Speed of Atlantis’ Destruction
The Speed of Atlantis’ Destruction as described by Plato, namely, inundation within a couple of days, raises questions regarding the cause of the destruction. While Plato records that it was destroyed by an earthquake, it is hard to accept that any landmass which included a plain 3000 x 2000 stades could have been submerged in a day and a night by any earthquake.
To ascribe it to the consequences of deglaciation is not sufficient as the rate of melt water release when spread worldwide would have had a minimal annual effect. A tsunami, however devastating, would not permanently affect a landmass and the water would eventually have returned to the ocean. The same can be said of even the most torrential rainfall. The most likely explanation would be the breaching of a dam or landbridge that protected a low-lying enclosed sea. This idea prompted writers such as Zamarro, Benetatos and Ellul to suggest that there had been a sea barrier near Gibraltar that collapsed under the pressure of the rising Atlantic following deglaciation as the last Ice Age ended. This could have been triggered by tectonic or seismic activity to which the region is prone.
Plato’s story states that the Athenians were also affected by the same flood event, implying an extensive Mediterranean catastrophe. Any credible theory regarding Atlantis must explain the rapid flooding of Atlantis and destruction over hundreds of miles.