Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part I

When the Lord told Mosiah to leave the city of Nephi and take those who would go with him, we often think of this event surrounding only the immediate area of the city of Nephi; however, after 400 years in the Land of Promise, among a people who had been taught by Nephi to build great buildings, as evidenced by a temple like unto Solomon’s, and to work with all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores (2 Nephi 5:15), and also to construct a temple after the manner of the temple of Solomon (2 Nephi 5:16), one might conclude that the Nephites were not only capable of building, but would have done so.
    Obviously, it is only prudent to conclude that several other sites had been built during the four centuries the Nephites were in the Land of Nephi. This would have included the cities of Shemlon and Shilom (Mosiah 10:8; 11:12), but obviously many others, since two hundred years after arriving in the land, “the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land” and “they were scattered upon much of the face of the land” and they “multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land“ (Jarom 1:5-6,8).
    Whatever cities and settlements, villages and towns, the Nephites had built during that 400 years in the Land of Nephi, all would have been vacated and left behind when Mosiah, “being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness” (Omni 1:12).
    Now, since Nephi, when fleeing from his brothers and the sons of Ishmael first settled the land and built the City of Nephi, there would have been both ability and experience in such city and development building. It would only be a foregone conclusion that they built other cities. And since the Nephites were well aware of the nature of the Lamanites and their inherent interest in gaining control over the posterity of Lehi through the rights of Laman under the principle of the first born, or primogeniture, we can also conclude that these cities and settlements would have been defensible by the Nephites.
Map of the Urubamba Valley and the area of Cuzco and ancient road from there to Puno, now on the northwest shore of Lake Titicaca

To the north of the Valley of Cuzco, is the beautiful Urubamba Valley, known as El Valle Sagrado (the Sacred Valley), reached over a narrow road of hairpin turns to the ancient settlements of Pisac, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, and beyond, the famed Machu Picchu. How far in that direction the early Nephites would have built is unknown, for this was the land of Mormon’s Narrow Strip of Wilderness, running from east to west, eventually separating the Land of Nephi form the yet-to-be-discovered Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27).
    To the south of the area of Cuzco, the site of the city of Nephi as has previously been established via the scriptural record and the findings at Sacsayhuaman, overlooking Cuzco Valley, are numerous ancient settlement areas. One of which, twelve miles south and a little east of Cuzco, is the city of Tipón, which is a 500-acre complex located near Oropesa in the Community of Choquepeda, southeast of Cusco and along the Cuzco-Puno road. The ruins at an altitude of 11,318-feet are made up of gardens and temples, dating back to the 2nd century BC. The excellently preserved, wide terraces are made of red rock, with exactly twelve terraces that archaeologists believe may symbolize the twelve months of the year.
    Although in many Peruvian ruins there is evidence of irrigation channels and constructions, Tipón is one of the only places where the irrigation system is still fully functional, with water flowing all year round, even in the dry season. In fact, Tipón has been touted as a masterpiece of water management, and the American Society of Civil Engineers has put it on its list of International Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.
    The complex contains enclosures, terraces and an intact canal. The upper area is crossed by the Inca Trail with an irrigation canal, and is considered an engineering marvel. No doubt the area was an ancient “laboratory” of agricultural products because of the various micro-climates found within the complex. Today, Tipón is considered one of the 16 most important archaeological tours for tourists who visit the area, since it is not only an archaeological complex, the site is home to one of the largest irrigation works in the terraces and the decorative waterfalls connecting them, with a great distribution of outdoor water channels
The ancient terraced lands of the settlement of Tipón, about 12 miles southwest of Cuzco along the road from Puno to Cuzco, about 100 miles north of the La Raya Pass, and about 230 miles north of Puno at Lake Titicaca 

Today, the Tipón ruins cover an area of 591 acres of wide agricultural terraces irrigated by a network of water channels fed by a natural spring. Much has been excavated, however, far more has not with much visible beneath the soil. are located in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. This archeological complex, where water runs by carved stone canals, is located at a height of 3.560m (11,684ft) above the sea level.
    Along an ancient ten-foot wide road built of stones where it passed through Cuzco, or the City of Nephi, and walled on both sides as it traversed the slopes of a steep hill, it ran southward to Tipón. This ancient settlement, high in the mountain tops of the Valley, overlooking the Cuzco-Puno road thirty minutes from Cuzco, this citadel dates back thousands of years and is well hidden in the mountains. The beautiful sight of the well-preserved terracing, fountains and finely designed water channels of Tipón date back thousands of years and was constructed for agricultural purposes, with military structures and high, defensive walls about the city. The water channels feed the whole site with fresh water, harnessed from a natural spring near the top of the site, with some of the ancient aqueducts still in use today. Near the top is a small stone-built reservoir and though the ruins are not as extensive as other sites, they are beautifully designed architecturally—consisting of thirteen terraces flanked by polished stonewalls, enormous agricultural terraces, canals, and decorative waterfalls. 
    Every archaeological complex features well-built canals which channeled and distributed water throughout the settlement.  There are various baths and irrigation channels that still function today, providing the archaeological site with an endless stream of running water.  The outer wall at Tipón, measures 15 to 20 feet high and nearly four miles long, encircling the entire community.  This wall also provides evidence that a large labor force was once used, representing a major construction achievement in and of itself by a culture that long pre-dated the Inca. 
The terraces at Tipón, that contained remarkable fountains, walls, and structures

There is an extensive complex of ancient settlements built along the road from Puno at Lake Titicaca through the La Raya mountain range and through the pass called LaRaya, located about halfway from Puno to Cuzco. This complex includes the Pre-Inca, ancient Peruvian surprisingly well-preserved ruins of the early villages of Tipón, with its numerous irrigation terraces, Pikillacta, Huarcapay and the Wari ruins of Andahuaylillas, which is located on a nearby hill, not far from the ruins of Wiraqucha, all to the south of the Pass.
The Fortress of Tipon which overlooked and guarded the agricultural site and defensive walled city

