Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part XV – We Did Find Upon the Land of Promise – Part III

Continued from the previous post, which was the first of four outlining the four specific areas that Nephi wrote about finding in the specific area of their first landing (1 Nephi 18:24-25)--not just anywhere in the Land of Promise, but the area where they first landed. The first of these, the landing site at Coquimbo Bay was covered in the last post. The second point is covered in this post. 
    2. A climate and soil that would grow their seeds from Jerusalem exceedingly and provide an abundant crop;
    As mentioned in the earlier post on this subject (November 1, 2014 “Mormon’s Abridgement Part XIII-We Did Find Upon the Land of Promise”), there are five Mediterranean Climates in the world—the first is around the Mediterranean Sea and where Jerusalem lies, which is where the seeds were grown that Lehi brought with him and planted in the Land of Promise upon first landing (1 Nephi 18:24). Only two of these climates are located in the Western Hemisphere, and only one anywhere in the world completely matches the descriptions covered in the ocean voyage Nephi describes.
    That one climate which Lehi’s seeds would have required to grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24) and matches soil, soil group, temperature, precipitation, etc., as that of Jerusalem, is found in the west coastal region of Chile along the 30º south latitude, adjacent to Coquimbo Bay where Lehi would have had to have landed (see last post).
    Consequently, just east of La Serena, runs the Elqui Valley, known world-wide for its clear sky and privileged weather, is today carpeted with a broad cover of striated green. When Lehi landed, it would have appeared much like Jerusalem, with its ideal semiarid climate and warm dry summers with cool, rainy winters (Mediterranean Climate).
Top: Map of the Elqui Valley running to the east of La Serena, up through the valleys and canyon to the mountains. Through the middle runs the Elqui River (yellow arrow), a fast moving, fresh water source for planting and drinking. Today, this area (blue circle) begins inland because of the encroachment of the city (red arrow)—but originally, it ran clear to the coast; Bottom: a view of the valley as it moves upward from La Serena
    The well-ventilated, dry Elqui Valley is a vibrant and verdant strip of land nestled into the buxom foothills of the Andes, where vegetables, fruits, trees, vines and grapes are grown. With the Andes Mountains to the east, the Atacama Desert to the north the Pacific Ocean to the west, and a long chain of rocky islands reaching south to the Antarctic that complete the protective ring, it is considered an agricultural and viticultural paradise, with its heavy “brown” soils, rich in nutrients and capable of storing water—identical with that of Jerusalem—where fresh produce is grown year round and exported to even California in the winter. The semi-arid surroundings, moderated by sea breezes of the ocean, provide a fertile valley with its Mediterranean Climate, excellent water supply from the Elqui River and its tributaries, which is essential for the excellent growth of produce of wheat, maize, corn, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, oranges, and avocados, that are grown here.
The Elqui Valley with its Mediterranean Climate grows a large amount of Chile’s produce which is imported north, especially during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter. Here, Lehi’s seeds from Jerusalem would have grown exceedingly and produced an abundant crop as Nephi claims
    Today the Elqui is called the “mystical valley” because of its unique astronomical and magnetic properties, with scientists and astronomers making pilgrimages there to study the stars in various professional observatories because the region offers the clearest atmosphere in the world, averaging 300 clear days a year in the pure mountain air. It is also very well known for its grape vineyards and the wines they produce, as is Jerusalem.
    We also need to recognize that in the scriptural record, we find that king Noah “planted vineyards round about in the land; and he built wine-presses, and made wine in abundance; and therefore he became a wine-bibber, and also his people” (Mosiah 11:15).
    Now king Noah lived in the City of Nephi, “many days” travel northward of Lehi’s landing site (1 Nephi 5:7). This microclime region, in Peru, has always been a wine growing region and produces the local Pisco wine drink from white grapes. However, its potential, which has never been realized, has attracted the largest wine growing combine in Chile and one of the leading wine growing experts, who earlier this year planted vineyards with plans to create a large wine-growing industry in the area Noah once planted his own vineyards.
Peruvian wine and Pisco vineyards today in the area of king Noah’s grapevines
    What is important to understand is that in viticulture (growing grapes for wine) , the climates of wine regions are categorized based on the overall characteristics of the area's climate during the growing season. While variations in macroclimate are acknowledged, the climates of most wine regions are categorized as being part of "a Mediterranean, Maritime, or Continental climate." In fact, the majority of the world's premium wine production takes place in one of these three climate categories in locations between the 30th parallel and the 50th parallel in both the northern and southern hemisphere.
The world-famous wine growing vineyards of the Elqui Valley adjacent to La Serena, Chile
    On the other hand, this automatically eliminates the Mesoamerican models and severely limites the Baja and Malay Models regarding wine-growing locations, for all three of these fall well outside of the latitudinal range for wine growing. However, wine growing vineyards are found in the Great Lakes model, especially in the Lake Erie, Niagara Escarpment and Finger Lakes areas, and also in the Heartland model, especially in the Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Missouri Wine Country.
    The point is, that right next to La Serena, which is along the coast where the most ideal place for a landing and settling in the Coquimbo Bay area exists, is the Mediterranean Climate necessary for the growing of the seeds that were brought from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24). These two points could be a coincidence, however, their likelihood of existing elsewhere is almost non-existent, especially anywhere in the Western Hemisphere other than in the southern/central California area. The problem with that northern location is, the winds and sea currents taking Nephi’s ship, which he described as “driven forth before the wind” would not lead to that area.
Nephi’s ship, upon leaving the southern Arabian coast, would have had to travel south with the monsoon winds and currents that would have taken him into the Indian Ocean Gyre, then the extremely powerful, fast-moving Southern Ocean, and across to the Humboldt Current forcing his ship up along the west coast of South America to 30º south latitude before the ship could have been steered out of the currents toward shore and a landing
    Thus we have three extremely important points here that match the scriptural record and would be hard to find elsewhere:
    1. Winds and currents leading from the southern Arabian Peninsula, upon which a ship dependent upon being “driven forth before the wind” would be forced to travel;
    2. A landing site along that current and wind course that would be ideal for both a landing site and a settlement area;
    3. A Climate matching Jerusalem in which seeds brought from Jerusalem would grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop.
As a result, it can be seen that Coquimbo Bay provides the best landing site along the entire coast of Chile and Peru, certainly within the area of the Humboldt Current where the winds and currents would have taken a ship “driven forth before the wind” from the Arabian Peninsula, before it would be driven westward by the Peruvian Bulge and out to sea and into the South Pacific Gyre back toward the west and Indonesia/Australia. 
At the same time, within this limited area of Coquimbo and La Serena, is found an ideal area for Lehi to have pitched his tents and the colony settle down, with not only ample fresh water from the Elqui River delta, but also the ideal place for planting with a Mediterranean Climate, which matches that of Jerusalem, and in which Lehi’s seeds would have grown exceedingly and provided them with an abundant crop as he said occurred (1 Nephi 18:24)--providing two of the three specific criteria required for Lehi's landing site as the scriptural record states.  
    Nor is that all. In addition, there is a very large forest nearby, which we will cover in the next post, and is the third of these criteria Nephi describes.
(See the next post, “Mormon’s Abridgement Part  XVI – We Did Find Upon the Land of Promise – Part IV,” to find the third of these four areas Nephi describes to be adjacent to their landing site, and crucial for any Land of Promise location to have—not just in the entire land, but specifically adjacent to the landing site, which is where Nephi placed them)

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