Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Island of South America

A friend forwarded the following comments from a theorist who believes that Baja California is the Land of Promise. His comments merely illustrate that people do not know as much as they think they do—and just because someone does not know something, does not mean it is not true. As an example, having been born and lived for 65 years in Southern California, and in all my time spent in Baja, studying the peninsula, and writing about the geography of that area, I had no idea the Sea of Cortes (Gulf of California), was also called the Vermillion Sea (because of the Noctiluca miliaris, spherical protozoa that cause a night glow). In any event, the comments this theorist has made follow, with explanations or answers to each point:

1. “I would ask you where you would find an island in North and South America that is about 500-600 miles long and 50-100 miles wide?”

First of all, the Book of Mormon does not tell us that Jacob’s Isle was only 500-600 miles long, nor only 50-100 miles wide. Secondly, even geologists claim that the area west of the Andes from about southern Colombia through just below the 30ยบ south latitude of South America was the only area above water of the South American continent except for a highland in the Guiana area, and another along the eastern Brazil-Argentina border. The “Glomar Challenger” deep sea-drilling rig confirmed that fairly recently the Panama Isthmus was under water and not connected above sea level with South America.
2. “We don't subscribe to a catastrophic continental uplift or sea levels subsiding. To achieve what you are insinuating you would need to have at a minimum a 500-1000 feet continental change. If we assume the oceans have subsided then all the coastal cities around the world would have to see a similar change, of which there is no evidence.

The theory behind plate tectonics shows that the above statement is inaccurate. Besides, when the South American plate slammed into the Pacific Plate, causing the Andes to rise suddenly (“popped up” is the word recent geologists have used) in recent times, the San Andreas-Elsinore Fault Zone complex collapsed, causing the southward area to fall nearly two miles in places, separating the Baja Peninsula from mainland Mexico and forming the Sea of Cortes all the way to the Palm Springs area, at the same time the Rocky Mountains rose from the movement of the North American Plate. This depression of the Gulf of California created a coastline 2,500 miles long, and a sea that is one of the most diverse on the planet, with one of the sheerest floors in the world, a mean depth of 2,684 feet, though underwater canyons can reach as deep as 1.9 miles, and has a volume of a staggering 34,985 cubic miles. It is not rocket science to recognize that this displacement of land and filling of water could easily offset the shallow sea volume covering most of South America when it rose, not affecting other lands, let alone around the world.
Plate Tectonics. Note the arrows pointing inward along the west coast of South America showing the movement of the Nazca Plate under the South American Plate that caused the lift of both the Andes and eastern continent

3. “If we assume the continent rises up we would also see the change in sea level around the world due to the displacement of water from the up-heaval of land.”

As pointed out above, this is also inaccurate. The displacement of water from one area to another in the same vicinity would simply not result in any difference at all. In addition, when the above took place, the Caribbean Plate sank in the east, bringing water into what is today the Caribbean Sea, resulting in only the highest ridges remaining above water—what we see today as the Caribbean islands. Underwater investigation has shown numerous roads, rock walls, and other buildings representing the fact that at one time civilization was present in the area now underwater. As this eastern plate sank, or as the western edge rose from the plate tectonics involved, the Isthmus of Panama rose upward, bringing that connection to Colombia in South America upward. However, it should be understood, that all this area, the Caribbean Sea, the Amazon Delta, the Isthmus of Darien, are all barely above sea level. There was not a lot of water displacement involved, and the sinking of certain areas easily compensated for that displacement (excess water).

(See the next post, “The Island of South America – Part II,” for the rest of this theorists points that are inaccurate and not consistent with the scriptures)

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