Comparing Images

“This is like finding a treasure map and not knowing how to get the treasure.”

That is how Mark Stettes, Villa Ridge, feels about a discovery he has made using Google Earth images of Mount Ararat in Turkey (near the borders with Iran and Armenia) and old eyewitness accounts of people who claimed to have seen Noah’s ark around 1900 and 1943.

Stettes knows his claim sounds outrageous to many people, and “I expect to get flack for this,” he told The Missourian.

“But I truly believe that is the ark. When you get on Google Earth and rotate the view from any angle, it still looks like a man-made structure,” said Stettes.

Now, he’s looking for anyone who shares his curiosity and passion to help him pursue this more to see if it could be the real deal.

Ideally Stettes said he would like to travel to Turkey and attempt to climb Mount Ararat to the location where he believes the ark is.

Interest Grew From Childhood

Stettes’ interest with Noah’s ark goes back to his childhood when his mom read a newspaper article about it.

“It said, ‘Noah’s Ark Sighted, See It Through the Ice,’ ” recalled Stettes. “It really got me interested, and I just followed it for years.”

He’s followed others search for the ark and watched any documentary he can on the subject. News organizations like National Geographic and CBS have researched the location of the ark, but in the end, never come to any definitive answer, said Stettes.

“By the end, you know about as much as you did at the beginning,” he remarked, noting the ark is a little like Big Foot that way. “It’s just a mystery.”

Over the years, Stettes, who works in lead paint and asbestos removal, has searched the Internet for new information about the ark. One day last summer it occurred to him that if the ark is located on Mount Ararat, as stated in the Bible, then it should be visible from Google Earth, so he decided to look.

What Eyewitnesses Say

Stettes has read eyewitness accounts of Noah’s ark from people like George Hagopian, an American who claims to have seen the ark in the early 1900s, when he was a young boy and, with his uncle, climbed Mount Ararat from the city of Van.

Hagopian, who claimed to have climbed up on the roof, described the ark as a rectangle-shaped ship, more like a barge, said Stettes.

“In the Bible it says it was 300 cubits long, and a cubit was supposed to have been about 18 inches, so about 450 feet long; 50 cubits wide, so 75 feet wide; and 30 cubits high,” he noted.

“It wasn’t pointed at the end. In the Bible it said to finish it within a cubit of the roof, and they don’t explain what that means, but all of these (eyewitness) descriptions have a ridge that runs down the roof . . . a raised catwalk-like thing with windows on the side, and that’s how the light got in,” said Stettes. “There was a door in the side, but once it was closed, there was no light except along this edge.”

Hagopian’s description places the structure “sticking out of the side of the mountain,” Stettes said, “not in the ice cap. It was on the side of the mountain. It mentions a horseshoe-shaped depression.”

That matches a description by Sgt. Ed Davis with the Army Corps of Engineers, who claims he saw the ark in 1943 when he was serving in World War II.

“He helped some villagers get water to their village, so they befriended him and took him up there,” said Stettes. “He said (the ark) was broken in two pieces, divided by about 1,000 feet, that you could see in both open ends . . . you could see three levels inside.

“The locals would go up there, like a tradition, it was just a part of their lives. They believed it was Noah’s ark.”

Another eyewitness account of the ark involves a Russian expedition up Mount Ararat in 1916. These men claimed to have taken photos and measurements of the structure they found, but after the Russian Revolution, all of that information disappeared, said Stettes.

Others have spotted objects from airplanes that looked like the ark, but again, no definitive proof has ever been found.

Looking at Mount Ararat in the region where Stettes believes the ark is located is telling as to why people could have been there once but not know how to get back a second time. It is a large and inhospitable mountain.

Stettes and others who search for the ark believe that it could still be found, that the wood would not have rotted, because it was protected.

“It’s supposed to be covered with pitch, like a black tar, inside and out to protect the wood,” said Stettes. “That’s what God instructed (Noah) to do. And it’s cold up there, so that protects the wood too.”

What He Sees on Google Earth

In reading these many eyewitness reports in books and online, Stettes was struck by a couple of things: That the ark was located on the northeast side of the mountain, not at the top, but a little ways down and on a ledge.

“So I just started searching,” he said, pulling up images of Mount Ararat on a computer.

“When I read the accounts of Ed Davis and George Hagopian, they didn’t talk about it being at the very top. They said they looked down on the ark, and if they looked down, it would have been lower.

“This is the Ahora Gorge, where they describe the ark. It’s on the northeast side of the mountain, so I rotated the mountain on Google Earth, zoomed in on the side, and I found it up in here,” said Stettes, as he enlarged the image more and more.

“You start to see it,” he said. “Here’s the ridge line and beams sticking out of the bottom. And this makes a horseshoe shape right here.”

The images are grainy and the “structures” that Stettes sees could be seen as shadows to someone else. He disagrees.

“It’s not a cave,” he said. “You are looking into the open end of (the ark). This is not a natural formation . . .

“This dark streak going back is that raised portion.”

Pulling out a page he photocopied from a book, “Noah’s Ark and the Ararat Adventure,” written by Dr. John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, Texas, Stettes points out the similarities between the images he found on Google Earth with a drawing based on Sgt. Davis’ eyewitness account and a photograph taken by another unidentified person.

“This is a photograph that was taken by someone who reached over a ledge, clicked their camera and didn’t even know they had this until they got back,” said Stettes.

“If this is the one half of the ark, and this is the other half, when he took the photo, he couldn’t see this, but these two lines are these two lines, which would mean that this half of the ark has something to do with this right here.

“The more I look at it, the more I’m convinced that I’ve found Noah’s ark,” said Stettes.

Stettes made this discovery last summer and since then has been sending his images to others who have visited Mount Ararat in search of the ark, including Dr. Morris, to get their reaction. So far, he hasn’t had any luck hearing back from any of them to say if they think his claim is credible or not.

Stettes also is trying to contact Ken Ham with the Creation Museum in Kentucky where a life-size replica of the ark is being built. He’s hopeful someone will help him in his quest to know the truth.

“I think it would be great if it was brought to light,” said Stettes.

He wonders if some people are reluctant to really search for the ark and find it because it would prove a story from the Bible as true, and “if this is true in the Bible, what else is true?”

Mark Stettes welcomes anyone who shares his desire to know the truth about Noah’s ark and follow his lead on the images he sees to contact him by email at