Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lake Titicaca Was Once at Sea Level – Part I

There are two specific problems we face in looking at a location for the Land of Promise: 1) We have a tendency to think of things as always existing in their present form, and 2) We have been conditioned to believe that geologic change takes millions of years to bring about a transformation of the topography. As a result, we look at an area and see that it does not match our imagined model and discard it without looking beyond the apparent.
Of course, the entire continent of South America, as viewed in its present shape and size, would discount it as being the Land of Promise without further inquiry. The area of Mesoamerica is immediately considered because it has an indentation, or narrowness, has seas on either side, and is limited in its overall size.
However, neither assumption would be correct. South America, as has been discussed here many times, was not always in its present size and shape, having been an island to the west of what is now the Andes mountains, and Mesoamerica simply does not meet almost all of the scriptural record description that Nephi, Jacob, and Mormon left us. While we have covered these two facts in numerous posts on this blog and in the books Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, Who Really Settled Mesoamerica, and Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican Theorists, there are numerous other changes that have taken place in the Andean area that show a consistency with the Book of Mormon.
Take, for an example, the very interesting history of Lake Titicaca, for it was once at sea level as part of what the scriptural record calls the East Sea. When the Andes came up from the tectonic plate movement, the mountains formed and part of the sea was trapped among the suddenly rising peaks. There are five observable factors that suggest this happened: 1) The port of Puma Punku, with its magnificent rock wharves are now sixteen miles from any water source where large scale navigation took place, 2) The huge, rock slabs, some weighing hundreds of tons, are strewn about like children’s blocks, showing a violent upheaval, 3) Water lines on adjacent mountains show that the sea was once located there, 4) Millions of sea shells are scattered all over the area, and 5) evidence of ancient large-scaled corn fields adjacent to the area show an ancient cultivation, but corn will not grow at this present altitude.
The broken stones from the four-level building overlooking the wharves and docks. At one time, these were all one stone, weighing over four hundred ton
In looking at these five points, it should be understood that while this ancient city was once obviously a seaport, and the nearest water is Lake Titicaca, now sixteen miles away, the huge stone wharves suggest both a large shipping use (a single wharf could have accommodated hundreds of sea-going vessels), obviously amount to a high cost of manpower and time to build. Each of these points imply a seaport, as is generally ascribed to it, as opposed to a port on a lake, even if Titicaca was large and actually came sixteen miles further to the ancient city.
In addition, on the rock cliffs near the piers and wharfs of the port area of the ruins are yellow-white calcareous deposits forming long, straight lines indicating pre-historic water levels. These ancient shorelines are strangely tilted, although once they had to have been level, again suggesting a violent upheaval. There is evidence it was once a saltwater sea since its shoreline is littered with millions of fossilized seashells, and the marine fishes and seahorses in the lake are all oceanic types found only in salt water, obviously suggesting a pre-historic sea occupied the area. It is obviously apparent that from the tilting of the ancient shoreline striations and the abundant presence of fossilized oceanic flora and fauna, that a tremendous uplift of land has taken place sometime in the pre-historic past.
Lake Titicaca is about 3,200 square miles. By comparison, Lake Ontario, the smallest of the Great Lakes, is more than twice that size at 7,500 square miles, and Lake Huron, next in size is 8,880 square miles, and Lake Erie is more than three times as large as Titicaca at 9,940 square miles, with Lake Michigan over 22,000 square miles, and Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes over 31,000 square miles. Obviously, Titicaca is not that big of a lake to warrant such an investment in huge stone wharves and piers found at Puma Punku.
As archaeologists working in the area have stated: "Evidence that Lake Titicaca was once a part of an ocean exists even today in the abundance of oceanic creatures still living in the salty lake, although it is over two miles above current sea level."
In the surrounding area is more evidence of a rise in elevation from sea level to the present elevation of 12,500 feet. First, there are ancient terraced cornfields on the sides of the mountains rising above Lake Titicaca. The highest of these terraces will not germinate or grow corn. Corn will only germinate and grow up to a certain altitude, and these fields are far higher than that.
The lower altitude terraces where corn could still grow are still at a level above Lake Titicaca. This means that the "pre-historic" peoples cultivating corn "lived" in the area "before" and "after" the numerous necessarily cataclysmic crustal deformations and uplifts that raised the Andes. The cataclysmic uplifts caused the terraces where the corn "was" successfully cultivated to be raised to an altitude where the corn would not grow. As the mountains rose cataclysmically the people terraced their cornfields successively lower down the mountainsides. There is a stone causeway leading "out" of Lake Titicaca. It has been speculated by some archaeologists that the area used to be at sea level and the causeway led out to the ocean. The causeway now leads out of the lake to nowhere at 9,000 feet altitude.
There are stone "ruins" more "ancient" than the stone causeway leading out of Lake Titicaca. These "ruins" are buried under six feet of "sediment" on the shallow "bottom" of Lake Titicaca. The sediment contains "pre-historic sea shell fossils. There was not enough topsoil on the peaks surrounding Lake Titicaca to have "eroded" down and "covered" these "ancient" ruins with six feet of sediment.
To further support this once lower elevation, the ruins of a 660 foot by 160 foot ancient temple (about twice the size of a football field) has been found by international archaeologists under Lake Titicaca dating more than 1,500 years ago (around 400 A.D. or earlier). A submerged terrace for crops, a long road and a 2,600-foot-long wall was also found.
Near the Lake, at an area now called Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco) massive fallen stones which were originally used to build the ancient massive city lie scattered about, having at one time been tossed around just like popcorn in a skillet. The stones are so large that even today, it would be a technological marvel to take them from the mountainous quarry they were brought from, fifty miles away.
Lying close to Lake Titicaca, these ruins are scattered about an ancient shoreline now at approximately 12,500 feet above sea level. Though not adequately excavated as yet, estimates are that it could have held between 40,000 and 100,00 inhabitants. Numerous researchers are convinced that these more than two-mile-high ruins once lay at sea level and that some devastating cataclysmic event occurred to lift the lake to its present elevation.
(See the next post, “Lake Titicaca Was Once at Sea Level – Part II,” for more on how Lake Titicaca was formed, and the surrounding complexes by whom and when)

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