Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Damage During the Crucifixion

From time to time we receive questions about how much possible damage could have been inflicted in the Land of Promise during the period of three hours during the Crucifixion. Often John L. Sorenson is quoted who claims the damage was minimal and superficial. However, the disciple Nephi seems to feel differently. He wrote:
For behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth… And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth, and behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:12,17-18).
    The language of this scripture would indicate that catastrophic changes on the “face of the whole land” or along the entire length of the Nephite island from the North Sea (Caribbean Sea) to south of Coquimbo Bay (area of First Landing). Geological evidences such as the heaving upward of lower Chile from the ocean’s bottom, the rising of the Tiahuanaco at least 3400 feet above its previous level, and the rising of the 100-mile long “Darien Gap” at Panama show this to be true.
    Apparently all the geological changes took place in three hours (3 Nephi 8:19). As we have said in previous posts on this mnatter, when the disciple Nephi describes the kind of storms, earthquakes, whirlwinds he does, beyond anything they had ever seen before, we almost have to turn to volcanoes, tornadoes, and horrific storms…which in the area of Andean South America would have to be Volcanic eruptions along the so-called “fire lane” that stretches along the entire length of the Andes mountains, which could easily have been the means the Lord used to effect these changes. After all, chain-reaction volcanic activity is not an uncommon thing along the fire-line, and Charles Darwin tells of seeing the 8,701-foot Osorno volcano erupt while he stood on the deck of the Beagle on its second cruise in 1835, 45 miles away, and was surprised afterward that the 22,838-foot Aconcagua, another volcano, located about 480 miles northward of Osorno had also erupted. He was even more surprised when he heard the volcano Cosequin, about 2700 miles north of Aconcagua had erupted, erupting within six hours of the other and causing a great earthquake which was felt within a thousand mile radius (Sandra Herbert, Charles Darwin Geologist, Cornell University, 2005, p226).
    Actually, Darwin drew a map indicating the proximity of a chain of 15 connected volcanoes to the east of the coastal shelf of the Andes and concluded that the connection was activated by subterranean forces manifest their action beneath a large portion of the South American continent and that earthquakes were caused there by the interjection of liquefied rocks between masses of strata, and generally affect elongated areas and they when they are accompanied by an elevation of the land in mass that creates “some additional cause of disturbance.”
Thus, volcanic action could have given rise not only to the earthquakes and avalanches (3 Nephi 9:5), but also to the tempests, including hail, strong winds and rain (3 Nephi 9:11). According to Frank W. Lane (The Elements Rage, Chilton Books, 1965, pp253-254), the effects of weather are largely created by the effects of the eruptions, “In all violent eruptions there are thunderstorms with brilliant lightening, hail and heavy rains.” He added that “the great heat in some eruptions also caused tornadoes.” For example, during the great eruptions of Tambora in Indonesia in April 1815, the most violent tornado formed, snatching up men, horses, cattle, and anything movable, and the largest trees were torn out by the roots and whirled into the air, which is consistent with the Book of Mormon account, “And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind and whether they went no man knoweth” (3 Nephi 8:16).
The Gases in Rocks, 1908, Rollin Thomas Chamberlin 
    There are about twenty-two very high peaks in Ecuador. Most of them are connected, and one of those erupting could have been Mt. Chimborazo among others leaving the land scorched and burned, trees uprooted, some cities flattened and some  buried beneath tons of lava and volcanic ash and earth. According to Charles Darwin, the Andes along the lower half of Chile, had been raised in a very recent period, geologically speaking, and Rollin Thomas Chamberlin (shown left above) in his Gases in Rocks (Carnegie Institution, Washington D.C., 1908), claims that when the Andes rose in South America, “hundreds, if not thousands, of cubic miles of the body of the earth almost instantaneously heaved upward producing a violent earthquake which spread throughout the entire globe.” 
    Just because the Great Lakes does not have volcanoes, or for that matter, mountains of any kind, is not sufficient to ignore the type of damage described, and the cause of that damage—and in terms of weather, there are not rational explanations for that type of activity and damage. As an example, what causes cities in 34 A.D., without electricity, to catch on fire and burn to the ground during an earthquake, such as the cities of Jacobugath, Laman, Josh, Gad, and Kishkumen (3 Nephi 9:9-10), other than lava flow from a volcano, or cast down upon the cities as stated in 3 Nephi 9:11? What causes whirlwinds with such force as to snatch people and animals and trees from the ground and whirl them away into the air never again to be seen other than severe tornadoes? What cause earth or ground to rise up and cover a city other than lava flow from volcanoes and explosions from the earth throwing magma into the air and down upon cities other than volcanoes? 
    Uninformed theorists often cite that flooding of cities would have to be tsunami, which means the water would flow back out again, which is not what is described in all cases in 3 Nephi. However, as can be seen from any weather point of view of severe storms (like anyone had ever seen before), causes flooding from storm surges according to D. Ramsay and R. Bell, which have waves significantly larger than normal (Ramsay, D.; Bell, R., Coastal Hazards and Climate Change, 2nd ed., New Zealand: Ministry for the Environment, 2008); and if a storm event corresponds with the high astronomical tide extensive flooding can occur (A.D. Short and G. Masselink, “Embayed and Structurally Controlled Beaches,” Handbook of Beach and Shoreline Morphodyanmics, Wiley and Sons, 1999, pp231-250).
These storm surges occur during storm events including hurricanes and tropical cyclones due to three processes: 1) Wind setup; 2) Barometric setup; and 3) Wave setup. In such events, winds blowing in an onshore direction (from the sea towards the land) can cause the water to 'pile up' against the coast. This is known as wind set up. Low atmospheric pressure is associated with storm systems and this tends to increase the surface sea level, and called barometric set up. Finally increased wave break height results in a higher water level in the surf zone, which is wave set up. Theses three processes interact to create waves that can overtop natural and engineered coastal protection structures thus penetrating seawater further inland than normal. And if the land form is such, rather than the seawater draining back out, it remains in the entrapped area, such as described regarding the cities of Onihah, Mocum, and Jeruslaem (3 Nephi 9:7).
    When writers of the scriptural record and Mormon’s abridgement tell us that 1) nothing like what happened in 3 Nephi 8 had ever been seen before in the Land of Promise, and 2) the damage covered the entire face of the earth, meaning the entire face of the Land of Promise, we should take that at face value and expect to find tremendous changes across the land. We should, but most theorists, because they find no such major damage in their models of the Land of Promise want to minimize this damage to just a surface appearance, even when they can read that it rent the rocks beneath the earth severely.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately.. many will see the devastation that the "ring of fire" will produce on the entire west coast from Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and then all the way to the southern tip of Chile in the very near future.