To the north of the Tipón terraces there is a plant on a hill, which has its own water pipe, which brought the water from about ¾ of a mile away. The line is in operation, although not in the whole length from the source. It is interesting that visitors to the agricultural site have completely ignored the "Pucara de Tipón,” or “Fortress of Tipón,” a second site which is again almost as large as the plant of Tipón and a mile to the north of the mentioned water pipe, along with 24 more terraces.
(See the next post, “Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part II,” for more on the additional sites built by the Nephites to the south, between Cuzco (City of Nephi) and the area of Puno, which at one time would have been along the Sea East in the Land of Nephi)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding the once undiscovered canals of ancient Peru, but that now have been locate, we find that the cultures of northern Peru, including the great circuit from Piura to La Libertad passing through Amazonas and Cajamarca, are the location of the famous canals which archaeologists have long sought.
    In fact, scholars have hailed the discovery as adding a new dimension to understanding the origins of civilization in the Andes. The canals are seen as the long-sought proof that irrigation technology was critical to the development of the earliest Peruvian civilization, one of the few major cultures in the ancient world to rise independent of outside influence.
    Archaeologists always assumed that by 4,000 years ago, perhaps 1,000 years earlier, large-scale irrigation farming was well under way in Peru, as suggested by the indirect evidence of urban ruins of increasing size and architectural distinction. Their growth presumably depended on irrigation in the arid valleys and hills descending to coastal Peru. But the telling evidence of the canals had been missing.
Zaña Valley, about 35 miles inland from the Pacific and the area of Chiclayo in northwest Peru

Then Tom D. Dillehay, an archaeologist at Vanderbilt University, started nosing around the Zaña Valley, about 35 miles from the ocean and more than 300 miles north of Lima,in the Chiclayo area. Along the south side of the Valley is the Nanchoc River, which flows east to west into the Pacific, and on the south side of the river, Dillehay and his team uncovered traces of the four canals, narrow and shallow, lined with stones and pebbles, extending from less than a mile to more than two miles in length. The canals ran near remains of houses, buried agricultural furrows, stone hoes and charred plants, including cotton, wild plums, beans and squash.
    The initial discovery was made in 1989, but it took years of further excavations, radiocarbon dating and other analysis before Dr. Dillehay felt ready to announce the find. "We wanted to make sure that the dates were correct and to find more early canals," he stated, adding, "There are now four sites with canals and probably more.” Following his lengthy examination of the area, the canals, and the surrounding early settlements and their artifacts, Dillehay firmly stated that “The Zaña Valley canals are the earliest known in South America, and the earliest in the Americas." The authors of the journal article, Dillehay along with Herbert Eling of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico and Jack Rossen of Ithaca College, wrote that the system appeared to be a small-scale example of organized irrigation technology that "accompanied a mixed economy of incipient agriculturalists, plant collectors and hunters."
    He also suggested that these Peruvian canals compared to the early canals in the Old World that were simple gravitational contour canals, and did not run long distances and were built in areas where there was an easily managed water course.
Four levels of irrigation canals, one on top of the other, as uncovered by archaeologists in northwest Peru in the area of Zaña

Dillehay and his team reported the results obtained from several field seasons in the upper middle Zaña Valley for four super-imposed buried canals, garden plots, cultigens, and dating of canals and nearby residential sites. The upper canal is visible on the ground and radiocarbon dates this upper canal to about 1190 years before the present, or about 810 BC; however, the two lower canals that were buried by sediment layering were likely associated with nearby sites with architectural structures that are dated between 7,600 and 4,500 years before the present, or about 5,600 to 4,500 BC.
    These canals lie along the south side of the Ñanchoc River, which is an upper branch of the middle Zaña River, located about 35 miles east of the Pacific coast. The canals were built along the edge of an upper terrace above the lower bench, or terrace, of the stream, within 1½  miles to 2½ miles of the domestic dwellings, all sharing the same or similar stone tools, human burial patterns, house structures, dietary remains, and Carbon-14 dates.
    However, Dillehay reported finding no evidence of a centralized bureaucracy to manage the canals or mechanical devices to control flow rates. But the people of the valley understood elementary hydrology. They laid out the canals to use gravity to deliver river water down gentle slopes to the cultivated fields.
Above-ground gravity-flow irrigation channels are found all over the Andean areas of Peru and Ecuador with many still in use today

Craig Morris, a specialist in Peru archaeology at the American Museum of Natural History, who did not take part in the research, said, "Their use of slope and management of water flow shows again that ancient people were a lot smarter and more observant than we often give them credit for." Jonathan Haas, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in Chicago who has excavated urban sites elsewhere in Peru's coastal valleys, called the canal discovery "a difficult and brilliant piece of work."
    In their own excavations, Dr. Haas and Winifred Creamer of Northern Illinois University have uncovered remains of urban centers of a complex agricultural society that flourished 5,000 years ago in valleys in a region known as Norte Chico, or Little North. Such an arid region would have had to have irrigation to have agriculture, especially on an apparently large and prosperous scale.
    Dr. Haas said the new discovery appeared to show the early irrigation technology that the people of Norte Chico then adopted and expanded to "bring about a cultural transformation" 400 years later. It is not just that a single group or culture developed such irrigation techniques, but that they were scattered all over the Peruvian landscape, and varied in design according to the needs of a particular local.
The five-mile long ancient aqueduct at Cumbemayo about 12 miles southwest of Cajamarca at 11,000-feet elevation in north central Peru

As an example, the ancient people of Peru built water-moving and preserving technologies like the above-ground aqueducts at Cumbe Mayo (Cumbemayo) in the midst of a number of petroglyphs carved into rocks, and the stone mountain region called the “stone forest,” and the Moche, or the underground water system like those found of the Nazca, which were called Puquios, or the terraced gardens of the Huari.
The ingenious underground puquios irrigation system of the Nazca culture in southwest Peru

In fact, the Cumbemayo aqueducts at one time were thought to be the oldest in the Americas, dating to some time around 1500 BC, however, they have never been dated and may be older.
Left: layered aqueduct for a large amount of water being moved; Right: zig-zag flows carved into the bed rock to slow the flow of water so sediment will drop to the bottom and clean the water

In addition, Andean irrigation techniques included terracing of the hill and mountain sides to take advantage of additional planting space. Some of these terraces were quite steep and required workers to haul up stone to construct the retaining walls for each level, then haul up the soil to fill in the terraces, and finally haul up the seed and water for planting.
However, in doing so, the ancient Peruvians were able to adapt the steep land of the Andes Mountains for farming, including the Chavin, the Moche, and the Chachapoyas as well as numerous other groups who built terraces, or andenes, into the sides of hills. The andenes reduced soil erosion that would normally be high on a steep hill, and many of these terraces are still used today, which waters fields with a system of reservoirs and cisterns to collect water, which was then distributed by canals and ditches.
Terraced planting along the mountain side near Machu Picchu

The one thing that has always marked the Lord’s people is their extensive effort in the irrigation of lands, fostering the Biblical phrase of “Turning the desert into a rose,” in regard to making the Judean desert blossom, as well as so labeling that of the Saint’s work in the desert of Salt Lake Valley. Once again, in the Andean coastal deserts and the hills and Mountains with terraced irrigation both in the highlands and the lowlands, in remarkable ancient canals and channels, bringing water from the mountains to the water-starved lands below, especially along the coastal shelf.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the makeup of the early Peruvian northwest coastal area and the north central highlands and western slope of the Andes. In this area scientists have lately uncovered the oldest canals in the Americas.
    Anciently, the Lambayeque or Sicán, Moshica or Moche, and Chimú, flourished in Chiclayo, and during the later colonization period, it was the only indigenous Indian village on the road that connected Lambayeque and Zaña. Monesfu is a nearby settlement of Cliclayo where artisian artifacts have been located. The importance of this area is found in the fact that here were uncovered the oldest irrigation canals in the Americas.
    A team of researchers working in the Andean foothills of Peru have unearthed solid evidence of canals confirmed to be at least 5,400 years old. The find is the oldest of its kind anywhere in South America as well as the entire Americas. The canals range in size from half to 2½-miles in length and were designed to slope downwards, relying on gravity to send water from an upper stream to the crop fields below. The layout essentially created artificial garden plots with fertile earth suitable for intensive agriculture.
The Zaña Valley and the site of (yellow arrows) one of the underground canals built there and first unearthed by the archaeologists in 1989

Settled for millennia by indigenous inhabitants of ancient Peruvians, the Zaña Valley became a powerhouse for Spain’s conquistador’s thanks to the vast gold and silver deposits hidden in its surrounding hills “in such vast amounts beyond compare” that it drew pirates and treasure seekers for generations in the early days of the Spanish conquest. Over time, the city of Zaña would not only rise in economic import, but its political heads would establish it as the most important city on the northern coast, surpassing even Trujillo.
    In fact, Zaña was so popular in the 16th and 17th centuries that the Spanish were even considering making it the political capital of Peru, providing a possible alternative to the rich port city of Lima (La Cuidad de los Reyes: “the City of Kings”). By the late 1680s, a little over one hundred years after the founding of the city, it was on the cusp of becoming one of the most important cities in the New World, and it wasn’t just the Spanish that started to become interested in Zaña’s wealth. In 1686, the infamous buccaneer, Edward Davis (Davies), the English pirate who led successful raids against Leon and Panama as well several coastal cities along Peru and Chile, with his attack on Panama in 1685, considered one of the last major buccaneer raids against a Spanish stronghold.
    The following year Davis led a raid on Zaña taking the inhabitants unaware and sacking the opulent city, making off with all possible forms of wealth and trade goods. Recovering, Zaña was in the process of rebuilding from multiple pirate attacks in the early 1700s when disaster struck again in the form of mother nature, with torrential rains beginning in the early part of 1720 that finally led to the rising of the Zaña River and the eventual flooding and destruction of the entire city on the 15th of March of that year.
Zaña River and Valley where the underground irrigation canals have been located

The important agricultural Zaña Valley in which the city sits, is an archaeological area in northern Peru, inland between the rich marine waters of the Pacific Ocean to its west and the highland Andes Mountains to its east. It is also situated between the fertile Jequetepeque and Lambayeque river valleys, making it a perfect intermediary for trade routes throughout northern Peru. It also sits in the rich, fertile Zaña River Valley, which was capable of producing high-yield crops of maize, fruit, and other important commodities that contains the earliest known canals in South America, which were constructed during or before the aceramic or preceramic period, when the early Peruvians were using bark, basketry, gourds or leather for containers. The valley is located southeast of the city of Chicalayo. The Zaña River is currently dry most of the year, but occasionally it has devastating torrential flows.
AMS dating for archaeology and geology involves accelerating the ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies followed by mass analysis, which is more expensive than radiometric dating, but has higher precision and needs only a small sample sizes

Though the aceramic period ended in Peru sometime prior to 1800 BC according to archaeologists, these canals are believed to have been constructed around 4,500 years ago (2500 BC). In fact, Accelerator Mass Spectrometer dating of aggregate flecks of charcoal from the oldest canal have been dated to 6705 + 75 14C. In fact, a decade of intermittent archaeological research in the upper Zaña Valley has documented an intensive Middle Preceramic period (6000—4200 BC) occupation in the tropical-forest and thorn-forest ecotone on the western Andean slopes. This research has revealed one stratified nonresidential site (Cementerio de Nanchoc), characterized by dual earth mounds, and a complex of small, preceramic residential sites in the Nanchoc branch of the valley. 
    Evidence recovered from residential sites shows that non-specialized hunters and gathers lived in scattered households located along small streams in alluvial fans above the valley floor, with stone tool lithic technology and a diversified ground-stone technology attest to an economy primarily adapted to plant resources. The preceramic culture of the upper Zaña Valley is interpreted as a local manifestation of an early western-slope-forest cultural tradition associated with the development of a specialized public precinct and the adoption and intensification of agriculture (Tom D. Dillehay, Patricia J. Netherly and Jack Rossen, “Middle Preceramic Public and Residential Sites on the Forested Slope of the Western Andes, Northern Peru,” Cambridge Core, vol.54, Is.4, Cambridge University Press, October 1989, pp733-759).
    In addition, anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tom Dillehay, the Rebecca Webb Wilson University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Religion, and Culture, and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Professor Extraordinaire and Honorary Doctorate at the Universidad Austral de Chile, along with his colleagues found canals dating back over 5,400 years in Peru's upper middle Zaña Valley, about 35 miles east of the Pacific coast (Tom D. Dillehay, et al., “Preceramic Irrigation Canals in the Peruvian Andes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, vol.102, no.47, 2005, pp17241–17244).
    According to John Noble Wilford of the New York Times (January 2006), “evidence found shows that these canals watered ancient Peru, and are the earliest known irrigated agriculture in the Americas.” An analysis of four derelict canals, filled with silt and buried deep under sediments, showed that they were used to water cultivated fields 5,400 years ago, in one case possibly as early as 6,700 years ago, archaeologists reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In fact, long before the Inca, the Wari and Tiwanaku cultures rule the Andes, and long before them were the Caral, or Norte Chico. In fact, the Caral are one of the oldest civilizations in ancient northern Peru who were known for their monumental architecture, including large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas, with an urban complex of more than 150 acres, and at its peak, approximately 3,000 people occupied the area. About 1000 years after the decline of the Caral, the Chavín rose in the late BC period, especially in the Mosna River Valley. It might be noted that around 500 BC, significant increases in population, the introduction of the llama, major building occurred, and an increase in cross-cultural trade took place. Between 400 and 200 BC, the Chavín population great substantially and more urban forms of settlement appeared. Specialized pottery showed up , indicating local production and probably an increase level of agricultural surplus.
    The unique geography of the Chavín site—near two rivers and also near high mountain valleys—allowed its residents to grow both maize, which thrived in the lowlands of the river valley, and potatoes, which grew best in the higher altitudes of the Andes Mountains. The settlement pattern of larger villages in the lowland regions surrounded by smaller satellite villages in the highlands might have been a way to take advantage of these diverse agricultural opportunities through specialized production.
    Along with maize and potatoes, the Chavín also grew the grain quinoa and built irrigation systems to water these crops. They used domesticated llamas as pack animals to transport goods and as a source of food. A common method of preserving llama meat was drying it into what later Andean people called ch’arki—the origin of the word jerky! In addition, the design of the Chavín de Huántar temple shows advanced building techniques that were adapted to the highland environment of Peru, and an understanding of astronomy, metallurgy, sculpture, pottery and a high level of art. To avoid flooding and the destruction of the temple during the rainy season, the Chavín created a drainage system with canals under the temple structure.
(See the next post, “Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part III, regarding the famed canals of Ancient Peru that were once undiscovered, but now have been located)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part I

It has always been understood in anthropology and archaeology that using irrigation to grow crops rather than harvesting plants in naturally moist areas was one of the signs of a civilized and complex society. However, according to Anthropologists who had always thought early Andean civilizations built canals, they had never been able to find concrete evidence of such canals because it was believed they were later destroyed through social development. Until now. Recent discoveries of canals in the Peruvian Andes shows early civilization there had irrigation technology for intensive agriculture.
In the Andean foothills of Peru, not far from the Pacific coast, and just inland and to the south of bustling Chiclayo lies the reputed “ghost town” of Zaña (La Villa de Santiago de Miraflores de Zaña). Tucked in a fertile agricultural valley, the tiny town teems with ruins from a bygone era that was full of power and intrigue, as well as tragedy and destruction, dating back to Peru’s colonial era—and to the astonishment of the few travelers drawn there for the ghostly ruined shells of convents and cloisters—a whole host of current residents whose roots trace back hundreds of years, to a generation of Zaña’s whose spirit couldn’t be dominated by marauding pirates, conquistadors, or raging floods.
    This region of northwest and north central Peru consists of the Lambayeque, La Libertad, and Ancash Districts, and stretches from the coast inland as far as the Chachapoyas District, the home of the Chachapoyas Culture, “the Warriors of the clouds,” or Cloud People. They lived as early as 200 BC in the cloud forests of the Amazonas along the eastern slopes of the Andes in a triangular region formed by the confluence of the Marañón and the Utcubamba rivers where the Gran Pajatén is located.
Valley of the Marañón River between Chachapoyas and Celendín, which was the center of the Chachapoyas Culture within the Utcubamba River basin and basically isolated from the coast and other areas of Peru

The latter being a 20,000 square-mile area around the Montecristo River valley and consisting of a series of at least 26 circular stone structures atop numerous terraces and stairways on a hilltop overlooking the river.
    One of the first cultures to occupy this northwestern coastal region of Peru was the Chavín, though their major settlement was at Chavín de Huantar, which was to the southeast of this northwestern coastal region, their influence (settlements) reached as far north as the northern Andes. The Chavín date to around 1000 BC, and while a fairly large population was based on an agricultural economy, the city's location at the headwaters of the Marañón River, between the coast and the jungle, made it an ideal location for the dissemination and collection of both ideas and material goods. According to Yale University anthropologist, Richard L. Burger, the Chavin center served as a gathering place for people of the region to come together and worship ("Chavin de Huantar and its Sphere of Influence,” Handbook of South American Archeology, ed. H. Silverman and W. Isbell. Springer, New York, pp681-706).
    The Chavín were followed by the Moche (Mochica), who occupied the area from about 100 AD, more than 1200-years before the Inca. Following the Moche were the Sicán (or Lambayeque) cultures—though numerous archaeologists believe the Sicán and the Moche were the continuation of the same culture).
Northwest and north central Peru and the various settlements and cities of the ancient Peruvians

The Moche civilization occupied a territory that spanned much of what is now the northern coast of Peru, encompassing what is today the coastal area of the departments of Ancash, Lambayeque and La Libertad. This civilization developed a broad knowledge of hydraulic engineering, with its people constructing canals to create an irrigation system to support agriculture. The Sican culture formed towards the end of the Moche civilization and assimilated much of the Moche knowledge and cultural traditions. At its peak, it extended over almost the entire Peruvian coast—inhabiting a territory near the La leche and Lambayeque Rivers, and span the Lambayeque region, including the Motupe, La Leche, Lambayeque, and Zaña valleys, near modern-day Chiclayo. The Sican excelled in architecture, alloy smelting and metallurgy, jewelry and navigation in a drought-and-flood cycled region as recorded over the past 1,500 years. The development and artifacts of the Sicán resemble that of the Cajamarca, Wari and Pachacamac cultures.
    The Northern Wari followed, settling throughout the central highlands of Peru and as far west at Chiclayo. While the Wari civilization was predominantly based in south central Peru and known for having constructed a network of roads, with a territory nearly as large as that of the later Inca, the Wari of northern Peru represent the first evidence of Wari influence found in that region and by their quality and extent of construction there stretching over a 3-mile-area, show this was an important site located 14 miles from Chiclayo.
    The Wari built an extensive network of roadways linking provincial cities, as well as the construction of complex, characteristic architecture in its major centers, some of which were quite extensive. Several ancient Wari sites have been uncovered, including the Cerro Pátapo ruins by archaeologist Cesar Soriano Rios, of the Archaeological Peruvian Andes Research Foundation, and remains of an entire prehistoric city relatively near Chiclayo dating to around 350 AD, covering an area along the coast and reaching to the highlands. These northern Wari ruins are considered separate from the Wari ruins in the Ayacucho Region to the south.
The Moche, Jequetepeque, Lambayeque Valleys and the Pampa Grande areas within the northwest and north central Peruvian coast and the Andes

