Scientists explain parting of Red Sea

One of the most dramatic episodes in the Old Testament, the parting of the Red Sea, may actually have happened, research has shown – although the event described in the Book of Exodus was more likely caused by freak weather conditions than the hand of Jehovah.

Computer modelling suggests that a powerful wind – an east wind of 63mph blowing for 12 hours – could have divided the six-foot-deep waters just as depicted in the biblical story that has mystified scholars and inspired Hollywood film epics.

For four hours, this would have created a land bridge two miles long and three miles wide.

The likely location of the "miracle" was not the Red Sea, but a nearby spot in the Nile Delta, according to researchers at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder. The findings are published in the online journal PLoS One.