America’s spy agency, the CIA, has for decades kept a growing dossier of classified military and spy satellite photos of a small patch of ice near the peak of (greater) Mt Ararat. In about one in ten of those years, the ice melts back enough to expose what some have suggested are the remains of Noah’s Ark.
For the last seven years,1 Professor Porcher Taylor has used the USA’s Freedom of Information laws to try and get those photos of the so-called ‘Ararat Anomaly’ released. Exasperated with government recalcitrance, Taylor arranged his own satellite photos of the area, which were recently published, though not definitive either way.2,3
If the Ark is not under that ice, why the official secrecy? A mundane explanation is possible. Photos of thousands of military installations and other sensitive spots around the globe are automatically classified secret by US authorities. ‘We couldn’t release [the Ararat satellite imaging] … because it shows what we were targeting,’ says an anonymous senior intelligence source.3
Turkish authorities think that target is CIA listening posts buried in the ice, once used to track missiles from the nearby Soviet base.3
Could a wooden vessel such as the Ark have survived to modern times? On one hand, we don’t know the qualities of what the Bible calls ‘gopher wood’; there was a ‘pitch’ (probably resin) coating; and the chances of preservation would be enhanced in such a cold, remote place. A handful of wooden vessels have indeed survived from ancient times.4
On the other hand, the ravages of shifting ice, and the lava flows of which there is evidence on Ararat, plus the post-Flood need for fuel and building materials, combine to reduce the probability of survival of the Ark.
Note the following:
Genesis 8:4 says that the Ark landed on ‘the mountains of Ararat’, not specifying this particular mountain. There are other mountains in the region with traditions of being the Ark’s resting place.
Finding the Ark would be a sensational advance for the cause of Genesis creation. As a ‘type’ of the Lord Jesus, it would also have evangelistic value.
Even so, it would not suddenly ‘convert the world’—as Jesus indicated, not even spectacular signs will overcome the wilful refusal to believe God’s Word (Luke 16:31).
God may not want the Ark to be found, because of the human tendency to venerate objects and icons, distracting from the worship of the living Creator of heaven and Earth (Numbers 21:9 cf. 2 Kings 18:4).
The Ararat anomaly is an object appearing on photographs of the snowfields near the summit of Mount Ararat, Turkey and advanced by some Christian believers as the remains of Noah’s Ark
The anomaly is located on the northwest corner of the Western Plateau of Mount Ararat (approximately 39°42′10″N 44°16′30″ECoordinates: 39°42′10″N 44°16′30″E) at about 15,500 ft (4,724 m), some 2.2 km (1.4 mi) west of the 16,854 ft (5,137 m) summit, on the edge of what appears from the photographs to be a steep downward slope. It was first filmed during a U.S. Air Force aerial reconnaissance mission in 1949 — the Ararat massif sits on the former Turkish/Soviet border, and was thus an area of military interest — and was accordingly given a classification of “secret” as were subsequent photographs taken in 1956, 1973, 1976, 1990 and 1992, by aircraft and satellites.
Six frames from the 1949 footage were released under the Freedom of Information Act to Porcher Taylor, a professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and a scholar at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies specializing in satellite intelligence and diplomacy, in 1995.
A joint research project was later established between Insight Magazine and Space Imaging (now GeoEye), using the IKONOS satellite. IKONOS captured the anomaly on August 5 and September 13, 2000. GeoEye has constructed a computerized video of the imagery it captured of the anomaly. The structure appears at approximately halfway through the video. A controversial “bird’s eye view” satellite image, taken by IKONOS later in 2003 for the same research project, was released to the public in 2006.
The Mount Ararat area also has been imaged by France’s SPOT satellite in September 1989, Landsat in the 1970s and NASA’s Space shuttle in 1994, as well as military satellite images captured by the CIA’s KH-9 (Keyhole 9) in 1973 and KH-11 in 1976 and 1990–1992.
The Defense Intelligence Agency believes the anomaly shows “linear facades in the glacial ice underlying more recently accumulated ice and snow.
If it is found, it will likely be because of providential circumstances which have, against the odds, allowed it to be preserved for finding in God’s timing.
The Turkish government now insists that any archeological research in the area is done in cooperation with Atatürk University. At least one team of US researchers is proposing such a joint project, using ground-penetrating radar on the mountain’s icecap.
Many teams have looked for the Ark on this mountain and failed. Veteran Ark searcher, the Institute for Creation Research’s Dr John Morris, still encourages and assists other searches. But he, like a number of other past searchers, says it would take some new lead/evidence to get him to ‘go over’ again. Perhaps the ‘Ararat Anomaly’, when more details are available, will provide such an impetus.
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