In addition, the Chimú followed the Moche along the coast, in the Moche Valley as far north as Trujillo, and at its peak, The Chimú not only ruled in Chan Chan, as well as Farfán, but expanded to include a vast area and many different ethnic groups, advancing to the limits of the desert coast to the valley of the Jequetepeque River in the north, with the Pampa Grande in the Lambayeque Valley also being ruled by the Chimú.
    Chiclayo, is located 95-feet above sea level near the coast of northern Peru, in a productive valley of strong agriculture, where the people exported their produce and products via the port of Pimentel on the coast. The location is well known for its archaeological sites, such as Tucume, Batan Grande and Huaca Rajada (better known as Sipan). In 1987, in Huaca Rajada/Sipan, a Moche mausoleum was found of several Moche tombes at Huaca Rajada located near the town of Sipán. This town was located in the middle of the Lambayeque Valley, in the Zaña district in the northern part of Peru, close to the coast, about 20 miles east of the city of Chiclayo and about 30 miles away from Lambayaque.
    The most significant discovery at Sipan was the tomb of the El Señor de Sipan, the “Lord of Sipan,” who archaeologists have concluded was a royal ruler more than 1600 years ago. His clothes were embellished with jewels, gold, and silver, and the amount of treasure found in the tomb rivals that found in the tomb of King Tut, as noted by the National Geographic Magazine, in their feature article. he Huaca Rajada monument consists of two small adobe pyramids plus a low platform. The platform and one of the pyramids were built before 300 CE by the Moche; the second pyramid at Huaca Rajada was built by a later culture (“Tombs of the Lords of Sipan,” Current World Archeology, Issue35, Current Publishing, London, May 2009).
    This then, brings us to the canals and the important finds associated with them and the fact that they are the oldest irrigation canals built in the Americas.
(See the next post, “Peruvian Canals Most Ancient in New World – Part II, regarding the famed canals, which stood as a possibility in Peru for more than a hundred years as archaeologists searched high and low for them, have finally been located)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Change in Amazon Climate 2000 Years Ago – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding the development of the continent of South America, and specifically the current Amazonian Basin. Now, while archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, neotropical scientist, and, evidently, almost all scientists, regardless of their discipline, stumble when it comes to the age of the Brazilian Basin and surrounding basins being no older then 2000 years, the record they have uncovered suggests much the same thing—that is, 2000 years ago in the central South American continent something unusual took place.
    First of all, it should be noted that the Amazon Forest, contrary to popular belief, is highly susceptible to changes. According to a 30-year study, published in Science, provides the first solid evidence that drought caused massive carbon loss, mainly through kill trees. Professor Oliver Philips, from the University of Leeds, and the lead author of the research, notes that the team of 68 researchers across 13 countries and 40 institutions, noted that in normal years the forest absorbs nearly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, but the 2005 drought caused a loss of more than 3 billion tonnes, resulting in a total impact of 5 billion extra tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin

Analyzing data from 100,000 trees in 100 forest plots, the scientists found that a 100-millimeter, or 4-inch increase in water deficit triggered the loss of 2.7 tons of above-ground-forest carbon per hectare. Drought also affected the species composition of the forest. Some species, especially fast-growing, light-wooded trees, were particularly vulnerable to this reduced rainfall. As was stated, “The Amazon drought kills selectively and therefore may also alter species composition, pointing to potential consequences of future drought events on the biodiversity in the Amazon region (“Amazon Rainforest Carbon Sink Threatened by Drought,” Science Daily, Science News, University of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, March 9, 2009).
    With such susceptibility it is no wonder that when there was an environmental change about 2000 years ago recorded in the Amazonian biome that has led modern scientist studying the area to conclude that this event was the cause of the growing of the Amazon forest and the rainforest throughout the basin. As a matter of fact, according to an extensive report, resulting from a lengthy study of the Amazon Basin, John F. Carson and his team concluded that their work showed evidence “for forest expansion” over the existing savannas “2,000 years ago in northeast Bolivia,” which was their area of study of the Amazon Basin.
    Carson went on to say: “This study fundamentally changes our understanding of the magnitude and nature of pre-Columbian land use in the Amazon region.” They further concluded that prior to the growing of the forests, the land was covered with expanding savannas throughout central Brazil, and their belief that the presence of regionally extensive pre-Columbian geometric earthworks underlying the seasonal southern Amazonian rainforests was suggestive of large-scale historical deforestation by substantial populations.
One of the Ring Ditches uncovered when the forest trees were removed during deforestation. The start of the Amazon Forest is believed to  have begun around 2000 years ago

These earthworks, uncovered by modern deforestation, are thought to represent only a fraction of the total, which they claim lies undiscovered beneath the intact Seasonal Southern Amazonian Ranforests, a subregion of 621,371-million miles, which constitutes one-fifth of the Amazon basin. In addition, it is believed these findings show a predictable (latitude-dependent) pattern of vegetation dynamics following the end of the previous period.  And as Carson has readily proclaimed, “However, in many regions, a lack of appropriately scaled paleoecological data means that we have no paleoenvironmental context in which to place these societies and assess their environmental impacts.”
    While these and other scientists have predictably built a developing scenario for the region dating back thousands of years, the point is that whatever existed before, the land was considered a flat, low-lying plain within the huge Amazon Basin. Vegetation was limited, and there were no trees, which mark this area, according to them, since about 2000 years ago.
    Carson and his team went on to conclude that “Although there certainly exist cases in which forests and savannas have been stable over time, consideration of these dynamic environments is relevant.” They list two basic reason why this relevancy is claimed—first, “they represent ecotones or transition zones, where vegetation responses to climate fluctuations should be more pronounced,” and secondly, “these are regions where forests have expanded despite significant increases in human occupation, evidenced by charcoal particles in sedimentary records,” which obviously imply frequent fires during the period.   Thus it has been concluded that forest expansion occurred in response to changes in climate despite increased anthropogenic disturbance, and that the findings suggest a regional to continental process defined by limits of modern biomes.”
    The significance of this discovery of extensive geometric earthworks beneath apparently pristine rainforest across southern Amazonia has not only led to serious debate among scientists, but opened the door to other scenarios beyond the purview of today’s scientists. As an example when these scientists state: “Notably, changes in vegetation structure are typically accompanied by changes in floristic composition, soil fertility, and faunal distribution,” they are totally incapable of comparing that data against a different scenario than that of an existing landform, rather than to apply it against a newly arising landform. In both instances, the result applies, for an emerging landform from beneath the surface, especially if it was not very deeply submerged, would provide new growth, showing different or new floristic composition, vegetation structure and regeneration of plant species. In addition, where the species abundance would have been minimal before this time, the composition would have increased dramatically after the Basin rose and plants and life began to grow and develop under normal, but heightened circumstances.
    As an example, based upon differences between communities in equitability of abundance of species, we find that communities in salt marshes have species that are poor and characterized by a very skewed pattern in abundance, possibly owing to periodic disturbance by seawater. On the other hand, in structurally complex fen systems, species are rich and have a more even community abundance pattern, possibly owning to a fine partitioning of available niches.
Open Fenland, a natural marshy waterlogged, lowland habitat composed of tall grasses and sedge growing in shallow water and found mostly around the coast or near salt-water seas 

