CARGO ESTIMATE FOR NOAH'S ARK     Home   Menu 

COPYRIGHT Tim Lovett © 2003 

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A tally of mass and volume after Woodmorappe 1996.      

Summary

This study estimates the cargo of noah's Ark. Calculations rely substantially on the results of Woodmorappe's book published in 1996. Some adjustments were made, and a more detailed  payload tabulated. The required volume of each class of payload was then derived from their typical density, thereby obtaining an estimate of the remaining volume for animal housing. 

 

Contents 

1. Payload according to Hong et al 1994 

2. Cargo Inventory according to Woodmorappe 1996

3. Interior space of the Ark

5. References

1. Centre of Gravity according to Hong et al 1994

The principal study regarding the performance of Noah's Ark "Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway" was first published in Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 8(1):26–35, 1994; by S.W. Hong, S.S. Na, B.S. Hyun, S.Y. Hong, D.S. Gong, K.J. Kang, S.H. Suh, K.H. Lee, and Y.G. Je. Ref(1).This paper revealed the dimensions of the ark were astonishingly well chosen. The conclusions of the paper are summarized Safety Investigation for Dummies.

An 18 inch cubit was used, and a 15 cubit draft (as proposed by Collins, Morris), giving a displacement of 21 016 tonnes. Structural studies required 4000 tonnes of wood for the hull, leaving 17 016 tonnes for cargo.

Note that the average density of the ark is taken at 500 kg/m3, which is only slightly lighter than a solid timber block. Since most of the cargo is lighter than this (except for water), it is very unlikely this draft could be achieved without ballast.  

2. Cargo Inventory according to Woodmorappe 1996  

In 1996, investigation of Noah's Ark was enhanced with the comprehensive "NOAH'S ARK: A Feasibility Study"; John Woodmorappe, ICR 1996. This provided an opportunity to assess the loading more closely, with approximations given for major components of the cargo inventory.   

Based on generous food and water requirements for the animals, Woodmorappe (2) derived 11,000 tonnes of cargo. (Table 8 p48). 

 

Cargo

Tonnage

Comments 

Hull

4 000

Hong et al (1) 1994 (this should not be included since net tonnage is being calculated)

Water

4 070

4.07 Megaliters (p20, p48)

Dry food

2 500

From p19 at 20% moisture content (conservative). Also (Table 8 p48)

Animals

411

At end of voyage after animals had grown. (Table 8 p48)

TOTAL

10 981

11 000 tonnes (Table 8, p48.)

Spare

6 000

Should be 21 000- 11 000 = 10 000 tonnes. ( hull mass was included twice.)

Table 2a: Inventory of Contents by Mass (Woodmorappe 1996. Table 8, p48)

 

It appears the hull mass has been included twice - which means Woodmorappe (2) actually had a spare 10 000 tonnes. However, the mass of animal enclosures, access ways and services have not been included.

The calculation of animal mass (411 tonnes) is not detailed. The data can be derived from Table 1 (p10) of Woodmorappe's book (2), using the various hints about arithmetric and geometric means for different ranges (p13), and the substitution of juveniles in the upper two weight groups (p16). In Table 2b below, the average mass for each group is multiplied by the number of members of that weight range (Qty). 

 

Qty

Average   log gm

Average   mass gm

Assumed mass kg

tot kg

Comments

1738

0.74

5.5

5.5e-3

9.56

Arith mean (p13)

4686

1.74

5.5e1

5.5e-2

258

Arith mean (p13)

3238

2.74

5.5e2

5.5-1

1 781

Arith mean (p13)

2352

3.74

5.5e3

5.5

12 936

Arith mean (p13)

1928

4.5

3.16e4

31.6

60 969

Geom mean (p13)

1188

5.5

3.16e5

316

375 679

Geom mean (p13)

516

6.5

3.16e6

50

25 800

Geom mean replaced by 50kg juvenile (p16)

106

7.5

3.16e7

200

21 200

Geom mean replaced by 200kg juvenile (p16)

 

 

 

TOTAL 

492 263   kg

 

 

 

492

 tonnes. Compare Ref (2) Table 8 (111 start, 411 voyage end) 

Table 2b: Total animal mass  (Re-Derived from Woodmorappe. p10, Table 1)

 

In Table 2b there has been no substitution of juveniles in the third heaviest group (which is generating 76% of the mass). Woodmorappe (2) calculates 111 tonnes of biomass at the start of the voyage, which could have been achieved using juveniles in the third group.

