Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where Would Mediterranean Seeds Grow Abundantly? Part I

Nephi records that when they left Jerusalem, Lehi took his family, tents and provisions before departing into the wilderness (1 Nephi 2:4). Later we find that the party had gathered together seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind,and also of fruit of every kind (1 Nephi 8:1). After reaching the Land of Promise, the Lehi colony began to till the earth, and began to plant seeds; “yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 18:24). These Mediterranean seeds grew exceedingly and the colony was blessed with an abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24). A second planting resulted in the same abundance (2 Nephi 5:11).

Where Would Mediterranean Seeds Grow?

Bringing seeds from the area of Jerusalem to be planted in the new world was an act that Nephi was commanded to do—it was to be their staple, their initial means of existence in a new land. In 1620, over 2100 years after the Lehi Colony, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and were nearly wiped out from starvation when their seeds, brought from a different climate, did not grow sufficiently to harvest crops. Had it not been for the gift of the Indians, the Pilgrims would have died out, unable to support themselves from the seeds they had brought from Europe. Thus, it should be kept in mind that seeds do not grow just anywhere, especially, as Nephi stated, exceedingly (1 Nephi 18:24) and in abundance (2 Nephi 5:11). It might be well, therefore, to take a look at the climate, temperature and soils in which the Jerusalem seeds would have grown exceedingly, giving the Lehi Colony food in abundance.

Climate of Palestine: Palestine has a Mediterranean Sub-tropical climate. Outside the Mediterranean area, only four other places on earth have the same climate as that of Jerusalem. Those locations are: Southern California, Southern tip of Africa, Southern tips of Australia, and Chile around the 30º South Latitude. In addition, of these four areas, only Chile, matches all the requirements indicated by Nephi's account. The uniqueness of Chile around 30º South Latitude, is well known. This strip of Chilean land has, like Jerusalem, a Mediterranean Sub-tropical climate. But that is not all. Between Punta Lavapie (about 37º south latitude) and Tongoy (about 30º south latitude), Chile is unique in plant life, temperature, soil, soil group, and precipitation—all things that determine plant growth. Not only do these not match any other area in South or Central America, they match very few other places in the entire world.

Temperature: the mean annual temperature of this Chilean strip, like Jerusalem, is 60º to 70º F, which is also the temperature of southwest Australia and Southern Califonria. South of this Chilean strip, the temperature drops to a level of 50º to 60º F., and further south, to 40º to 50º F. North of this strip, the temperature climbs to 70º to 80º, as it does inland and throughout most of northern South America, Central America, and Mexico.

Soil: This Chilean strip, like Jerusalem, has the desertic soil of the arid climate, with shallow stony soils, sparsely covered, and is fertile when irrigated, and is appropriate for dry farming when not irrigated. This same soil is found all along the South American coast north of the Chilean strip. On the other hand, Central America has Latsolic soils of humid or wet temperature to dry tropical and subtropical climates, along with most of the South American interior, none of which would grow Mediterranean seeds.

In Part II of this comparison, further matches will be discussed.

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