QUESTION: I am researching the claims of the finding of Noah's ark. My question is: Would the climate condtions on Mt. Ararat at the altitude of 13,000 feet where the discovery was supposedly made have existed 5,000 years ago, before the ark was built? Or can there be extreme climate changes in mountainous high altitudes over an extended period of time? In other words, could there have been a time in the distant past when the conditions at that height were that of warmer temperatures, allowing the growth of tree stands where wood could have been harvested on site to make wooden structures?
This relates to the claims that the wood structure(s) found on Mt. Ararat was a monastery or were shrines built by ancient monks or pens built by animal herders using indigenous wood at that altitude.
Thank you very much for your time.
ANSWER: My answer is a bit hypothetic as I am not aware of the geography of the area as I have never visited the sites you have mentioned.
There are 2-3 scientific principles which are also universal:
(1) with increase in latitude the climate becomes cooler ( can be under permanent snow as well).
(2) with increase of elevation the climate becomes cooler ( can be under permanent snow as well).
(3)The global wind circulation and the spin and earth's rotation along its orbit also impacts climate at a place.
imagine a condition that suddenly if the global pattern of wind circulation shifts in such a way (for what ever reasons) that the monsoon too shifts away from the Indian sub-continent - In this situation what would be the conditions at high Himalayan region which is always shrouded by snow and ice.
We have examples of Mohan-jodaro civilisation etc. which had highly evolved irrigation network – indicating high rain fall in and surrounding areas some 3 to 4 thousand years back, today they lie as ruins amidst desert conditions.
You have a valid question and you have to hunt for answers in geological-geographical and anthropological literatures/records and on site.
I have only tried to exemplify situations that my give you ideas to think.
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QUESTION: Your answer didn't really satisfy my question. I'll rephrase. Given your area of expertise, what, in your opinion, are the chances that condtions, such as the kind of permanent snow and ice that exist at the altitude of 13,000 feet on Mt Ararat, or any high mountain, would be completely different 5,000 years ago?
I have no more than what I have already said, for more specific answers pl. contact laboratories engaged in glacial studies of the past.
I can only add that the planet has experienced warm climate since 11000 or 10500 years BP as per Quaternary records (Post Pleistocene-Holocene climate changes.
Also climatic changes are never straight line changes they may have climatic aberrations or extreme short/long period events. 5000 years ago what was the ice-snow cover records (glacial-interglacial) on Mt. Ararta and similar peaks is a question you need to address through proxies.
All the best