Advanced physics students from Leicester University set out to determine if the Biblical dimensions of Noah’s Ark would have been able to float with the 70,000 animals it was carrying. However, none of them believed that it would be feasible.
In order for a boat to float, it was to exert the same amount of force as the weight of the water it displaces. In other words, if the boat weighs more than the water it is on, it will sink. In the Bible, the volume of the boat is provided in cubits. Cubits are an ancient measurement that measures the distance from a person’s elbow to their middle finger.
In modern times, this would be closer to around 45-52 centimeters. However, to be more precise for the study, the students averaged the length down to 48. Based on that, the students concluded that the ark was around 144.6 meters long, 24.1 meters wide, and 14.46 meters tall. To calculate density, they used cypress wood, which has a similar density to pine and cedar.
Using the density of the cypress, the estimated ark would have weighed around 1,200,000 kilograms. This would mean that the ark would in fact float, and barely dip 0.32 meters into the water.
However, they were trying to understand if the boat would not only float but would float with 70,000 animals and also humans. But, according to Benjamin Jordan, one of the four student researchers, even with all the animals around at that time (70,000) the boat would float.
“Using the dimensions of the Ark and the density of the water, we were able to calculate its buoyancy force, which, according to Archimedes’ principle, is equal to the weight of the volume of fluid the object displaces. This meant we were then able to estimate the total mass the Ark could support before the gravitational weight would overcome the buoyancy force, causing the Ark to sink,” Jordan explained to the Independent.
When asked how they felt about the results, Thomas Morris, another researcher, stated the following.
“You don’t think of the Bible necessarily as a scientifically accurate source of information, so I guess we were quite surprised when we discovered it would work. We’re not proving that it’s true, but the concept would definitely work,” said Morris.