Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Great Southern Ocean – Part V

Continuing with the subject of Lehi’s landing at the 30º south latitude and the unique, but direct journey, that led him there, and more importantly, what exactly was found there. 
Top: Coquimbo Bay as Lehi would have seen it, a wide-sweeping, half-moon-shaped bay of “quiet waters”; Bottom: Photos of the Mediterranean Climate La Serena, which abuts the beach area of the bay
    When Nephi wrote that “…as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men” (1 Nephi 18:25, emphasis mine). That is, adjacent to their landing site (Coquimbo Bay) and where they pitched their tents and planted their seeds (now called La Serena), which was a Mediterranean Climate conducive to seeds from Jerusalem’s Mediterranean Climate, was a large temperate rain forest. This forest is the largest in South America, and second only in the Western Hemisphere to the Pacific temperate rain forest that runs from Prince William Sound in Alaska to northern California along the Pacific Northwest.
Along the 30º south latitude in the Mediterranean Climate, lies La Serena, the Fray Jorje National Park and the northern portion of the Valdivian National Forest
    This Chilean forest is one naturally full of indigenous animals, such as the puma (mountain lion), leopard, fox, and several species of small wild cat; there are deer, pudu, and Huemul, as well as Guanacos (wild predecessor of llama), vicuna (wild ancestor of alpaca), and also smaller creatures, like opossums, armadillos, the Rhea—a flightless ground bird similar to an ostrich.
    In addition, Nephi added, “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25). It always surprises me that people read this last part over and over again without ever seeming to understand what is being said. First of all, let’s look at the simple phrase: “ore, both of gold, silver and copper.”
    In 1829, when Joseph Smith translated the plates, the word “both” meant “two,” that is, that two items (people or things) were considered as distinct from others or by themselves—the one and the other. Yet, Nephi wrote “both” with three items: gold, silver and copper. While those who might take the time to think this out usually attribute it to an error in grammar, typo, or written by an uneducated person, the correct understanding opens up a little wider knowledge of this statement.
    First of all, in Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the word “both” was defined as “Two, considered as distinct from others or by themselves; the one and the other,” and “represents two members of a sentence,” and “is often placed before the nouns with which it is connected.”
    In modern dictionaries, the word “both” is defined in the same manner, as “used to refer to two things, regarded and identified together.” It comes from Middle English “bothe,” and probably earlier from Old Norse “bather,” which is the same as Old High German “beide”– to be used before two words or phrases connected with and to stress that each is included.
    Thus, the statement by Nephi begs the question, why was the word “both” followed by three items? So let’s look at the three items: gold silver and copper. Are these mutually exclusive? That is, does ore contain only gold, or only silver, or only copper? The obvious answer is No.
    Ore is a mineral that contains metals that can be extracted; however, very few metals exist in the free or native state and only metals like gold, silver, copper, platinum and bismuth, are found in the free  or pure state as are mercury and bismuth. The rest of metals occur in the combined form as compounds such as oxides, carbonates, sulphides, sulphates, slicates, etc. Copper and silver are two metals that occur in free as well as combined state.
    As an example, an oxide ore might contain aluminium, copper, or iron, combined with bauxite cuprite, haematite, or magnetite; sulphide ore might contain iron, copper or zinc, combined with iron pyrite, copper glance or pyrite, or zinc blende.
Top Left: Gold ore; Top Right: Silver ore; Bottom Left: Copper ore; Bottom Right: Ore containing gold, silver and copper
    Thus, one of the most profitable and most sought after ores is that which contains gold, silver and copper, which can be extracted profitably. Often in today’s manufacturing processes, the gold, which is usually in small amounts, is used to pay for the process of the silver and especially the copper extraction.
    Gold is often found in the same ore with silver, and silver is sometimes found in the same ore with copper, but ore containing all three, though not rare, is infrequent. As an example, some ore might contain gold, copper, silver, lead, arsenic and antimony; on the other hand some ore might have a low gold content but a high silver content, or low gold and silver, but high copper content; or some ore might contain copper, malachite, azurite and cuprite.
    The point is, ore that has all three is combined with gold and silver, which are both precious metals, and with copper, which is not a precious metal. Thus, one ore might contain both gold and silver, as precious metals, and copper, a non-previous metal. In this same usage of “both,” Nephi also said, “…the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children…” (1 Nephi 9:21), both applied to men and women (adults) and the other children (non-adult).
Around the vicinity of Lehi’s Landing at Coquimbo Bay, La Serena, there are numerous mines. The one labeled Coquimbo, consumes 1964 GWh of electricity, with copper mining using 53% of consumption (a very large mine), only two mines produce more in northern Chile. It might be of interest to know that Chile is the Number One producer of copper in the world, with 33% of the world’s market
    While Arizona is the largest copper producer in the United States, followed by Utah, New Mexico, Montana and Nevada, far more dominant than the U.S., is the mining production of copper in Chile, the world’s leading producer of copper, with Peru next. Chile is fourth in the world in untapped gold reserves, after Russia, but ahead of the U.S. Ore in Chile contains high levels of gold, silver and copper.
    About a half mile south of Coquimbo is an old fishing cove and copper smelting area which dates back to the Spanish. Today it is an attractive tourist beach resort which features day campsites, a yacht club, hotels, cottages and other tourist services. Its warm and gentle waters make this beach ideal to have a bath and practice water sports such as windsurfing and diving, among others. Numerous old mining sites are honeycombed all over the area where the Spanish extracted and smelted huge amounts of gold, silver and copper to send back to Spain.
The El Indio Gold Belt (yellow arrow) to the east of La Serena, contains gold, silver and copper; the gold and copper mines outside Coquimbo (red arrow), and on the outskirts of La Serena is the open pit mine of Carmen de Andacollo situated next to Coquimbo and La Serena (where the miners live), where gold and copper are extracted, sits atop huge gold reserves
    From all of this, we learn that Nephi found in the wilderness about the landing site in the Land of Promise, ore containing gold, silver and copper. This means, that any location for Lehi’s landing, must contain single ore containing gold, silver and copper—and not somewhere in the country, but locally in the area where Lehi landed.
Map showing the concentration of gold, silver and copper mines and deposits in the Elqui Valley, situated just to the east of La Serena. By way of land distribution and the closeness of all these areas, Coquimbo Bay lies along the coast, adjacent to this on the east side is La Serena, and adjacent to La Serena, on the east side, is the Elqui Valley
    These are the main descriptive clues Nephi left us about his landing site: 1) Waves and currents driving his ship “forth before the wind,” and where that would have taken him, 2) a Climate at the landing site where seeds from the Mediterrean Climate of Jerusalem would grow “exceedingly” and provide an “abundant” crop, 3) a forest where would be found animals of every kind, including wild and feral animals, and 4) ore, containing gold, silver and copper, evidently in large quantities.
    All of this is found at 30º south latitude along the coast of Chile, South America. The Land of Promise at the end of the Indian Ocean gyre, the Southern Ocean, and the Humboldt Current—all leading to a landing at this one singular location.

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