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What is the Ararat anomaly?

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The Ararat anomaly is a mysterious object located about 15,500 feet high on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey. While many Christians believe the boat-shaped object is the remains of Noah's ark, most scientists agree that it is likely a natural phenomenon, probably an optical illusion caused by ice fissures.

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The Ararat anomaly was first photographed in 1949 by the budding U.S. satellite program. Because the series of photographs taken had classified status, the Ararat anomaly pictures were classified as well. These photos were released in 1995 to researcher Porcher Taylor as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request. The pictures were unclear and did nothing to dispel the rumors that the anomaly was Noah's ark.

The rumors are further fueled by the fact that the anomaly is in approximately the right place. The Bible cites Ararat as the landing place for Noah's ark. Researchers who study the anomaly have provided evidence they say clearly indicates this is the ark, citing Biblical details such as size and proportion as proof. In several instances, expeditions have been launched to examine the ark physically, though the only "successful" expeditions were hoaxes. However, Taylor and other researchers hope recent advances in satellite imagery will help them zoom in on the anomaly, ultimately proving or disproving that it is the ark.

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