Dodge death. Seven Fascinating Ancient Disasters That Changed Our World
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Scientists have collected 7 of the most terrible and bewitching disasters that hit the ancient world.
Studying the history of our planet, you will notice that life on Earth hundreds of times was on the verge of annihilation – in some places it is even amazing how humanity managed to live up to 20th century, writes Ancient Origins.
Chicxulub Crater and Mass Extinction
Perhaps we should start with a catastrophe that literally changed everything on Earth – the fall of an asteroid and the mass extinction. Traces of that ancient catastrophe are located on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula and are a massive Chicxulub crater, 80 km wide and 20 km deep, which hit the Earth about 66 million years ago.
Researchers believe that the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs and many others was about 10 kilometers in diameter. If it seems to you that this is not such a big asteroid, think about how fast it moved and collided with our planet – this happened with the power of more than a billion atomic bombs. Scientists believe that at that moment, shock waves were felt across the entire surface of the planet.
Millions of tons of ash, gases and debris filled the atmosphere, blocking the sun, and the wind at a speed of more than 900 kilometers per hour tore everything in its path. Scientists believe that the explosion was followed by global cooling, while fragments of the meteorite scattered across the Earth and were so hot that they caused massive forest fires.
As a result, 75% of all life was wiped off the face of the Earth.North Sea Tsunami
Until about 8 thousand years ago, between northern Scotland, Denmark and the Channel Islands, there were islands known as Doggerland. This place became a haven for various Mesolithic tribes and was described as a prehistoric Garden of Eden.
Research shows that around 20,000 years ago, the release of oxen from the glacial Lake Agassiz in North America led to a rise in sea levels – it is believed that he jumped by about 60 centimeters. As a result, Doggerland sank under water and only a few separate islands remained.
People still lived on these islands and everything was fine until a massive landslide occurred near modern Norway, throwing about 3 thousand cubic kilometers of earth. This provoked a large-scale tsunami, which wiped out the remnants of the islands along with all their inhabitants. Scientists believe that the scale of the tsunami of that time can be compared with the height of the wave that devastated parts of Japan in 2011.
On December 22, 856 AD, a strong earthquake of magnitude 7.9 occurred on the territory of modern Iran. Researchers believe that the epicenter of the earthquake was located under the then capital of Damgan, and the earthquake itself spread to a record 320 kilometers.
It is known that the cause was the Alpine earthquake belt, which is essentially a geological force that once helped create the mountain range of the Alps and is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the world.
Then a terrible earthquake claimed the lives of about 200 thousand man and became the fifth largest earthquake in history. Researchers believe that this disaster wiped out not only Damgan, but also badly battered the cities of Akhevana, Astana, Tash, Bastam and Shahrud.
Scientists also found that the earthquake destroyed the system of canals and springs, and landslides blocked the streams – as a result, those who did not die immediately died as a result of the lack of water supply.
The Antonine Plague
Between 165 and 180, the Roman Empire was struck by a terrible plague, which was named the Antonine Plague after one of its victims, Marcus Aurelius Antony. In addition, it is also called Galen's plague, after the Greek physician who first documented the disease.
The researchers studied the work of Galen and came to the conclusion that the cause of the plague was a particularly dangerous form of smallpox and measles. It is assumed that the disease was brought into the country by Roman soldiers when they returned home from battles in the East.
It is known that the plague spread quickly throughout the territory of the Roman Empire and even went beyond it – some tribes in the north suffered . Researchers believe that the Antonine plague claimed the lives of about 5 million people. For example, according to the records of the historian Dio Cassius, about 2 thousand people died daily in Rome alone. Scientists have calculated that the death rate from this plague was about 25% – that is, one in four infected people died.
The eruption of Vesuvius
This is perhaps one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in the history of mankind. It is known that in 79 AD, Vesuvius even gave “warning signs” to the local population, which, alas, they ignored. As a result, a deadly cloud of superheated gas was thrown into the sky and rose 33 kilometers – molten stones, pumice and hot ash fell from the sky, and hot streams rushed down, sweeping away everything in their path.
Two cities hid in the shadow of Vesuvius: Pompeii, only 8 kilometers away, and Herculaneum, which was even closer. As a result, the inhabitants of these two cities suffocated from the ash, burned to death, or were suffocated by debris and cooling lava. It is known that the total population of both cities was about 20 thousand people – until now, scientists do not know how many people died as a result of the eruption of Vesuvius, however, the remains of about 1.5 thousand people were found at the crash site in each of the cities.
< p>For centuries, Pompeii was forgotten until they were rediscovered in 1631 AD after another eruption in the area. And only in the 20th century, during the excavations, scientists were able to study the scale of the eruption of Vesuvius. Due to the fact that the lava moved very quickly, it literally buried the bodies of the victims in itself, which rotted over time, but left cavities. As a result, scientists filled these spaces with plaster and were able to get terrifying statues of the victims of the eruption of Vesuvius.
This plague struck the eastern Roman Empire from AD 51 to 549. It was so large-scale that it swept the Mediterranean, Europe and the Middle East, including the Sasanian and Byzantine empires, and Constantinople was at the epicenter of the Plague of Justinian.
This plague was named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I who was in power at the time. Historians believe that the emperor was one of the few who managed to survive after contracting this plague.
Researchers believe that the plague wiped out a fifth of the population of Constantinople, from where it moved to Roman Egypt in 541 AD and persisted in Europe until 549. The exact number of those who died from the Plague of Justinian is unknown, but it is estimated that about 5 thousand people per day died in Constantinople. Researchers also believe that this plague was caused by the same bacterium that caused the bubonic plague in 1347-1351.
The Wars of the Three Kingdoms< /h2>
This historical period covers 220-280 years. AD This time is known as the Three Kingdoms – China was then divided into three dynastic states of Cao Wei, Shu Han and Eastern Wu. It is believed that this period became one of the bloodiest periods in the history of mankind.
During this period in hostilities almost did not stop in the region, and the losses were colossal:
- Qin Unification Wars – about 2 million people died;
- Yellow Turban Rebellion – from 3 to 7 million people died ;
- Massive battles in which armies of more than 500 thousand people took part.
According to the calculations of historians based on the census, the discrepancy between the data at the beginning of this period and at the end is almost 40 million people. However, scientists tend to think that about 12 million people actually died during the battles. However, they explain that such a demographic decline could depend on several factors at once:
- military actions;