The Evidence, Archaeology, Excavation, & Chemistry

brimstone, and salt, and burning” – Deut. 29:23

The ashes of Sodom & Gomorrah have a story to tell. Explorers and archaeologists have found evidence of manmade structures. The ash heaps resemble houses, temples, walls, gates, and statues. The geometric shapes and angles are visible to the naked eye. Such formations are not normal geological structures. These aren’t the kinds of things that are naturally formed in nature.



How did Moses know that the Cities of the Plain and Lot’s wife became salt (Deut. 29:23, Gen. 19:26)? Certainly, this could have been miraculously revealed to Moses through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16); but there are alternative possibilities to this scenario. People in the bronze age would be able to recognize Calcium Sulfate as a salt by the color, texture, and taste of it after a close examination.

I’m sure many a pilgrim traveled far and wide to personally examine the infamous pillar of salt (Gen. 19:26)! Wouldn’t you want to go and see it? People would have noticed that the Cities of Ash in the form of Calcium Sulfate resemble a salt that is white in color and powdery in texture. The explorers of the region have demonstrated how the stratified layers of ash do crumble into powder upon being taken with the hands.



A lot of the ashes in the area appear to be off color, where people today wouldn’t easily recognize that this is salt. The weather changes things over time. The winds and rains of the region for nearly 4,000 years would have caused the brown dust from the surrounding terrain to alter the color of the top layer in the Cities of Ash. This would explain why many areas appear tan in color instead of white. However, as demonstrated in the photograph above, after a little digging a bright white power immediately appears.



A more extensive survey of the ruins would reveal innumerable balls of brimstone embedded in the ash. Amateur explorers without any equipment have found many fully preserved brimstones conspicuously appearing on the ashy grounds or in the stratified walls of the ash heaps. These are unique and fully preserved brimstones that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.



There has never been any geothermal activity observed in the area. There are no volcanoes. There is no explanation for how these stones of extremely pure sulfur got there except that God rained down fire and brimstone from heaven. This is not the kind of sulfur that can be found at volcanoes. Volcanic sulfur is yellow in color and is usually around 40% pure sulfur. The brimstone found at the Cities of the Plain is white in color and around 94-98% pure sulfur.


The flammability of the brimstone found at Sodom & Gomorrah is the visible proof of its purity. The brimstones found in the stratified walls of the ash heaps can be lit on fire without removing them from their embedded location. This has been repeatedly demonstrated by explorers in various documentary videos available online.



Even though the brimstone is on fire, the flame cannot be detected by the naked eye in the daytime because it is a very hot blue flame. The brimstone will burn until it melts into a liquid form, and then the liquid brimstone will burn until is vaporizes, unless the flame of the burning brimstone is somehow extinguished in the process of events taking place.




The amount of burning brimstone changes things for the Sodomites. Proportionately, the greater the quantity of burning brimstone, like in the case of a massive storm of fire and brimstone, the faster the temperature of the area would increase in heat. Fearfully, the entire atmosphere of the Cities of the Plain was turned into a fiery furnace! This much is clear (Gen. 19:28). Scientifically speaking, a heavy storm of fire and brimstone like this would have burned, melted, and vaporized the Cities of the Plain, and in the process it would have turned the buildings into salt.

Ancient buildings are made from stone, mortar and limestone. Upon heating, calcium carbonate and calcium hydroxide will lose carbon dioxide and water, leaving behind calcium oxide. Calcium oxide reacts with burning sulfur to form calcium sulfate as follows:

CaO + SO2 + ½O2 CaSO4

Why not calcium sulfite? The other calcium salt, CaSO3 is not thermodynamically stable above 727 C, thus the burning of buildings that have crumbled, and comprising calcium carbonate and calcium hydroxide, will result in an ash of calcium sulfate.– Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

Cities can only be turned into ashes of Calcium Sulfate with a very special kind of fire. It must burn in an exceedingly hot flame! Furthermore, if the heat permeated the whole area like that of a furnace, and thus steadily increased in overall temperature, even the bones of the general population of people would have been turned into salt.

And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” - Gen. 19:28

The buildings of these Cities weren’t the only things turned into salt. Lot’s wife wasn’t the only person turned into salt! A heavy storm of fire and brimstone like this would have burned, melted, and vaporized the Cities of the Plain, and in the process it would have turned the Calcium Phosphate of every person into Calcium Sulfate.

“Bone is comprised of Calcium Phosphate, which reacts with Sulfur Trioxide gas at elevated temperatures to form Calcium Sulfate and Phosphorous Pentoxide. Phosphorous Pentoxide sublimes at a rather low temperature of 360 °C, and thus will not remain with the bone but will be vaporized.

Ca3(PO4)2 + 3SO3 = 3CaSO4 + ↑P2O5

Sulfur Trioxide, or SO3 is created by burning Sulfur to SO2 followed with further oxidation to SO3, which reacts with Calcium Phosphate as per the above reaction.” – Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

However, that being said, let the reader understand that the general population of the people in these Cities weren’t being turned into a bunch of pillars of salt. Something extraordinary happened to Lot’s wife! There is a scientific explanation for why the general population of sinners would have been turned into a powdery form of salt rather than pillars of salt. Once the people were turned into a powdery form of salt, their physical remains would have become virtually indistinguishable from the ashes of the rest of these Cities.

The physical impact of the dense sulfur balls would have caused the buildings to crumble, causing the people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to flee from the falling debris. Upon exiting their dwelling places, the people would have unknowingly run into the rainfall of burning brimstone, which would then burn the flesh of the people, and all organic matter from the bones, as the people fall down dead in the streets. The burning sulfur would have converted the Calcium Phosphate in the bones to Calcium Sulfate, which would cause the bones to lose their physical integrity and fall apart from further burning brimstone rainfall, and thus they would crumble into a Calcium Sulfate powder.” – Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

Historically, only a few excavations have taken place in the Dead Sea region. There has been very little professional digging in the area. However, a few fragments of preserved bone were found underneath the rubble of collapsed buildings. This is due to the various responses of the people during the rainstorm of fire. Some people would have chosen to shelter in place inside buildings, while others would have fled outside for fear of the trembling, crumbling, and collapsing buildings. Others would have been unable to flee into the streets for various reasons. The preservation or transformation of the bones would depend upon their direct exposure to the fire and brimstone.

The people who were injured from falling debris and rendered unable to flee the buildings, or those who took cover under fallen debris inside the buildings, would have been temporarily shielded from the fire and brimstone in the streets. Instead, they would have died from a chemical exposure to toxic sulfur containing gases. What happens to the bones from there depends upon on how much the consuming fire reached the bodies of these dead people, and how long it consumed them, before the buildings collapsed and buried them under the rubble. The bones could have then been protected from further physical damage through the fallen debris. The bones of these people would therefore remain intact instead of being crumbled into powder.” – Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

The more we can understand about the situation the better. Comprehending the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of the damned as they suffered the vengeance of eternal fire will help us fear God (Jude 1:7, Heb. 10:27). Specifically, we are learning to fear God because of the powerthat He alone possess to torment and destroy men with adevouring fire (Matt. 10:28, Isa. 33:14). This is biblical.