Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jesus Walked On Ice, Says Study

Date:
April 17, 2006
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
The New Testament story describes Jesus walking on water in the Sea of Galilee but according to a study led by Florida State University Professor of Oceanography Doron Nof in Tallahassee, Fla., it's more likely that he walked on an isolated patch of floating ice.

The New Testament story describes Jesus walking on water in the Sea of Galilee but according to a study led by Florida State University Professor of Oceanography Doron Nof, it's more likely that he walked on an isolated patch of floating ice.

Related Articles


The study points to a rare combination of optimal water and atmospheric conditions for development of a unique, localized freezing phenomenon that Nof and his co-authors call "springs ice."

In what is now northern Israel, such ice could have formed on the cold freshwater surface of the Sea of Galilee -- known as Lake Kinneret by modern-day Israelis -- when already chilly temperatures briefly plummeted during one of the two protracted cold periods between 2,500 and 1,500 years ago.

A frozen patch floating on the surface of the small lake would have been difficult to distinguish from the unfrozen water surrounding it. The unfrozen water was comprised of the plumes resulting from salty springs situated along the lake's western shore in Tabgha -- an area where many archeological findings related to Jesus have been documented.

"As natural scientists, we simply explain that unique freezing processes probably happened in that region only a handful of times during the last 12,000 years," Nof said. "We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account."

It isn't the first time the FSU researcher has offered scientific explanations of watery miracles. As a recognized expert in the field of oceanography and limnology -- the study of freshwater, saline and brackish environments -- Nof made waves worldwide in 1992 with his oceanographic perspective on the parting of the Red Sea.

His latest research appears in the April 2006 Journal of Paleolimnology, a scientific publication that addresses the reconstruction of lake history.

Using paleoceanographic records of the Mediterranean Sea's surface temperatures along with analytical ice and statistical models, Nof and his colleagues focused on the dynamics of a small section of Lake Kinneret comprising about 10,000 square feet near the salty springs that empty into it. Their analysis supports the likelihood that a brief blast of frigid air descended over the lake and dropped to 25 F (-4 C) for at least two days, coinciding with the chill that had already settled in for a century or more and quite possibly encompassed the decades in which Jesus lived.

If these atmospheric conditions existed simultaneously over a lake such as Kinneret, a floating ice patch could develop above the plumes generated by the salty springs.

Such a perfect combination of conditions on the low-latitude Kinneret might well seem miraculous. In the last 120 centuries, Nof calculates the odds as roughly once in 1,000 years. However, during the life of Jesus the prevailing climate may have favored the more frequent formation of springs ice -- about once in 30 to 160 years.

Floating springs ice partially or entirely surrounded by unfrozen water could be virtually impossible for distant observers to discern, particularly if subsequent rains had smoothed its surface; and 2,000 years ago, even those with a better view might not have recognized a natural phenomenon so rare in their corner of the world.

"In today's climate, the chance of springs ice forming in northern Israel is effectively zero, or about on ce in more than 10,000 years," Nof added.

Among numerous honors throughout his career, Nof won the prestigious Nansen Medal from the European Geosciences Union in 2005. He is FSU's Distinguished Fridtjof Nansen Professor of Physical Oceanography and a member of its Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute.

In addition to Nof, the co-authors of "Is There A Paleolimnological Explanation for 'Walking on Water' in the Sea of Galilee?" are Professor Ian McKeague (Columbia University biostatistics department and formerly of FSU's department of statistics) and Professor Nathan Paldor (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, department of atmospheric science).



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Jesus Walked On Ice, Says Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060417105522.htm>.
Florida State University. (2006, April 17). Jesus Walked On Ice, Says Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060417105522.htm
Florida State University. "Jesus Walked On Ice, Says Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060417105522.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) The NOAA released statistics Thursday showing October was the fifth month this year with record temps and 2014 will likely be the hottest on record. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins