Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Island of South America Part IV

Continuing from the last three posts with the comments sent to me by a friend regarding statements made by a Baja Peninsula theorists, that modern-day cataclysms have not changed the face of the earth as Nephi described. The reason for this is simple, but first by way of review, the theorist cited the recent catastrophes of Mt. Saint Helens, San Francisco earthquake, New Orleans hurricane, Indonesia tsunami, Krakatoa, etc. See the last post for information on these catastrophes—specifically how long each lasted.

Mr. Saint Helens – 4 minutes
San Francisco Earthquake – 1 minute
New Orleans Hurricane – storm 1 ½ hours
Galveston Hurricane – 1 hour 20 minutes
Indonesia Tsunami – Earthquake 3 to 4 minutes
Krakatoa Earthquake – there were three separate, major eruptions over a 10 hours period. Each actual eruption lasted a few minutes

The point is, each of these disasters lasted only minutes. Those that occurred in the islands and created tsunamis were far more devastating than just the earthquakes themselves. Hurricans, by their very nature, last a few hours, with winds building then abating over a 24 hour period, but the devastation usually occurs within a couple of hours.

These types of cataclysms do enormous damage, but not to the earth itself—just to objects built by man as a rule. Buildings collapse, houses disintegrate, roads and bridges are upheaved and crushed. But, as Rosenvall and other theorists have correctly pointed out, the face of the earth does not change much. The Alaska earthquake buckled highways so significantly their unusual pictures were covered in the news for days, as were the collapsed freeways in the San Francisco “World Series” earthquake in 1989. The hurricanes that come inland along the Gulf from Florida to Texas mostly do flooding damage, with whirlwinds ripping off rooftops and blowing over walls.

Earthquakes, on the other hand, can do damage to the earth, creating rifts, rips, gouges, even slippage that moves one side of a fault line several feet or even miles out of alignment, but no matter the damage from any earthquake witnessed—they last a minute or less. Even so, there have been some earthquakes in Central and South America that have destroyed entire cities with mudslides and mountains collapsing. But in general, except for Krakatoa and Mt. Vesuvius (which raised and extended the coast, changed the course of the Sarno River, and lowered a mountain), earthquakes usually leave the face of the land recognizable.

The point is, however, that the earthquake and storms that hit the Land of Promise at the time of the crucifixion were of a different kind. First of all, that event lasted three solid hours—far longer than any such event ever witnessed or known. Any earthquake that lasts more than a few minutes would be so devastating that the earth itself would be upheaved and totally defaced.

Consider an earthquake that breaks up the solid rock under the ground, shoves cordilleras a mile or two into the air forming mountains “whose height is great,” collapses mountains into valleys and depressions, sinks several cities into the ground and covers them with earth. Also consider the shoving up of rock formations and breaking the solid rock “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; they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath” (Helaman 14:21-22). Several great cities completely disappeared in this extreme movement of earth and rock that not only changed the entire face of the earth, but also the ground and rock formations beneath the earth so severe that huge mountains rose up where valleys had once been.

Consider, too, that a very unusual storm which lasted for hours, creating enormous damage to the land, washing away tons of earth and filling depressions, flooding lowlands, and tornadoes or “whirlwinds” that sucked people into the air never to be seen again. But more importantly, consider that after this destruction, there is never again a mention of the East Sea, though it figured prominently in Mormon’s description of the land, and the events that took place there prior to this cataclysm.

(See the next post, “The Island of South America Part V,” for the reason why Mormon and Moroni were able to discern the landmarks after this great cataclysm that changed the entire face of the earth)


  1. You are absolutely right. a 3 hour quake would really tear up the land. I was in the Alaskan quake which lasted only a minute or so and it was terrifying and the land was a shambles afterward. Even a five or ten minute quake would destroy much of everything in sight, but a 3 hour one would change the entire "face of the land." I have often laughed at these Mesoamerican people who claim that nothing much happened to the Nephite lands after all the destruction.

  2. The East Sea is never mentioned after the destruction. Brilliant Del. I never thought to distinguish the geography mentioned pre and post 33ad. But now that you point it out it seems so obvious. The last mention I see of East Sea or sea east is in Helaman 11 right before the birth of the savior. You continue to impress me Del.