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Many challenges have hampered the project. Here we break them down.


  1. The Ark of Noah rests at ~15,500 feet above sea level (ASL).
  2. Guides cannot be trusted as they have been known to stop short of the site out of fear[1].
  3. The base of Mt. Ararat is in a desert climate zone, replete with venomous snakes.
  4. Areas around the site itself is regarded as holy, and has been historically guarded by tough armed Kurds.
  5. The mountain itself represents a signficant danger, as several-ton boulders regularly bounce down its treacherous slopes.
  6. Avalanches can be set off merely by conversation between hikers.
  7. The ascent requires expert-level mountaineering skills.

Wilflful Obfuscation of Imagery

Masked ne face.png

Some of the challenges have arisen from the NSA, which controls the satellite imagery data used by Google Earth / Digital Globe. In mid-2014, what had been previously visible was masked out as can be seen in the image on the right. Showing historical imagery did not reveal a clear image, but the obfuscation was not total and ennough relevant features can be seen for spatial correlation against ground-based imagery. Here's how (courtesy BSM Research Associates):

  1. Download and Open Google Earth
  2. Enter (copy-paste): 39°42'33.07" N / 44°18'1.26" E into the top-left corner location search (white space)
  3. Rotate Mt. Ararat using Google Earth top-right option so north is turned south
  4. Press Historical Imagery “round clock” (7 buttons from top-left)
  5. Top left slide appears....slide to 8/19/2009
  6. Zoom as close as desired
  8. See image processed scenes and videos of ship at: media:

Political Conflict

Mount Ararat stands within a politically volatile part of the globe in Turkey, flanked by Muslim and Christian Kurds, Christian Armenians, and Muslim Turks. The Kurds and Turks remain riled in a perpetual territorial conflict with Turkey.

To penetrate the area requires someone with deep and intimate knowledge of not only geological but political terrain.


  1. Cummings 1983