Thursday, February 25, 2016

Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part IV

Continuing from the previous post on why the Nephites knew they were on an island, and our responses to the several comments sent to us on this by a reader. In the last post, the question the reader asked “The Mediterranean climate you mention would have been very different when they first landed under your theory with the absence of the Andes mountains,” which led to an understanding of earthquakes, continuing here: 
Consider that the average earthquake is from 10 to 30 seconds (a minute is extremely long for an earthquake), plus a few readjustments in the earth following, called “aftershocks,” with the devastating quake in Christchurch, New Zealand, February 2011, that was a 6.3 but produced accelerations in excess of 2g with the strongest shaking lasting for less than10 seconds, with the usually wobbling continuing for another 10 seconds or so. The great earthquake of San Francisco of 1906 lasted between 45 and 60 seconds. The 9.0 earthquake in Japan lasted about the same length. The Sumatra earthquake in 2004, measuring 9.2, triggering the Indian Ocean tsunami, also has the longest recorded rupture (about 800 miles), and released something the size of a 100 gigaton nuclear weapon, 99.725% greater than the largest weapon ever deployed by the U.S.—a 25 Mt (megaton) bomb. The 6.7 Northridge (Los Angeles) earthquake in 1994 lasted 8 seconds and was felt as far away as Las Vegas and Baja California, and was the largest major earthquake to strike an urban area since the Long Beach earthquake in 1933, which was a 6.4 lasting 10 seconds. The second largest earthquake ever recorded, the 9.2 Alaskan quake of 1964 lasted 240 seconds (4 minutes), with the largest earthquake, near Valdivia, China in 1964, a 9.5 quake lasted about 10 minutes, perhaps the longest earthquake ever recorded.
    With this in mind, consider what the disciple Nephi said of the devastating earthquakes during the crucifixion: “And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away” (3 Nephi 10:9, emphasis added).
One can hardly imagine the devastation brought about by three days of earthquakes before the shaking stopped and the earth ceased to tremble.
    During these three days, mountains fell, in some places into level valleys, while in other places, level valleys rose up into mountain ranges “whose height was great.” There is simply no way to know what part of the Andes, if any, were high mountains before this time, what mountains fell and where, and which were the ones that rose to great heights—we only know that it happened. And since its purpose was to be a sign: “another sign I give unto you, yea, a sign of his death” (Helaman 14:14), and that sign was for the purpose that “many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” (Helaman 14:28). Thus the signs of the mountains would certainly be seen throughout the Land of Promise, and so all would have an opportunity to know first hand of the wonders of God and believe. This was no minor event, nor one hidden in a corner of the land, but something widespread so much so that none could deny its occurrence.
     Secondly, Mediterranean Climates (for the purpose of growing plants) is far beyond the outside climate (temperature), but includes soils, soil types, soil erosion and rejuvenation, mineralogical composition, coherence and permeability, etc., also the oceans involved, high pressure cells, natural vegetation types, location on a continent, latitude, being on western side, irregularity of rainfall, and numerous other factors with which the height of mountains have absolutely no relationship.
    Reader: “The sudden appearance of the Andes during the destruction would have caused a major change in climate.”
    Response: “Not necessarily, depending on where the mountains were before, and what their height might have been, and how they affected the winds coming off the Humboldt Current, which has nothing to do with the mountains, but with the Antarctic currents that flow northward along the coast of Chile, Peru and Ecuador. The highest point in the Mediterranean Climate Los Angeles Basin is 3,111 feet, which is Sandstone Peak in the Malibu Canyon/Santa Monica Mountains area, with an average of 1266’ to 3010’ mountain heights throughout the entire region—it is interesting that the Judean Mountains heights of Mediterranean Climate Israel is 3280 feet, almost identical to Los Angeles.
Mountains only half the height of the present Andes are still considered to be quite high in terms of their effect on climate and weather conditions
    It should also be noted that the height of the mountains in both places, as in Chile and Peru, does not affect the Mediterranean Climate of the preceding valleys, but affects the lack of moisture beyond the mountains in the regions to the east, causing deserts, jungles, etc.
    Reader: “Having the same soil/climate as Jerusalem would not have been necessary…
    Response: A Mediterranean Climate, of which there are only a few in the world, is not dependent upon very high mountains like the Andes; in fact, in no other place where a Mediterranean Climate exists do we find extremely high mountains affecting a climate condition. Where I come from, in Southern California, one of the five Mediterranean Climates outside the Mediterranean Sea area, has very low hills cupping the Los Angeles basin. However, you err in the point of the seeds and how they react to different climates in the ground. Up until the 19th century, seeds simply did not grow anywhere other than where they were originally produced. It took, through modern technology and knowledge (experimentation) that if a seed was to be destined for another place, it had to be systematically grown over several stages in a development process toward that climate. Even today, with all that we know, a seed will take a few years to develop to the point where it can produce natural crop results in an entirely different climate than what you see it approved for on the back of the package.
    Reader: “…since they were mostly growing corn, wheat and barley, which can grow in many different areas and climates/soil types.”
    Response: Today, with modern knowledge, one can grow a lot of things in a lot of areas; however, in the ancient past, seeds grew where they were developed; if tried to grow elsewhere, it would take a view years of constant adjustment while the seeds became accustomed to the change in their origin of soils, temperatures, precipitation, etc. As for corn, to come to harvest quickly corn requires warm temperatures, rich soil, and even, regular watering. Too cold or damp soil inhibits seed growth; is susceptible to frosts; poorly draining soil; soil with cutworms, aphids, beetles, moths, earwigs, armyworms, etc., bird activity, tough soil that doesn’t allow deep watering, soil has a phosphorus deficiency, problem with overhead irrigation (too much rain), weeds growing wildly nearby, irregular watering, poorly drained soil, unsteady temperatures, late freezes, and a number of other problems face growing corn—especially in new environments that are not that well known. In fact, some corn varieties simply do not grow in some environments, and the only cure is to take out that variety and plant another.
    As for wheat, it prefers cool weather, neutral soil, with warm, dry weather for ripening. Alter that sequence and you get poor yields. There are different seeds for growing seasons—in Mediterranean Climates, it does very well, but in too much heat, too cold weather, unless you have a variety of temperature seeds, wheat is not so easy to grow and produces poor yields.
Barley is one of the oldest grains (member of grass family) and currently is fourth most produced in the world (136 million tons, covering 219,000 square miles)
    As for barley, the elevation of growing is very important, as is the temperature, and has poor tolerance to acidic soils, and can be over-watered and does well in highly arid areas, such as dry deserts. Barley also has too many disease problems for most growers to handle—and is not particularly grown in South America or does well there.
    Once any of these grains are settled in an area, they will eventually do well and grow abundantly; the problem is getting them started in soils, temperatures, and conditions not natural to them or their seed origin. I know it is difficult for the non-agriculturist today to think seeds would have trouble growing anywhere, but take away our modern knowledge and technology and we would be back in the days of pilgrims as we tried to grow seeds in areas where they did not originate, even though that growing change was slight.
(See the next post, “Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part V,” for more on why the Nephites and particularly Jacob knew they were on an island”)

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