We will assume a biomass of 400 tonnes - since this amount must be accommodated towards the end of the voyage.

Table 2b gives an average animal mass of 492 000 / 16 000 = 31kg. 

Woodmorappe (2) claims Whitcomb and Morris overstated the average animal size as "the size of a sheep". On p13 he states the median size was 100g. Both are correct. The AVERAGE = 31kg, while the MEDIAN = 0.1kg. For this particular distribution, the few very large animals lift the average well above the median. 

Also worth noting is the significance of using juveniles for the two heaviest groups. Using the geometric (adult) mass, the 622 heavyweights would add almost 5000 tonnes, bringing the average up to 340kg (a factor of ten times). For the largest animals, the stocking of juveniles appears essential.

 

 

A recalculated cargo inventory would look like this;

 

Cargo

Tonnage

Comments 

water

4 070

from Woodmorappe Table 8, p48

dry food

2 500

from Woodmorappe Table 8, p48

animals

492

p10 table 1, converted to total (see Table 2c above).

TOTAL

7 062

Compare with 11000 tonnes Table 8, p48, but without the hull mass.

Spare

10 000

17 000- 7 000 = 10 000 tonnes. 

Table 2c: Cargo Tonnages re-calculated after Woodmorappe 1996

 

Assuming a 4000 tonne hull, the calculation of total cargo could be either 17100 tonnes (Hong et al (1)) or around 7000 tonnes (after Woodmorappe (2)), short of the Hong et al (1) target by 10000 tonnes.

Contents

3. Interior space of the Ark

Ark researchers are unanimous in assuming the Biblical dimensions define the external size of the ark. Whether the dimensions could have been for the interior would be an interesting study. Assuming Genesis defines the exterior (Gross Volume), the available interior space is reduced by hull walls, structure etc. 

The length of Noah's cubit is consistently defined in previous ark studies as 18 inches (45.72cm). Maintaining this tradition; 

Gross Volume in cubits =  300 x 50 x 30 = 450 000 cubic cubits. (I couldn't resist that one) 

Gross Volume in metres = 137.16 x 22.86 x 13.716 = 43 006m3  (Compare Woodmorappe 43 169 m3 p20)

Assuming a hull wall and deck timbers of  0.3m ("Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway - Structural Safety") the interior space is reduced by 0.3m on every side and with 2 interior decks plus the roof. 

With hull wall and decks subtracted, the interior space = ( 137 - 0.6 ) x ( 22.9 - 0.6 ) x ( 13.7 - 1.2 ) = 38 046m  (12% lost)

Structurally, Hong et al (1) suggests 0.5 x 0.5m timbers. These beams would consume more space, but still allow some storage. This is not calculable without access to the final structural design, but it available space is well below 38 000m3.

Alternatively, using the information from Hong et al (1), a total wood mass of 4000 tonnes was required at 0.6 tonnes/m3, yielding 6667m3 of timber volume.

So the available space (assuming you can use every nook and cranny) becomes;

Maximum interior volume = 43 006 - 6667 = 36 340m3  (16% lost)

 

 

3.1  Loading Hong's Cargo (15 cubit draft)

Hong et al (1) calculated a displacement of 21016 tonnes assuming a draft of 15 cubits. Excluding the 4000 tonne hull, there are 17016 tonnes available for cargo. If the the cargo consumes 50% of the interior space, the average density must be around 1000 kg/m3, the same density as fresh water. 

This is very dense for dry food, equivalent to near perfect stacking of modern compressed hay briquets - specific gravity as high as 1.25 (Woodmorappe (2) p98 quoting Earle 1950). Even refined grains like modern white flour have a specific gravity of only 0.9, which is 10% lighter than water. (I just calculated this from a packet of flour).

It seems unlikely and unnecessary (according to Woodmorappe (2)) to load the ark with the full 17016 tonnes. Hence a draft of 15 cubits may be difficult to attain.

