Mudflood Theory Part II: What To Look For

In this article, we will look at the results of the last potential mudflood, and what to look for when searching for evidence of these past events. As we move through the MFT series, we may find that mudfloods were far more common than we might have thought, and that buildings, past and present, accommodated for them both before and after the events.

After an event like a mudflood, there is always a flurry of innovations to counterbalance the immediate effects. It would be good practice to explore some of those innovations still in operation today. We will try to use this evidence to build a picture of when the last mudflood happened and in what regions it affected.

Something to bear in mind about this theory is that it suggests mudfloods are not singular events. They can affect a specific location as much as they can affect the entire realm.

We set out on our journey with some specific questions to answer:

When was the last mudflood?
Where was the last mudflood?
How deep was the last mudflood?

And most importantly:

Why isn’t the mudflood a commonly held theory?

What to look for

Now, let’s start looking for the signs of mudfloods in the innovations still in use today and the evidence left behind.

We start our adventure in Normandy, a French region bordering the English channel. There are several large towns and cities in the area. It would be worth watching this excellent photographic review, posted below, from the Autodidactic YouTube channel:

Hopefully, this video gives you an idea of what we are looking for when we refer to a mudflood. Continuing from this collection of images, we will take a quick glance at some of the images from the TB Archive. Here we can see clear evidence of submerged buildings. Many of them look designed and built with mudfloods in mind. They have layers circling the buildings that can be repurposed.

Now that we know what to look for and can identify some of the signs of a mudflood, let’s move on to the innovations that are still in use today that were installed directly after the mudflood. We will be looking at each of these amazing adaptations in depth in separate articles. But firstly, let’s look to the floor!

Imagine the last mudflood was around 6-10 feet in depth, for the sake of understanding this theory. If this were the case it would mean that most buildings would effectively lose their ground floor, raising the street level of the property’s first floor while lowering the ground floor to basement-level. Many of the homes affected would have cleared the mud from directly in front of the new basement window. This can be seen in the following pictures of a typical central London street. The first floor acts as the street entrance and a full window is below street level. During renovations, it is often found that properties have concealed windows in their basements.

Clearing the mud from every property would not have been a viable option, especially as we are currently led to believe that this epic task would have been performed by a horse, cart, and shovel! So other solutions had to be found and implemented.

This is where we introduce the first innovation.

Vault lights

Vault lights are reflective glass prisms that can bounce the sunlight from street level directly into the newly-formed basements below.

This was an ingenious solution. Instead of clearing tons of mud from the roads and buildings, it was possible to repurpose them instead. Fresh roads could be laid over the mud that now covered the original roads and waterways, and vault lights could be installed into the newly paved roads and walkways which would allow light to still illuminate the submerged floors below.

In some cases, two sets of vault lights were needed: one to illuminate the new basement and another to light the original basement, now two floors below. Was there a previous mudflood that had already employed vault lights? Or was the mudflood two floors deep in some places?

The vault light’s design is illustrated in the images below:

You can find these in every major city across the realm by simply looking down. Have you noticed? How many have you walked over?

See the article on vault lights HERE.

We know many cities in the United States have them such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle, as well as many others across the realm. London, Dublin, Amsterdam, and Toronto also have clear evidence of these vault lights. How many other places still have them?

Chemists use a mixture of silica and other elements to create vault lights. One of the stabilizing chemicals added to the glass is manganese dioxide, which photo-oxidizes when exposed to ultraviolet rays for long periods of time. This creates a purple or pinkish hue, as KQED reports. The coloured glass today is likely quite old or dyed to look like old glass.

Vault lights as seen from below in Seattle. (Photo: Britta Gustafson [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

Vault lights lost some of their utility with the re-introduction of electricity during the 1930s. As time moves on and more vault lights become damaged, instead of repairing and replacing them as originally intended, they are normally removed and replaced by pavement.

Vault lights
Old sidewalk prisms in an underground alleyway in Seattle. (Photo: Britta Gustafson [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

We will look at our next piece of evidence in the next article, part 3 of the MFT series:

Missed the MFT Part 1: Soil Liquefaction? Check it out:


The TB Community MFT Challenge

We will keep diving deeper in to this subject, but there are only so many places we can visit.

So, we need your help to collect evidence on mudfloods. If you find anything in your local area that you would like included in a future post we would love if you could send your photos to:

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