be a false claim.

In Reality
This claim is utterly false, yet it has been persistently used to give credence to diagrams purporting to show the internal structure of a boat, namely Noah’s Ark. Both Baumgardner and Dr William Shea were in Turkey in June-July 1986 waiting to join Wyatt on site. Wyatt and Fasold told them that they went to the site without a permit and in 30 minutes made 10 passes with the radar scanner only over the southernmost portion of the boat-shape, the so-called ‘prow’. Upon rendezvousing with Shea, Wyatt provided him with copies of these radar scans. Shea has forwarded them to us.

The permit was eventually approved, but Wyatt, Fasold and their party were not allowed back to the site with the radar scanner by the local police and military, so the planned follow-up work to radar scan the whole formation never came to pass, at least not at the hands of Wyatt and Fasold, from all published accounts. Yet, Wyatt and Roberts have both published diagrams of the boat-shape showing a supposed internal structure of transverse and longitudinal divisions which they have labelled as ‘bulkheads’ and ‘gunwales’ over the whole ‘boat’, the latter referencing Fasold’s 1986 survey of only part of it.

Furthermore, both Wyatt and Roberts legitimize these claims by using the name of Tom Fenner of Geophysical Survey Systems Incorporated in New Hampshire, who they say looked at the 1986 radar scans and concluded that the formation is ‘a man-made boat’.

So what did these radar scans really show? There are a series of laterally periodic narrow reflections stacked in column-like ‘structures’ at approximately the same depth. Roughly equidistant, they may give a ‘non-natural’ impression at first glance. Fasold called these the ‘subsurface walls’ he thought he had initially ‘detected’ with the ‘molecular frequency generator’ and plotted them as ‘bulkheads’ and ‘gunwales’ on diagrams. However, this interpretation of these radar scans does not take into account the crucial topographic (surface) variations across the site. If it did, Wyatt and Fasold would never have been able to convince themselves, let alone anyone else, about these so-called ‘bulkheads’, etc. Interestingly, Fasold admits on one of his published radar scans that the radar missed some of these so-called ‘walls’.

Geophysicist Tom Fenner says, ‘I was surprised and dismayed to learn that Mr Wyatt was using my name as well as the name of Geophysical Survey Systems Inc. (GSSI) in order to lend credibility to his unsubstantiated claims concerning the so-called “Noah’s Ark site.”’ Fenner goes on to indicate that neither he nor GSSI believes the formation to be manmade. He writes, ‘In 1987 I performed an extensive GPR [ground-penetrating radar] study in an attempt to characterize any shallow subsurface features in the boat-shaped formation at the site… . A great deal of effort was put into repeating the radar measurements acquired in 1986 by Wyatt and Fasold… . After numerous attempts over a period of one and a half days we were unable to duplicate their radar records in any way…. I was never convinced the site was the remains of Noah’s Ark. In fact the more time I spent on the site, the more skeptical I became.’

Instead of finding ‘walls’, Fenner’s 1987 radar survey indicated the presence of a shallow flat-lying reflector likely to be bedrock underneath the surface mudflow material. On the other hand, speaking of the data from the Wyatt and Fasold survey (which could not be duplicated, anyway) Fenner comments, ‘Their records showed point targets’, not ‘walls’. In other words, no boat structures (for example, ‘bulkheads’ or ‘gunwales’) were found in the survey that was conducted by a professional ground penetrating radar operator. Wyatt even claimed his radar scans showed stairs, which is absolutely unsustainable.

Walls of the Boat

It is Alleged That
In the walls that define the outline of the boat-shape is evidence of a former ship’s ribs, presumably the timbers that formed part of the original keel structure/hull (‘a few beams protruding out’).

In Reality
These walls, in places standing 20-30 feet (69 metres) sheer above the immediately surrounding terrain, certainly give the impression of the outer hull of a boat. However, that is where all similarity ends. These walls are simply hardened mud, containing boulders of the various local rock types. They contain no petrified wood holding in the mud in any way reminiscent of the outer planking of a wooden hulled vessel.

Furthermore, closer examination of the photographic ‘evidence’ of a ship’s ribs reveals that erosion gullies cutting into the walls at fairly regular intervals, mainly in one area, have given the appearance at a distance of thick beam structures; however, they are merely the hardened mud left behind between these erosion gullies.

As the burden of proof rests with those who claim that these are a ship’s ribs, one would have thought that they would have sampled this material and submitted it for scientific tests. However, there is no indication that it has ever been sampled by Wyatt or Roberts to see what they really are. On the other hand, all the other eye witnesses who have been to the site insist that they only ever saw mud, containing boulders (mudflow debris), forming these walls.

Trainloads of Petrified Wood?