That is, the abrupt change from seawater to freshwater, from wet to dry, from sun-baked to shady beneath a growing canopy, all establish an environment where enormous growth occurs. It should also be noted that when species have a longevity in an undisturbed area, their number grows exponentially, dividing and subdividing into numerous groupings, with numerous differences that eventually lead to differing classifications. Where this division doesn’t take place, in disruptive, challenging environments, numbers remain low in species, though growth in numbers within the species still occurs. Thus studies show that hypothetical species abundance distributions illustrate the differences in species abundance distribution between, say a salt marsh where 15 species show quite unequal abundances and a fen system where the same number of individuals is distributed more equally over twice as many species (Wilco C. E. P. Verberk, Aquatic Ecologist, Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth, Nijmegen, Netherlands, in Explaining General Patterns in Species Abundance and Distributions, Scitable, Nature Education, vol.3, no.10, Nature Publishing Group, Springer, Germany, 2011, p38). 
    Two thousand years ago, according to the Disciple Nephi, the entire “face of the whole land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12), meaning the area of the Land of Promise and that area around it. Earthquakes rocked the Land of Promise for three hours (3 Nephi 8:19), in which “the whole earth became deformed” from “the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12,17). It was a horrendous event, the likes of which had never before been seen in the land (3 Nephi 8:5), with buildings toppling and land forms sinking, swallowing up entire cities (3 Nephi 8:14). At least one city sank into the depths of the sea, as the eastern shore disappeared, toppling the great city of Moroni into the ocean (3 Nephi 8:9), and also burying the cities of Onihah, Mocum and Jerusalem beneath the waters (3 Nephi 9:7). In yet another case the city of Moronihah was buried as the earth shot upward forming a mountain, completely covering the city beneath (3 Nephi 8:10), and also the city of Gilgal was buried in the depths of the earth (3 Nephi 9:6), as well as the cities of Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob, and Gimgimno were also buried in the earth (3 Nephi 9:8).
    In addition, fires ran rampant over the land, destroying the cities of Jacobugath, Josh Gad, and Kishkumen (3 Nephi 9:9-10). In fact, ranges of mountains shot upward during that three hours “whose height was great” (Helaman 14:23). Other existing mountains tumbled into pieces and the flat plains were broken up (1 Nephi 12:4), and the vast road system of the Nephites across the level plains were broken up (Helaman 14:24), as many areas were disrupted and broken up (1 Nephi 12:4; 3 Nephi 8:13), and “many great and notable cities” were sunk and others shaken till the buildings toppled and fell to the earth (3 Nephi 8:13).
    During this three hours of the earth shaking and trembling, “many mountains were laid low, like unto a valley” (Helaman 14:23), with the flattened earth, valleys and plains disrupted as “the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up” (Helaman 14:21), and “the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land (3 Nephi 8:18).
The immense Amazon Basin, covering 2.9 million square miles, where all rivers to the east of the continental divide along the crest of the Andes, flows to the east, with 1100 tributaries draining into the Amazon River 

This is when the Lord brought about the vast changes in the Land of Promise and the land about it, of which the prophets testified, causing the increased subduction of the tectonic plates, which elevated the central continental land, draining the inner seas, and lifting the Andes Belt upward and the mountains to great heights. This is when the immense Amazon Basin, once filled with the sea, upward, emerging above the waters, so that the vast Amazon forests grew, covering millions of square miles. This latter event, according to modern scientific studies as discussed in this three-part article, occurred about two thousand years ago. Some might call that a coincidence, while the rest of us call that planned and carried out by the Divine Hand.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Change in Amazon Climate 2000 Years Ago – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding the development of the continent of South America, and specifically the current Amazonian Basin. Also, looking at what climatologists and environmental scientists have learned about this Basin—which is about the size of the continental United States, and covers all or part of nine nations—and the appearance of the rain forest and current flora and fauna of the area.
    After all, one would think that if this area had been submerged for so long, then rose up inundated with moisture, rivers, swamps and the like, as well as annual floods lasting months, there would be some study of the area and why this area, called Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle today, is so different than most of the rest of South America.  
The Amazon Basin is within a very low-lying basin and is filled tributary rivers, plus numerous swamps, and boggy low-lands covering 1.7 billion acres, of which 1.4 billion acres are covered by the rainforest

While the Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, and it is the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world, it has always been considered void of human development—a pristine wilderness. Of this paradigm, neotropical scientist, John Francis Carson, has stated that “There is a polarized debate amongst Neotropical archaeologists and ecologists over the extent of Pre-Columbian anthropogenic environmental impacts in Amazonia.” As a result of findings of pre-Columbian occupation of the Amazon, Carson added, “The Bolivian Amazon has yielded some of the most impressive evidence for large and complex pre-Columbian societies in the Amazon basin, yet there remains relatively little data concerning the land use of these societies over time” (Carson, vol.25, Is.8, pp1285-1300).
    In fact, Charles C. Mann, the author of 1491, states: “For years the standard view of North America before Columbus's arrival was as a vast, grassy expanse teeming with game and all but empty of people. Those who did live here were nomads who left few marks on the land. South America, too, or at least the Amazon rain forest, was thought of as almost an untouched Eden, now suffering from modern depredations.”
    Currently, however, a growing number of anthropologists and archaeologists now believe that the image of this old paradigm is basically false. Mann goes on to suggest that “the Western Hemisphere before Columbus' arrival was well-populated and dotted with impressive cities and towns—one scholar estimated that it held ninety to 112 million people, more than lived in Europe at the time—and Indians had transformed vast swaths of landscape to meet their agricultural needs.“
    It is currently postulated that such Indians used fire to create the Midwestern prairie, perfect for herds of buffalo; and that they also cultivated at least part of the rain forest, living on crops of fruits and nuts. The Amazonian wilderness, which was always believed to have been untouched by the hand of man, has now been found to have an increasing number of archaeological sites across the Amazon basin as evidence for large, complex societies, supported by intensive agriculture and management of forest and aquatic resources (Katie Bacon, “The Pristine Myth,” The Atlantic, Boston, March 2002).
More than 1100 tributory rivers, such as this one shown above, flow into the Amazon on its way from the high Andes in Peru to the Atlantic Ocean between the Brazilian and Guiana cratons along its 4,345-mile length

