The Durupinar boat-shaped formation (Noah’s ark) was discovered on Sept. 11, 1959, by Turkish Army Captain Ilhan Durupinar. This boat-shaped formation is believed to be the buried remains of Noah’s ark (Nuh’un Gemisi) that landed in the Mountains of Ararat according to the Bible (Genesis 8:4) and according to the Qur’an (11:44) on Al-Judi which locals in the nearby village will tell you is a name given to this area as well.
The main research and interest in this site started in the 1970s through the mid-1990s due to the work of American explorer and researcher, Ron Wyatt, and others including Turkish scientists. In 2014 and 2019 further independent private geophysical surveys were done again on the ark formation showing layers and interesting angular structures below the ground. The new GPR data shows parallel lines and angular structures 8 to 20 feet down. These parallel lines and right angles below the surface are something you would not expect to see in a natural, geologic formation. Interestingly, the boat formation has also been confirmed to be the exact length of the ark given in the Bible (Genesis 6:15).
In the fall of 2021 a Turkish scientific team with American media including the History Channel started the most complete geophysical survey and scientific study of this site to date using as many modern scientific methods as possible. The scientific study will also focus on how best to preserve the site for future generations.
The 2021-2022 Noah’s Ark Project
Within the borders of Ağrı province is the boat formation (the Durupinar Noah’s ark site) that has been investigated by various researchers due to the possibility that it is the buried remains of Noah’s ark. The boat formation is located between Telçeker (Sürbehan) and Üzengili (Meşar) villages in the southern part of Gürbulak Valley near the Iranian border. This formation, located on the foothills of the Akyayla Mountain and 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of the summit of Mount Ararat (Ağrı Dağı), is above the meso-tertiary rock units. It is thought that this section has not been affected by tectonic deformations for a long time. Therefore, analysis and dating studies should be carried out as soon as possible so that uncertainty can be eliminated. The fact that it has the potential to create a great tourist site for Turkey makes the issue urgent. It has been observed that the area where this structure allegedly belonging to Noah’s Ark is located is not very well protected. Animal grazing and especially outside visitors and researchers enter the boat formation area without permission. First of all, this area must be protected from uncontrolled entrances.If this is the remains of Noah’s Ark, not a single stone should be moved from here because even the smallest detail can be very important for the research to be done correctly. It is also a fact that the deep crevices that occur are dangerous as they can cause accidents and serious injury. As a result of field observations made on site, we observed that serious crevices occur on the right and left edges of this structure. Natural erosion and those caused by repeated landslides now extend to the body of the structure. As a result of heavy rains, the waters flowing from the valleys formed by the water coming down the slopes from the mountainous area on the right and left side of the structure should be drained from the site and diverted before reaching the structure. Within the scope of the project to be carried out, landslide susceptibility maps should be made here first. This risk will be minimized by showing landslide susceptibility maps of the site using geographical information systems. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s Immovable Cultural and Natural Assets High Council has taken the site under protection as a natural protected area, taking into account that the ship mass is an immovable cultural and natural property that needs to be protected with the decision dated 17.09.1989 and numbered 3657. Observations and examinations were carried out in the area where the possible remains of Noah’s Ark are located. As a result of the initial study, the following research goals and recommendations are given. First, the Turkish team did a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the Noah’s ark site which is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface of a location. Also, the team used Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) which is a geophysical technique for imaging subsurface structures from electrical resistivity measurements made at the surface, or by electrodes in one or more boreholes. The final future phase will involve core drilling and geological testing of the rocks at the site and possible excavations.