Noah's ark was designed to carry Noah and his family along with animals through the global deluge of 2370 - 2369 B.C.E. The ark (Hebrew tevah, Greek kibotos) was rectangular, a chest, actually, having square corners and a flat bottom. It was designed simply to float, without the need of steering and to be watertight. This shape, not only would make capsizing very improbable but also allowed for one third more space. The roof had a 4% pitch, 1 cubit elevation - 25 cubits from wall to ridge, which allowed for water flow off.
It was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. The ancient cubit was 17.5 in. (44.5 cm), although some think it nearer 56 or 61 cm. which means the ark measured 437 ft 6 in x 72 ft 11 in x 43 ft 9 in. (133.5 m by 22.3 m by 13.4 m) which is less than half the length of the Queen Elizabeth II. The proportion of length to width being 6 to 1 is also used by modern naval architects.
It had approximately 1, 400, 000 cu ft (40,000 cu m) in gross volume, with a displacement comparable to the 883 ft (269 m) Titanic. It was strengthened internally by the addition of two floors. With three decks it would have a total of approximately 96, 000 sq ft (8, 900 sq m) of space.
For light and ventilation there was an opening a cubit in height near the roof which extended around the four sides, 1, 500 sq ft (140 s1 m).
The wood used was of a resinous tree, probably cypress or similar. Cypress was favored by shipbuilders such as the Phoenicians and Alaxander the Great, even to the present day. Noah was instructed not only to caulk the seams but to cover the ark inside and outside with tar.
Bitumen And Pitch
Bitumen is a black or brownish asphalt. There are three Hebrew words which describe first it's degree of hardness: zepheth is pitch, the liquid form and chemar is bitumen, it's solid state. Kopher, tar, describes it's usage. An application overlaying woodwork. The ark which Moses as a baby floated down the Nile was covered with both bitumen and pitch, rendering it watertight (Exodus 2:3) and the builders of Babylon used the bitumen for not only its waterproofing but its adhesiveness for mortar in kiln dried bricks. (Genesis 11:3)
Noah's ark had, without a doubt, a most interesting passenger list. Noah, his wife, three sons and their wives as well as two of every sort of animal, seven of each of the animals considered to be clean. Also food for over a year. Many people grossly overestimate the number of animals involved here because they don't understand that the Bible means every kind, a term which differs a great deal from the biological term. There wasn't a need, for example for Noah to include every breed of dog or cat, just two or 7 (if clean) of each.
It has been estimated that 43 kinds of mammals, 74 kinds of birds and 10 kinds of reptiles could have produced the variety of species known today. A more liberal estimate is 72 kinds of quadruped and less than 200 kinds of bird kinds would have sufficed. There is about 1, 300, 000 species of animals but 60% of those are insects. Of the 24, 000 amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, 9, 000 are are reptiles and amphibians and 10, 000 are birds - many of which could have survived outside the ark.
Of the 5, 000 mammals, which would include whales and porpoises who would have stayed outside the ark, 290 are larger than a sheep and 1, 360 are smaller than rats.
Plenty of room for Noah's family as well as for all animals and their food.
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