According to John Francis Carson, “The long and continuous occupation, which predates the establishment of rainforest in the region, suggests that pre-Columbian land use may have had a significant influence on ecosystem development at this site” (John F. Carson, Jennifer Watling, and Francis E. Mayle, “Pre-Columbian Land Use in the Ring-Ditch Region of the Bolivian Amazon,” The Holocene, SAGE Journals, Washington DC, May 1, 2015).
    What few mention is that this discovery of pre-Columbian occupation of the Amazon Basin dates only to about 2000 years ago. In fact, other studies have shown that a natural shift to wetter climatic conditions could have converted Amazon grasslands into rainforest around 2,000 years ago (Alaister Doyle, Amazon rainforest grew after climate change 2,000 years ago,” Reuters, Oslo, Sweden, July 7, 2014). To this, Carson added: “Other aspects of pre-Columbian cultures, such as their chronology, land use practices and subsistence strategies, are also poorly understood.” He and his team used palaeoecological methods to improve their understanding of the scale, nature, and legacy of land use associated with pre-Columbian geometric earthwork cultures in north-east Bolivia (J.F. Carson, “Pre-Columbian Land Use and Human Impact in the Bolivian Amazon,” University of Edinburgh Press, Scotland, June 30, 2014, pp1285-1300)
In the southwestern corner of the Amazon Basin, the Llanos de Moxos, a grassland that cover a 48,700-square-mile region in the lowlands of northern Bolivia, with portions in Brazil and eastern Peru, is flooded seasonally each year

The Llanos de Moxos, also known as the Beni Savanna or Moxos Plains, is one of the largest seasonally flooded wetland areas in South America, and is located in a tropical savanna ecoregion of northern Bolivia. This region occupies the southwestern corner of the Amazon Basin, and is crossed by numerous rivers that drain the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. While surrounded by Amazon tropical moist broadleaf forests to the north, west and south, and the Madeira-Tapajós moist forest to the east, this low relief of the savannas, coupled with wet season rains between 51-inches in the east to 79-inches annually in the west, and snowmelt from the Andes, cause up to half the land to flood seasonally.
    While the Madeira-Tapajós is in the area of the Brazilian Mato Grosso (“thick bushes”), which is an entire state of flat landscape, alternating great chapadas, or plateaus, and grass-covered open pasture plains, or pantanals that are defined by seasonal inundation and desiccation. The region of the Amazon Rain Forest comprises a mosaic of savannas and wetlands, with islands of forest and gallery forests along rivers, and forest islands rising above surrounding swamps, while canals and causeways once connected areas of human settlement, radiating outwards from large mounds. Ring-ditches were found in many areas, circling areas of human settlements. This entire area is believed to have  been the setting for many complex pre-Columbian societies, many of which constructed agricultural earthworks including raised fields for agriculture.
    In fact a 31,000-square-mile swath of savanna has been identified as having raised fields which were used for agriculture—the dating of which is difficult to pinpoint because these archaeological remains have not preserved well in the tropics, but it is believed to be in the last century BC to about 1400 AD.
    However, disagreements about the anthropogenic origin of many of the earthworks in the Llanos de Moxos persist, authorities disagree on the number and social complexity of the people who constructed the earthworks, some postulating a large population, others a small population which built the earthworks over a long period of time. Stonework, characteristic of the highland civilization west of the Llanos, was not a feature because there was no surface stone in the area (Clark L. Erickson, "Lomas de ocupacion en los Llanos de Moxos," Arqueologia de las Tierras Bajas edited by Alicia Duran Coirolo and Roberto Bracco Boksar,, Uruguay: Comision Nacional de Arqueologia, 2000, pp207-226).
    The point is, Carson and his team tested the assumptions about the Amazon Basin using coupled local- and regional-scale paleoecological records to reconstruct land use on an earthwork site in northeast Bolivia within the context of regional, climate-driven biome changes. This approach revealed evidence for an alternative scenario of Amazonian land use, which did not necessitate labor-intensive rainforest clearance for earthwork construction. Instead, it showed that the inhabitants exploited a naturally open savanna landscape that they maintained around their settlement despite the climatically driven rainforest expansion that began 2,000 years ago across the region.
The area of Itenez Province and the Llanos de Moxos in Bolivia and the overall Rainforest of the Amazon Basin

Their study was conducted in Iténez province  in the Beni Department of northeast Bolivia at the geologically defined boundary between the terra firme (nonflooded undulating hills) humid evergreen rainforest on the uplands of the pre-Cambrian Shield and the seasonally flooded savannas of the adjacent Beni sedimentary basin. This is where the earthwork construction and agriculture on terra firme landscapes currently occupied by the seasonal rainforests of southern Amazonia may not have necessitated large-scale deforestation using stone tools. This finding implies far less labor—and potentially lower population density—than previously supposed. Their findings demonstrated that current debates over the magnitude and nature of pre-Columbian Amazonian land use, and its impact on global biogeochemical cycling, are potentially flawed because they do not consider this land use in the context of climate-driven forest–savanna biome shifts through the ages.
    This, then, brings us to the point regarding when the Amazon Basin rose and the forests began.
(See the next post, “Change in Amazon Climate 2000 Years Ago – Part III, regarding what climatologists and environmental scientists have learned about the Amazon Basin and the appearance of the rain forest and current flora and fauna of the area)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Change in Amazon Climate 2000 Years Ago – Part I

About two-thousand years ago, the disciple Nephi wrote “in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such a one as never had been known in all the land. And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder” (3 Nephi 8:5-6). He then followed with a detailed description of the terrible destruction that occurred throughout the Land Southward of the Land of Promise, adding, “But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12).
    It has been claimed in this blog, that at this time, what is now the great continent of South America, then mostly submerged beneath the sea, was lifted upward by the colliding of the two tectonic plates—the Nazca Plate and the South America Plate—in which the Nazca Plate subducted beneath the South America Plate along the Pacific Ocean basin off the coast of South America. This ongoing subduction, along the Peru-Chile Trench not only lifted the Andes Mountains thousands of feet upward, as geologists claim, but also tilted the western half of what is now the known continent along a north-south line as the entire South American Plate rose upward over the subducting Nazca Plate.
Peru-Chile (Atacama) Trench in Richards Deep in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America