 

3.2  Densities of Potential Ark Materials

Average bulk densities of various materials that might have been carried in the ark (below).

 

Material

Bulk kg/m3

m3/tonne

Water

1 000

1.00

Alph alpha ground

250

4.00

Barley grain

600

1.67

Beans 

500-700

1.67

Buckwheat

660

1.52

Corn grain

760

1.52

Fish, meal

590

1.69

Hay - stacked

90

11.11

Hay - Woodmorappe

180

5.56

Hay - high density

1350

0.74

Wheat flour

593

1.69

Wheat grain

780-800

1.28

Locust dried

700

1.43

Oats

432

2.31

Nuts

640 (272 unshelled)

1.56 ( 3.68)

Rice

580

1.72

Sand

1600 dry, 2000 wet

0.63 (0.5)

Sewerage

492

2.03

Sawdust

210

4.76

Table 3a: Typical bulk densities of possible ark cargo 

 

Comparison of the stowage factors or Specific Gravity (m3/tonne) with Principles of Naval Architecture (Ref 3), Vol 1, Ch1, Section 8, Table16 shows that packaging reduces bulk density by approx figures below;

 

Packaging

Proportion of Bulk density

bags / sacks 90-95%
bottles / jars 50-70%
drums 70-80%
crates 55-75%

Table 3b: Typical bulk densities of possible ark cargo 

 

 

The following table lists various timber densities that might have been employed in hull and interior construction.

 

Timber

kg/m3

Balsa

170

Bamboo

300 - 400

Cedar, red

380

Cypress 

510

Douglas Fir

530

Ebony

960 - 1120

Elm

600

Eucalypt

800 - 1010

Maple

755

Oak

590 - 930

Pine

530

Redwood

450

Spruce

450

Teak

630 - 720

Willow

420

Table 3c: Typical Densities of potential hull and interior timbers 

 

 

3.3  Expanding on Woodmorappe's Cargo

Woodmorappe's calculations are conservative, yet at 7000 tonnes the ark is under-loaded. However, there are more components to consider.

 

Dry food. Woodmorappe (2) derived 2500 tonnes of grain and compressed hay. He assumes 80% grain based feeds, with the remaining 20% slightly compressed hay - at double the density of stacked hay. (SG=0.18). The density of grain is taken at 680 kg/m3 (Table 5, p19) which is quite dense. Grains vary from oats (430) to wheat (780), so a value of 680 allows for very air space in the storage. (i.e. More like silo bulk density then bagged storage).  A more realistic assumption would be closer to SG=0.5 (500 kg/m3). 

Hull. We will increase the wood density from SG = 0.6 (600 kg/m3 ) to SG = 0.8 (800 kg/m3 ). The lighter timber approximates Douglas Fir, the heavier timber is more like a dense hardwood - Eucalypt, Oak. The identity of the Biblical "Gopher wood" remains a mystery, but it could possibly refer to a treatment process for strength or waterproofing - likely to increase the density. The 4000 tonne bare hull would now approach 5300 tonnes. Another approach is to construct the hull with a layered base in heavy timber (e.g. Spotted gum  1010), with the rest of the construction in a lighter and more easily worked timber. At this point we will assume an average value of 800 kg/m3.

Animals. Providing a wide margin for animal mass, we will increase the initial 111 tonnes to 400 tonnes of flesh (closer to the final weight). However, as the animal mass increases over the course of the flood, the mass of food decreases. Animal growth is obviously far slower than food consumption. The final weight must be applied since this must be accommodated in the worst case. However, there is no reason storage space could not have been converted to animal housing during the course of the ark confinement.     

Water. The 4000 tonnes of fresh water (a full year's supply) appears excessively generous. Noah would certainly have no trouble collecting rainwater. Perhaps the ark endured periods of volcanic dust, or dry weather. A generous supply would be six months - or 2000 tonnes of water.

