WASHINGTON - An expedition is being planned for this summer to the upper reaches of Turkey's Mount Ararat where organizers hope to prove an object
nestled amid the snow and ice is Noah's Ark.
A joint U.S.-Turkish team of 10 explorers plans to make the arduous trek up Turkey's tallest mountain, at 17,820 feet, from July 15 to August 15,
subject to the approval of the Turkish government, said Daniel P. McGivern, president of Shamrock_The Trinity Corporation of Honolulu, Hawaii.
The goal: to enter what they believe to be a mammoth structure some 45 feet high, 75 feet wide and up to 450 feet long that was exposed in part by
last summer's heat wave in Europe.
"We are not excavating it. We are not taking any artifacts. We're going to photograph it and, God willing, you're all going to see it," McGivern
Explorers have long searched for an ark on the high slopes of Mount Ararat, where the biblical account of the Great Flood places it.
In 1957, Turkish air force pilots spotted a boat-shaped formation in Agri province. The government did not pursue the sighting, however. The entire
area, including Mount Ararat, was off limits to foreigners because of Soviet complaints that explorers were U.S. spies.
That ban was lifted in 1982, and since then teams of explorers have visited the area but have been unable to substantiate any claim of an ark.
McGivern and Ahmet Ali Arslan, a Turkish mountain climber who grew up in a town near Mount Ararat, say satellite photos have helped them pinpoint a
more exact location. Arslan will be leading the expedition.
The biblical account in the Book of Genesis says that after the great deluge, the ark came to rest on the mountain with Noah's family and a cargo of
male and female pairs of every kind of animal.
Geologists say even though there is evidence of a flood in Mesopotamia in Sumerian times, it is not possible for a ship to make landfall at an
altitude as high as Mount Ararat.