Chinese researchers have come across scientific evidence that could prove the Great Flood in China is not mythical at all.
The Famous Chinese Legend
Legend has it that the Yellow River valley in China was once devoured by flood nearly 4,000 years ago. It all started with an earthquake that caused boulders to form a massive dam across the Jushi Gorge. It blocked the Yellow River for up to nine months.
When the dam broke, the water went downstream. The water rose so high, reaching the hills and the mountains, that no settlements were spared. The flood, which could have been the largest since the last Ice Age, lasted for 22 years, until King Yu tamed the waters by constructing drainage channels. The event signaled the beginning of China's first dynasty, and the beginning of civilization, the Xia.
Unlocking a Great Myth
The story has been passed on from generation to generation, but until then, there has not been scientific evidence to prove the veracity of the story. Now, a new geological study published in the journal Science has revealed evidence that the story about Emperor Yu and The Great Flood of China is real.
A team of archaeologists and geologists unearthed the evidence in 2007 by looking at sediments from the Jishi Gorge, an upstream river valley.
As explained by the National Geographic, the sediments appear to be yellowish, implying that they might had been from a lake. This means that the river must have been blocked at some point.
Because of this, the authors hypothesized that the sediments could have been related to the Great Flood.
The researchers also examined the archeological site of Lajia known as China's Pompeii, which is just a few kilometers away from where they found the sediments.
"It inspired us to connect the next possible outburst flood with the abandonment of the prehistoric Lajia site 25km downstream," lead author Wu Qinglong from Nanjing Normal University said in a teleconference.
"But at that time we had no idea what the evidence of a catastrophic outburst flood should be."
The cave houses many cultural artefacts such as skeletons that were buried by a major earthquake.
Using radiocarbon dating, they found out that the skeletons date to about 3,900 years ago, a significant date in the Great Flood timeline.
According to BBC, the paper suggests that the very same earthquake that destroyed the Lajia dwellings is the same reason why the Jishi Gorge was dammed.
They also noted that the black sand found in Lajia could be deposit from the outburst flood right around the Jishi Gorge.
Meanwhile, other researchers were impressed by the recent finding and noted that this could be the beginning of more research to completely unlock the mystery of the past.
In an interview with The Star, T.R. Kidder, an environmental archaeologist from Washington University who works in China said "they have provided the scholarly community with an intriguing hypothesis -- they've given us things we can now go look for."
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