"And our models show that there was also a cold snap at that time, which lasted a few days and drastically lowered the temperature."
The two factors froze patches of the lake surface that were not salty, Nof speculated.
"Our models show a strong probability that around 2,400 and 2,600 years ago, there were at least three or maybe four such cold snaps," he added.
"The paper does a thorough job explaining the science behind the springs ice and the probability of such a rare event occurring in the recent past," said Susan Lozier, a physical oceanographer at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
"It is possible to have ice next to open water."
Other experts are skeptical and point to contradictions in both the science and the biblical account. (Explore a newly revealed "lost gospel.")
"The Bible I consulted refers to the fishermen in a boat and 'strong headwinds' and 'waves,'" said Kevin Trenberth, who heads the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
"The boat drifted several hundred yards out and tossed in the waves and wind. So the presence of [the] boat strongly suggests there was no ice."
"The arguments seem bogus," he added. "They require almost no wind and no mixing for their mechanism to work, but then they cannot get the cooling they require."
"By the way," Trenberth added, "the Bible also says Peter got out of the boat and walked on water but then sank. Where did the ice go all of a sudden?"
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