Enclosures. Next we need to estimate the mass of animal enclosures. For the small animals, most enclosures would be far heavier than the animal itself - over ten times. This would be the case even with multiple animal housing. Large animals we would require a cage at least double the creature's weight, assuming animals were combined where possible, and that minimal barriers were provided within stalls,  So we would expect a total enclosure mass of between 2 and 10 times the total biomass - some 800 to 4000 tonnes. We will choose the more conservative value of 4000 tonnes, which makes provision for associated structures and partitions.  

Floor-to-floor access. We will restrict the floor-to-floor ramps to either end of the ark to maximize the structural integrity in the mid section (no large cut-outs in deck). Ventilation would also be promoted - potentially running the length of the ark between the effective air shafts created by the open ramp areas. These ramps would be used for transport of major loads only. Elsewhere, human access would require no more than stepladders or narrow stairs, through rather small (and structurally insignificant) penetrations in the decks. A reasonable ramp incline would be around 7.5 degrees. To ascend the 4.6m floor-to-floor elevation would require a horizontal run length of 12.5m. Applying a ramp width of 1.5m, and assuming the ramp zone has no storage capacity, the total air volume is: 4 x 1.5 x 12.5 x (13.7-1.2) = 933m3.    

Passageways. Taking an alley width of 1.5m (Woodmorappe (2) p16), a height of 2.5m and assuming 3 passageways running longitudinally requires 1.5 x 2.5 x 3 x (137-0.6-(2*12.5)) = 1255m3. In addition, these corridors would require adjoining walkways. With a ceiling height of around 4m, the upper 1.5m is used for storage. (eg water skins draining directly to animals). These additional access routes might increase the passageway volume by 50%, to 1880m3.

Dimensions. Hong's derivation of gross ark volume uses rounded figures. An exact calculation gives 43 006, or a displacement of 21 500 tonnes. This is an approximate figure depending on the defined cubit.

 

Cargo

Mass

Tonnes

S.G

Volume

m3

Volume

%

Comments  

GROSS ARK

21 500

0.5

43 006

100 %

Based on 0.4572m cubit and 15 cubit draft. 500 tonnes above Hong et al (1) 

Hull

( 5 333 )

0.8

( 6 667 )

16 %

Wood density increased from 600 to 800 kg/m3. Volume from Hong et al (1)

Water

( 2 000 )

1

( 2 000 )

5 %

Reduced from Woodmorappe's 4070 tonne full year supply

Dry food (grain)

( 2 400 )

0.5

( 4 800 )

11 %

80% grain based (Woodm p98), density 500kg/m3 (compare 680 p19) 

Dry food (hay)

( 600 )

0.18

( 3 333 )

8 %

20% hay based - at x2 compression (Woodm p98)

Enclosures

( 4 000 )

0.8

( 5 000 )

12 %

Timber volume ONLY - not including animal space. 

Ramps

( 200 )

0

(  933 )

2 % Four 12.5m long ramps between deck levels

Passages

( 200 )

0

( 1 880 )

4 % 3 passageways running longwise on each level

Animals

(  400 )

0.022

( 18 393 )

43 %

Biomass Density = 400 / 18393 = 22 kg/m3

SPARE

6 366

NA

0

0

Spare weight, but no spare room.

Table 3c: Mass and Volume Tally of Ark Contents

 

In the above table each cargo group is subtracted from the gross tonnage and volume of the ark. Animals are listed last to fit them into the remaining volume. The 18 400 cubic metres houses 400 tonnes of animals at an average density of 22kg/m3. Woodmorappe (2) cites poultry at over 16kg/m3 and piggeries in excess of 37kg/m3 (p 83). However, to arrive at a bio-heating figure of a mere 5.58kg/m3 Woodmorappe (2) was restricting heat producing biomass (241 tonnes p 39) and spread them over the entire gross volume (43,200m3, p 83).

Contents

 


 

 

5. References   

  1. "Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway"  first published in Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 8(1):26–35, 1994; by S.W. Hong, S.S. Na, B.S. Hyun, S.Y. Hong, D.S. Gong, K.J. Kang, S.H. Suh, K.H. Lee, and Y.G. Je. 

  2. "NOAH'S ARK: A Feasibility Study"; John Woodmorappe, ICR 1996.

  3. "Principles of naval Architecture" Vol 1, Chapter 1 Section 8; SNAME 1988

Contents