The Destruction of Atlantis: Was It Lake Agassiz?
According to Plato (4th century BC), who relied on much earlier Egyptian accounts, Atlantis was a thriving, powerful island civilization that was destroyed by catastrophic flooding.
Was this simply a myth borne out of stories told by ragged men around campfires? Mankind used to be greater and rivaled the gods, but was crushed by jealous deities? Or was this a distant memory kept alive by the few survivors of a horrific event that almost destroyed all of civilization? After all, the same story was told worldwide around the same time. The stories of Noah, the Epic of Gilgamesh, stories told by civilizations of the New World…
The time frame in all these stories is the same. A coincidence?
Following the end of the last great ice age that ended about 10,000 years BC, the ice retreated northward. Behind, the great glaciers left a changed topography. Moraines, plains, rivers, and in one case…a lake that the world had ever before seen.
Lake Agassiz (named for an 19th century Swiss pioneer of glacial science) was huge beyond modern comprehension. It encompassed all or parts of the prairie provinces of Canada and into Minnesota and Michigan, and held more fresh water than that of all the lakes and rivers of the world today. It was deep beyond belief. Essentially, it was a huge reservoir of fresh water left by melting glaciers. Its southern end held the water by a barrier of topography and slowly melting glacial ice acting as a dam.
About 8,200 years ago the ice dam abruptly gave away. Though the human population in North America at that time was scant, the impact on the burgeoning civilizations in Europe, Asia, and Africa must have been tremendous. The abrupt rise in the sea levels was up to 9 feet. In the Mediterranean, where the impact of the sea was more important because of the "bathtub effect", it must have been catastrophic.
Who knows what happened? Civilizations on the Mediterranean were sea-based, not land-based. What if there was indeed a burgeoning, scientific seafaring civilization at that time that was obliterated by the surging tides? The isle that became the nexus of Great Britain was once a struggling, isolated economy that in a few centuries came to dominate and influence the world we know today. What would our world be like today if Britain vanished under the waters?
Was this what happened to Atlantis? Was it the destruction of the ice dam and release of the waters of Lake Agassiz into the ocean that destroyed Atlantis? Was it this event that created the flood "myths"? If indeed they were myths at all…science tend to support such a flood as fact, not fiction.
Was there once a civilization, advanced far beyond its time that fell to the rising water and quakes? Maybe so. Probably. You may call it Atlantis, or give it another name, but it once was, and it certainly existed. When you have the time and are next to the surging tides, pray to Poseidon it won't happen again in our time.