Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lively Discussion - Part I

During a lively discussion in the comments section of our April 9, 2016, article “Cajamarca: The City of Bountiful – Part I,” several points were raised that seems worth discussing and, in some cases, correcting. Following are those points: 
    Comment #1: The Andes rose at the time of Christ. Right? And that means new mountains, new valleys, changed rivers, etc. Has anyone done a study or computer simulation to try to see how the land was before the Andes rose?
    Response: There are no simulations as far as I have ever seen and I have looked for something along that line for years; however, we know that the eastern portion of the continent was tilted downward (and still is) and that the western side came up in conjunction with the east and we find evidence of that all along the western shore of the continent with mostly cliff faces, while the eastern shore is mostly beaches other than the Guiana, Brazilian and Patagonian Highlands.
A few images of the coastal rise all along the entire west coast of South America, from Colombia southward to southern Chile: In these four images, top to bottom: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile coastlines 
    In fact, though the west coastal shore rises gradually to the Andean foothills of the western or Cordillera Occidental, and then continues to a high elevation across the Andes, including the inter-Andean valleys, to the eastern Cordillera Oriental, the fall off on the eastern side into the Amazon is remarkably direct and steep. At this point, at the edge of the nearly three-million-square-mile basin (sometimes referred to as the Amazon Rainforest or Amazonia, with the Amazon River dropping from its head at 21,768 feet to a basin level of 328-feet near Iquitos, Peru, then dropping ¾ of an inch (two centimeters) per 1/3 of a mile, or about 2.3 inches per mile all across Brazil, a distance of about 2300 river miles to the Atlantic Ocean.         The rivers flowing east off the Andes generally reach the basin through narrow canyons (pongos), with the Amazon flowing eastward at about 1.5 miles per hour, which increases greatly at flood times because of the drop in flow from west to east; and discharging at its mouth about 8 trillion gallons a day, 60 times that of the Nile and 11 times that of the Mississippi, which is about 6,350,000 cubic feet per second, with the mouth over 250 miles in width from a river that averages between 1 and 6 miles in width all along its length.
    According to the World of Earth Science, Gale Group, 2003, the Amazon basin was once an enormous bay, before the Andes were pushed up along the coasts. As the mountain range grew, they held back the ocean and eventually the bay became an inland sea. This sea was finally filled by the erosion of the higher land surrounding it, and finally a huge plain, crisscrossed by countless waterways, was created. Most of this region is still at sea level, and is covered by lush jungle and extensive wetlands. This jungle region contains the largest extant rain forest in the world. Despite the profusion of life that abounds here, the soil is not very rich; the fertile regions are those which receive a fresh layer of river silt when the Amazon floods, which occurs almost every year.
Top: Guiana Highland; Bottom: Brazilian Highlands. Note the sharp rises of the cliffsides where they at one time rose above the ocean surface
    The ancient Guiana and Brazilian highlandstwo large stable masses of pre-Cambrian rock (cretons) slope gently to the west—everything other than these two highland shields is a sedimentary basin, suggesting the two islands to the eastern part of the once flooded continent and that the rest of the area was under water, producing the sedimentary basis of the land.
    Beyond the east coast of the continent, the Falkland Islands lie off of Argentina; a group of about 200 islands consisting of rolling hills and peat valleys. The sea around the Falkland Islands is quite shallow, and for this reason they are thought to lie on an extension of the continerntal shelf.
    Comment #2: “My impression of the geology from what I have read seems to indicate that the land-forms simply rose relatively unchanged to a much higher elevation. After-all the earthquake lasted for 3 hours which has no precedent in history.”
    Response: While some of the landforms may have just simply been pushed up, we also know that some mountains (obviously some landforms) will be laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great (Helaman 14:23). Nephi tells us that he “saw mountains tumbling into pieces and the plains of the earth were broken up” because of the quaking of the earth” (1 Nephi 12:4).
    Comment #3: “There are today tilted terraces used anciently for farming that are now too high to farm. Indicative of a relatively slow rise
Response: We really do not know this. If an entire section of mountains rose from, say, 4000 feet, to say 18,000 feet, and it was sudden, taking the inter-valleys with the structure, terraces and valleys both would rise along with the mountain(s) and remain more or less in tact. Since mountains are basically an extension of a sub-block of base rock, this is entirely likely and certainly possible as the surface of the earth is raised.
    Comment #4: “These tilted terraces do not necessarily indicate a slow rise, but does indicate a rise in historic times.”
    Response: Exactly.
    Comment #5: “Typically a fault scarp forms almost instantaneously during an earthquake. There is no precedent for what happened at the time of Christ
    Response: Fault scarps are created when one side of a fault line falls or rises because of one side moving vertically with the respect to the other and is the topographic expression of faulting attributed to the displacement of the land surface by movement along faults. This, of course, may have well happened in numerous places, however, the raising of mountains is not from displacement of movement along fault tines, but of either volcanic, fold or block formations. 
• Volcanic mountains, of course, are formed when a tectonic plate is pushed beneath another, or when the rising magma solidifies below the surface and forms dome mountains where material is pushed up from the force of the build-up beneath it.
• Fold mountains occur when two tectonic plates collide at a convergent plate boundary, causing the crust to over-thicken, causing the less dense crust to float on top of the denser mantle rocks while a greater volume of material is forced downward into the mantle.
• Block mountains are formed at divergent plate boundaries, with sections left standing beside rift valleys become block mountains, caused when two plates move away from each other, leaving a gap between. Magma rises between them, melts, and lava erupts at the spreading ridge between the plates. Where two continental plate converge the result is an uplift of enormous mountain range.
Comment #6: “Agricultural terraces which reach to heights of over 18,000 feet are unthinkable. Even the hardy potato will grow only to heights of about 15,000 feet. This fact makes it clear that Tiahuanaco formerly was at least 3,400 feet lower than it is today.”
    Response: Exactly. There is no question that the Andean shelf came up in antiquity many thousands of feet—the question scientists are divided on is when. For a 13,000 year old Earth, it would have been in the time of man. For a 4.55 billion year old Earth, then it was millions of years ago. It is interesting to know that the evolutionist Charles Darwin thought it was in the time of man; and the ruins of a city found beneath Lake Titicaca shows it had to have been in the time of man.
(See the next post, “Lively Discussion – Part II,” for the rest of the comments and responses to the lively discussion that took place in the comments section of the April 9,2016 blog article “Cajamarca: The City of Bountiful – Part I”)


