On Genesis, Part 29: The End of Sodom
As it is first recorded in Genesis chapter 18, Yahweh God had purposed to destroy Sodom for its sins, and when Abraham learned of that purpose, he plead for the Sodomites, having imagined that at least some of them were righteous, and he petitioned God on that basis, that the righteous not suffer for the sins of the wicked. So Abraham bargained with God, and asked him not to destroy the place for the benefit of fifty righteous men. When Yahweh agreed, he continued to bargain, all the way down to ten men, and Yahweh had nevertheless agreed, where it is recorded that He had said “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” With that the record of the exchange ends, and now here in Genesis chapter 19, we see that Yahweh did indeed destroy Sodom, permitting only Lot and his family any opportunity to escape. So evidently, there were not even ten righteous men among the Sodomites, and for that reason we described the altruism of Abraham as having been merely speculative, because Abraham imagined that a portion of them were righteous, but he had little direct experience to make any judgement in the matter.
The famous geographer of the early 1st century AD, Strabo of Cappadocia, did not work exclusively from first-hand accounts, but relied on the reports of others, especially of sailors and other travelers, since he probably could not have traveled by himself the entire broad world which he had labored to describe in writing, which had stretched from Britain and Ireland in the west to the Indus River in the east. He also frequently cited older writers, verifying or amending their descriptions of diverse places, and he mentioned many of those writers whose works are not lost. So, pertaining to Sodom, in the 16th book of his Geography he confused the Dead Sea with what the Greeks had called Lake Sirbonis, the Serbonian Bog on the Mediterranean coast west of Gaza which appeared to be more of a lake to early travelers.  But aside from that misidentification, which is evident where he named places such as Masada, he was clearly speaking of the Dead Sea. So he had described the asphalt produced by the lake, or sea, and the fires below the water which produced it , and then he wrote that:
Many other evidences are produced to show that the country is fiery; for near Moasada are to be seen rugged rocks that have been scorched, as also, in many places, fissures and ashy soil, and drops of pitch that emit foul odours to a great distance, and ruined settlements here and there; and therefore people believe the oft-repeated assertions of the local inhabitants, that there were once thirteen inhabited cities in that region of which Sodom was the metropolis, but that a circuit of about sixty stadia of that city escaped unharmed; and that by reason of earthquakes and of eruptions of fire and of hot waters containing asphalt and sulphur, the lake burst its bounds, and rocks were enveloped with fire; and, as for the cities, some were swallowed up and others were abandoned by such as were able to escape. But Eratosthenes says, on the contrary, that the country was a lake, and that most of it was uncovered by outbreaks, as was the case with the sea.