Bible critics used to laugh at the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They claimed these cities never existed. Tablets from an ancient city named Ebla were excavated in 1975 (over 17,000 of them). They listed the names of many cities, Sodom and Gomorrah included. These tablets date to at least a couple of hundred years before Abraham (the man who witnessed the destruction of the cities of the plain). Not only did the cities exist, but they appear to have been destroyed in precisely the manner the Bible describes. Although the precise location of the cities is not known, the area to the south and east of the Dead Sea (where most believe the cities were found) has several locations where large cities were destroyed by intense fire. Earthquakes released large amounts of underground bitumen (petroleum-based substance like asphalt) which ignited by some means. Explosions then hurled this material into the air which landed on rooftops, destroying the structures. The ash and charcoal is several feet thick on the ground there and layers of rock are melted together. These cities were incinerated by a sulfurous, fiery substance (like brimstone?) falling from the sky. That’s exactly how the Bible describes it.
“The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,” by Bryant G. Wood, Bible and Spade, Summer 1999, pp. 67-80.