Tells and Mesas

Tim Cullen at Malaga Bay posted up another thought provoking comment concerning Arabia, and used a photo of a Tell. On seeing this I immediately recognised the geological implications, (this one being Tell Barri in Syria).


Tell Barri (By Zoeperkoe / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0,

So here is a photo of a typical Mesa in an arid environment.


Wikipedia states:

A tell is an artificial hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot. Over time, the level rises, forming a mound.[3] The single biggest contributor to the mass of a tell are mud bricks, which disintegrate rapidly. Excavating a tell can reveal buried structures such as government or military buildings, religious shrines and homes, located at different depths depending on their date of use. They often overlap horizontally, vertically, or both. Archaeologists excavate tell sites to interpret architecture, purpose, and date of occupation. Since excavating a tell is a destructive process, physicists and geophysicists have developed non-destructive methods of mapping tell sites.[4]

No it’s not: a Tell is similar to a Mesa – a remnant of an eroded larger urban area. What caused the implied massive erosion? A large flood or deluge could do it. Instead of looking for a flood layer in the Tell, or elsewhere, the arkaeologists missed the forrest for the trees. The deluge was post the settlements remaining as a lonely hill.

Update: More likely the Mesa/Tell was left over from incomplete “electro-machining” by planetary scaled plasma discharges between the Earth and some external body via the ionosphere.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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One Response to Tells and Mesas

  1. Don Kress says:

    Agreed that these are electrical formations. I went through southern Utah a few years ago on my way to Arches National Park and drove through a strange formation that was later identified as the San Rafael Swell. I took pics and video. It’s on my public Facebook page. Don Kress the one from Sudbury Ontario Canada.

    There are strange rocks that are pockmarked or what I call Swiss cheese rocks. Funny thing is they are only Swiss cheese on top. Bottom no. Not all rocks are Swiss cheese. Some are flaked chips etc. showing no erosion.
    The San Rafael Swell is a pair of distorted ovoid shapes with triangular buttresses on them. I like Andy Hall’s work too.
    I suspect is a small fractal of the larger event that created the western part of north America. I concur with Michael Steinbacher’s hypothesis on that one. This view is the most persuasive for me.

    There is another pair of these distorted ovoid shaped formations just west of the southern part of the Dead Sea. Complete with triangular buttresses. Some researchers put the ancient city of Sodom close by on the shore. They found sulphur (brimstone) nuggets in the area embedded in the deposits. These deposits were very brittle, as if baked. That whole valley may have been excavated electrically. The Dead Sea only being the accumulated water at the bottom of the trench.


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