It is Alleged That
‘There are trainloads and boatloads of petrified wood out there and it is all in the boat structure.’ Furthermore, the prized exhibit Wyatt shows to visitors, and photographs of which are regularly displayed, is a sample of “petrified” wood identified as pecky cypress-removed from inside the “hull” in the presence of the Governor of Agri.’

In Reality
No trained scientist of the many who have visited the site has ever seen any sign of these ‘trainloads’ of petrified wood. Geologist Dr Bayraktutan has collected one or two small fragments of semi-petrified wood which in his opinion have flowed on to the site within the mud from elsewhere. He confirms that none of the regular rock types of the site are petrified wood. Not one of the other scientists (including geologists familiar with petrified wood) has ever once seen any. Yet Wyatt continues to show untrained people samples of what he claims is petrified wood from the site.

His prize sample, reportedly dug up in the presence of the Governor of the Turkish province of Agri, is not only claimed to be petrified wood, but alleged to be ‘laminated’ and ‘deck timber’. Roberts too has made much of this sample, being photographed with it, and claiming that this ‘petrified laminated timber’ is of major significance, since the Ark was made of gopher wood which, he says, could mean laminated wood.

Both Wyatt and Roberts claim support for the identification of this sample by citing Galbraith Laboratories of Tennessee, yet the laboratory assay certificate shows that they only analysed for three elements-calcium, iron and carbon-no basis at all for calling the sample petrified wood! When telephoned, the laboratory was adamant that they were not asked to give an opinion on what the object was and they were unable to do so.

The only other supportive evidence revealed by Roberts privately was a typewritten statement claiming that the sample (which is said to have no growth rings*) had been ‘identified visually as pecky cypress by John Mackay’. That is all. No one should make such an identification without a microscope thin section which would show, if the sample really was petrified wood, the cellular wood structure. No such thin sectioning has been done, and when urged by Roberts’ group Ark Search to do so (after Creation Science Foundation pointed this out), Wyatt refused to submit the sample for such sectioning and proper scientific testing and assessment.
(* Ark Search literature has a photo of one of Wyatt’s specimens of ‘petrified wood’ which, in contrast to the above mentioned, shows what look like growth lines. That specimen is also claimed to show a ‘tenon joint’. To our knowledge, there is a total absence of supportive documentation on that alleged find, which may explain why it is rarely mentioned, in stark contrast to the other.)

A Christian who was researching these claims writes (in a document forming part of Ark Search’s ‘written evidence’) that when he was shown this ‘petrified laminated wood’ sample, Wyatt told him that he had had it analysed by Galbraith Laboratories and the tests indicated that it was silicate replacement (that is, the wood had been replaced by a silicon compound). This cannot be truthful, since the laboratory report, also in Ark Search’s possession, shows that silicon was not even analysed for by Galbraith! No future compliance by Wyatt to have the sample sectioned is feasible without the safeguard of eye-witnesses who are familiar with this so-called ‘laminated’ ‘pecky cypress’.

On the other hand, there are lots of chunks of basalt on the site and buried in the surface mudflow material. Those people we know of with a trained eye who have seen this particular sample of Wyatt’s have all identified it as basalt. Furthermore, their testimony, plus photographic assessment and microscopic examination of basalt samples from the site, strongly suggest the alleged ‘petrified adhesive’ is actually calcite veining.

Higher Carbon in Samples Coming From Within Vessel

It is Alleged That
Soil samples from the site indicate the residue of a decayed wooden vessel with sophisticated metals used for bracing, the samples coming from within the formation having a much higher carbon content.

surveyed outline of ark site
Depicts an accurately surveyed outline of the site, showing the magnetic contours. Far from confirming the pattern of regularity shown in the Ark Search diagram, this magnetometer data is consistent with definite geological features (see text.).

In Reality

Two soil samples were indeed collected by Wyatt in 1979 and the assay results from Galbraith Laboratories were published by Dr William Shea. It is also true that the samples contained iron, aluminum, titanium and carbon, but such elements are always to be found in soils. Indeed, the assay results of these two samples are exactly what one would expect from soil developed from basalt-the iron, aluminum and titanium originally being present in silicate minerals within the basalt and not as exotic metal fittings as proposed by Wyatt.

Furthermore, the laboratory assayed only for carbon and did not specify that it was organic carbon, so Wyatt and others are wrong to claim that the carbon in these samples comes from decayed wood. On the contrary, most of the basalt boulders on and near the site (including samples collected by Roberts and submitted for scientific assessment) contain abundant calcite, a very common mineral composed of calcium carbonate; that is, it contains carbon in mineral form-not organic carbon. No soil or rock samples gathered at the site are supportive of Wyatt’s claims.

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