  1. Good discussion Del. But the pressing question in my mind is why the slow rise of a continent? It is true that fault scarps will form almost instantaneously. We are not dealing with such a thing here of course since the entire block came up relatively together. There had to be movement along individual fault traces during such an event. But the big question is why the relatively slow rise over 3 hours? I think the answer is still - it was an act of God to preserve life. Ira

  2. There was obviously great destruction during this time, with many people dying, including friends, neighbors, mothers, daughters and children (3 Nephi 8:24-25). Those who survived were those “who had not fallen” (3 Nephi 8:20), but there were many who were slain (3 Nephi 8:14-15), with many being drowned (3 Nephi 8:9), and many being burned (3 Nephi 8:14), while others were buried in the earth (3 Nephi 9:5), or carried away (3 Nephi 8:16) evidently in tornadoes—all of these lives lost because of their iniquity and abominations (3 Nephi 9:2) and that there were none righteous among them (3 Nephi 9:11). According to the Lord, those that were spared were more righteous than those who were killed (3 Nephi 9:13).
    Obviously, the way in which the destruction took place, the way in which the land rose, the way in which the face of the whole earth was changed was meant to destroy the wicked and save the more righteous. Under what conditions some were killed and others spared is not given us, other than the Lord controlled these events as described in 3 Nephi 9.