This converging boundary, or meeting of the two plates, forced the western rim of the continental South American Plate upward, over the subducting (downward) eastern edge of the oceanic Nazca Plate, forming the forty-mile-wide Peru-Chile Trench, which is about one-hundred miles off the coast of Peru and Chile, reaching a maximum depth of 26,460 feet and running north to south about 3,666 miles in length.
    This trench is the result of a convergent boundary, where the eastern edge of the oceanic Nazca Plate is being driven beneath the continental South American Plate, and delineates the boundary between the subducting and overriding plates, with two seamount ridges, the Nazca Ridge and the Juan Fernández Ridge entering the subduction zone along the trench. In addition, the Peru–Chile Trench, the forearc –the region between the trench and the volcanic arc—and the western edge of the central Andean plateau, or Altiplano, delineate the dramatic "Bolivian Orocline" that defines the Andean slope of southern Peru, northern Chile, and Bolivia.
    Speaking of this subduction and its effects, Dr. Margaret A. Reitz of the Department of Geological Sciences, New York College at Geneseo, states: “The association between forearc basins and slip during subduction thrust earthquakes suggests a link between processes controlling upper plate structure and seismic coupling on the subduction-zone thrust fault” (The Structural evolution of the Calabrian Forearc, Research Gate, Berlin, February 2016). 
     Scientist of Geophysics, Dr. Orlando Alvarez, at the National University of San Juan’s Institute of Geological Seismology, says that the properties of the lower plate were main factors for controlling seismogenic behavior at the plate interface, and particularly the structure of the continental crustal thickness and the state and properties of the mantle wedge beneath the crustal forearc were identified to be important parameters between the upper and lower plates, for the extent of the seismogenic zone, and finally for the occurrence of large earthquakes (Tectonics of the Argentine and Chilean Andes, Research Gate, Berlin Germany, January 2015). Agreeing with this, is hydrologist Christopher W. Fuller, who states: “Due to tectonic stresses as one tectonic plate rides over another, forearc regions are sources for great thrust earthquakes (ColinW. Fuller, et al., "Formation of Forearc Basins and their Influence on Subduction Zone Earthquakes,” Geological Society of America, Geologic Survey of America, vol.34, U.S. Government Agency, 2006, pp65–68).
The Volcanic Arc System of tectonic components in plate tectonics, which is the theory that the outer rigid layer of the earth (the lithosphere) is divided into a couple of dozen "plates" that move around across the earth's surface relative to each other, like slabs of ice on a lake

This, then was obviously the cause of what the disciple Nephi describes in 3 Nephi 8. In fact, one can only wonder at the enormous magnitude of this disruption of the earth and landforms during this period when the normal longevity of such an event was increased by the Lord and folded into a three-hour time frame (3 Nephi 8:19).
    Now, having shown the accuracy of the uplifting event of the inner continental South America plate, we should be able to identify some of the effects of the two-thousand-year old rising of the continent. The first is that of the Amazon Basin, which was submerged before the uplift, flanked to the west by the raised Andean Shelf, and the east by both the Brazilian and Guiana Shields. To understand what happened in South America, especially for those who disregard the inner continental area rising above the surface during the Andean Uplift, such as John L. Sorenson who ridicules the idea of South America once being submerged and only an island appeared above the surface, it is important to recognize the geologic factors involved.
    So for those who may not understand the significant of a “craton,” which are generally found in the interiors of tectonic plates, and is the very old geologic formation at the core of the continent, and refers to an old and stable part of the continental lithosphere (the rigid outer part of the earth), consisting of the earth’s two topmost layers, the crust and the mantle. The term is used to distinguish the stable portion of the continental crust from regions that are more geologically active and unstable.
    In addition, cratons have thick lithospheric roots, which seismic waves (tomography) shows are underlain by anomalously cold mantle that is twice the typical 60-mile thickness of mature oceanic or non-cratonic, continental lithosphere.  At that depth, craton roots extend into the asthenosphere, and are distinctly different from oceanic lithosphere because cratons have a neutral or positive buoyancy, and a low intrinsic isopycnic density—which offsets density increasers due to geothermal contraction and prevents the craton from sinking into the deep mantle, while the buoyancy causes it to move toward the surface as it cools, though its roots are far into the asthenosphere.
    In addition, cratons are sometimes described as “shields,” in which the basement rock crops (appears) at the surface, and platforms, in which the basement is overlaid by sediments and sedimentary rock, emerges (there are several cratons in the world: the North American or Laurentia Craton, the North China Craton, the Sarmatian Craton in Russia and Ukraine, the Kaapvaal Craton in South Africa, and the Grawler Craton in South Australia).
The geologic makeup of the continental area of South America before the Andean Uplift, in which the Andes Mountains rose to their great height and the inner continental area was submerged, particularly the low-lying sediment basins

Thus, before the inner continent of South America rose during the Andean Uplift, these shields overriding areas of the craton below, were visible above the surface, and appeared in some cases as steep sided islands. It is these two in the east, the Guiana and Brazil shields, that were evidently seen by the Portuguese sailors who had been lost at sea far west of Africa in B.C. times.
    As can be seen, the Guyana Shield forms upon the northern Amazonian Craton, which is separated by the Amazon Basin between the Andean Foreland Basins and the Atlantic Ocean (Amazon River Mouth), and the Brazil Shield forms upon the southern Amazonian Craton. Both shields, or platforms, would have been visible above the surface anciently, before the Andean Uplift, as well as the Andean Belt area along most of the west coast of South America. Further along the east, the Sáo Francisco Craton is surrounded by the Brasiliano Belt. Now, except for small craton areas that may have grown into surfaced platforms, such as the Sao Louis, Rio Apa, La Plata, Luiz Alves, and the Sao Francisco, the vast area north of the Patgonian Platform and the south Chilean Islands, was a massive ara of low-lying, sedidment-filled areas called the Amazon, Chaco Basin, Paraná, Panaiba and Saolimōes basins.
    At the time Lehi arrived at Coquimbo Bay in central Chile, these basins were filled with seas named by geologists as the Amazon Sea, Pebasian Sea, Paranense Sea and the Paranan Sea, including the Amazon and Tethy Arms of these inner seas. When the Andean Uplift occurred, causing an upward tilt along what is now the eastern coastal area of South America, and the Forward and upward thrust along the west coastal area, pushing into the coast and uplifting the mountains, and the inner basins, these seas drained through the north, east, and south portals into what is now the Atlantic Ocean.
    Consequently, that brings us to the rising area now referred to as the Amazon Basin, an area about the size of the continental United States.
(See the next post, “Change in Amazon Climate 2000 Years Ago – Part II, regarding what climatologists and environmental scientists have learned about the Amazon Basin and the appearance of the rain forest and current flora and fauna of the area)