A giant space rock demolished an ancient Middle Eastern city and everyone in it – possibly inspiring the Biblical story of Sodom

<span class="caption">Artist's evidence-based depiction of the blast, which had the power of 1,000 Hiroshimas.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Allen West and Jennifer Rice</span>, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CC BY-ND">CC BY-ND</a></span>
Artist’s evidence-based depiction of the blast, which had the power of 1,000 Hiroshimas. Allen West and Jennifer Rice, CC BY-ND

As the inhabitants of an ancient Middle Eastern city now called Tall el-Hammam went about their daily business one day about 3,600 years ago, they had no idea an unseen icy space rock was speeding toward them at about 38,000 mph (61,000 kph).

Flashing through the atmosphere, the rock exploded in a massive fireball about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the ground. The…

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