Anand CV Mallaya

Google Maps Archaeology : Ancient Rivers and Underwater River Channels

In history on July 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Rivers are important. They provide life through fresh water. Civilizations have flourished and perished along with it. So anybody who are interested in finding the history of civilizations have to look it around rivers. This is evident from all major ancient civilizations.

Mesopotamia civilization- Tigris and Euphrates rivers

Indus valley civilization – Indus and Sarasvati rivers

Egyptian civilization- Nile rive

Olmec civilizaion- Coatzacoalcos river

Ancient Chinese civilization – Yellow River

The common denominator to all cities(even ecosystems) are source of fresh water. So my search for ancient civilizations moved around rivers. Since I am interested in ancient Indian history, I started with Indian Subcontinent for clues. First I looked at the ancient rivers of Indus and Ganges on Google maps.  Then looked at the references of these in ancient texts.

Some assumptions I am making at this point is that the Indus river was heavily described in the early Rigveda, one of the earliest texts, as a mighty river. Even before that a river named Sarasvati  was the center of worship or respect. Which is generally considered  mythical. But considering the antiquity of the Rigveda and the  position of the Sarasvati river early in the chronological order of importance , we should consider another possibility – the end of last ice age. This was 10000 years, that is roughly 8000 B.C. And Rigveda composition is dated to 2000 B.C. By that time, the Sarasvati and Indus must have been transferring a lot of water from the melting glaciers of Himalayas which still continues even today. The Sarasvati seems to have dried out eventually. These can be reasoned out from the concentrations of the excavation sites of Indus Valley Civilization.

Geography of the ancient Sarasvati River Valley

Geography of the ancient Sarasvati River Valley

Have a look at what they look like today. And when I looked more in to this, I can find more things. It is easy to reason out that during ice age, when lot of the water on the planet was in the glaciers, the sea level may have been lower. And lot of land may have been habitable.

The marked light blue area is shallow compared to the dark blue area in the google maps.

The marked light blue area is shallow compared to the dark blue area in the Google maps.

In the light of this, give a closer look at the Himalayan rivers’ mouths, you can see some wonders, we can clearly make out the ancient river channels in the current shallow seabed, from the satellite pictures!

river bed

Also the Indus and Sarasvati was meeting at today’s The Great Rann Of Kutch. Which is a salt desert. Which may be explained by when the river were flowing full strength, this area was the mouth of the river, causing a small sea. Now dried to form a salt desert. The triangle shaped river mouth is still visible. And another interesting fact is that, the biggest Indus Valley Civilization site in India, City of Dholavira, is actually located  in this mouth area and they are notable for their skill in water management. And what were doing in a salt desert if the River Sarasvati was not real?

Sarsvati Indus mouth

Now this is getting very interesting. So I explored major rivers around the world to see if I can see ancient river beds.

Look at these pics

The under water channel of Zambezi

The under water channel of Zambezi

The underwater channel of Congo river

The underwater channel of Congo river

Visible underwater channels of Amazon River Mouth

Visible underwater channels of Amazon River Mouth

The puzzling part is that Amazon’s channel seems to be the weakest of all. This may be due to excessive deposits the river carry to the ocean.

Then I explored more to find even amazing ones. Lets go to Japan.

The mouth of multiple rivers

The mouth of multiple rivers

The rivers Oyabe, Jinzu, Kurobe all join at an underwater valley to form the longest underwater river channel visible!

The Giant underwater river channel of Japan

The Giant underwater river channel of Japan

So far, the maps continues to amaze me. So thought of sharing with all. So start looking for wonders like this now and share it here in the comments!

Mean while let me explore other wonders!

Questions in my mind

  1. Are these river channels ancient? When the land was above sea level during the ice age, were  they real rivers?
  2. Is it possible that there were human settlements around them?
  3. Does these lower sea level theory can explain the root of the  stories like Kumari kandam / Mu/ Lemuria etc. ?

The search continues.

Keep visiting!

 

UPDATE:  29-7-2013

More rivers

Mouth of the river Sous in Morocco

Mouth of the river Sous in Morocco

 

 

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