Annalee Newitz describes a study in Science that examines a semi-legendary flood at the dawn of Chinese civilization, which turns out to have been a real event: “Incredible discovery reveals the truth behind an ancient Chinese legend”.
Purdue geoscientist Darryl Granger, who worked with the research team in China, described the flood at a press conference earlier this week. The flood waters, he said, "reached up to 38 meters above the modern river level." We know that because the scientists found distinctive sediments released by the flood in the Jishi Gorge and elsewhere downriver. Knowing the water levels helped the group figure out the volume of water, which, Dr. Granger said, "tells us that the flood was [traveling] about 300 to 50,000 cubic meters per second... It's among the largest known floods to have happened on Earth during the past 10,000 years."