So, I've been hearing for the last few days about this bronze age city destroyed by a meteor. I finally went and found the actual article.
It is full of quiet horror, in its restrained, understated way. The mud brick city took a several megaton-equivalent airburst, from about 5km away. Ordinary materials, like mud bricks, tiles, pottery, gold, and silver, all melted in the initial heat-pulse. Some of them boiled. Little bits of diamond grit shotgunned exposed objects. Shattered bits of brick, household goods, and people were blown out in a fan-shaped pattern.
Of the pictures that are included with the article, the two most affecting, for some reason, are a cross-section through the collapsed royal palace, with these elongated, carbonized cavities that were apparently carpets and tapestries; as well as one of the surface of a vase struck by a near-microscopic composite diamond. It made a little splash crater in the melted surface of the vase, and the diamond is still sitting where it hit. There's also mud brick that still has silicified remains of straw running through it as glassy cavities, tiny formless blobs of gold and silver that were probably someone's jewelry, and thousands and thousands of bits of crushed bone from people and animals literally pulverized as they were swept along by the shock, all part of the tumbling debris of an entire smashed city.
There's also mentioned (but with no picture) a skeleton found reasonably intact, presumably in a sheltered place, that had time to assume the classic 'duck and cover' position. That alone horrifies and amazes me. Presumably he was somewhere inside, felt the ground shock, and covered for an earthquake, before tons of brick came down on him.
There's speculation that this may be the original Sodom. Certainly it's a mighty enough smiting to have made a lasting impression. The entire plain remained unoccupied for several hundred years afterward, at least due in part to the salt splashed out from the Dead Sea, although I have to speculate that it may also have just been a 'shunned' area, after something like that.
Addendum: The related article from last year about Abu Hureyra,
which had entirely escaped my notice. Granted that they're separated by 9000 years or so in time, but that's a remarkably close proximity in space.
Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/236207.html