Sunday, January 29, 2017

Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part II

Continuing with the understanding of the paper on which Frederick G. Williams wrote that Lehi landed along the Chilean west coast at 30º South Latitude. It should be noted that the “ocean's continental shelves are narrow, averaging only 120 miles in width. An exception is found off Australia's western coast, where the shelf width exceeds 620 miles.
     It should also be noted that the Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean in the world. Long-term ocean temperature records show a rapid, continuous warming in the Indian Ocean, at about 1.3–2.2°F, during 1901–2012. Indian Ocean warming is the largest among the tropical oceans, and about 3 times faster than the warming observed in the Pacific. Also, that the Indian Ocean’s currents are mainly controlled by the monsoon.
Two large gyres, one in the northern hemisphere flowing clockwise and one south of the equator moving counter-clockwise constitute the dominant flow pattern. Note the directions shown in the circles

During the winter monsoon,  currents in the north are reversed, and blow inland instead of south into the Indian Ocean and ultimately into the Southern Ocean. In fact, it was as early as the first century A.D. that sailors and mariners first became aware of these monsoon winds as discussed in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, an Alexandrian guide to the world beyond the Red Sea, showing that Roman and Greek sailors were aware of these currents and winds.
    In a paper entitled Did Lehi Land in Chile? Frederick G. Williams III, a professor at Brigham Young University and a great great grandson of the former Williams and namesake, tried to piece together his great grandfather’s reasoning on the matter (BYU Department of Spanish and Portuguese). Whether such a thing is ever possible can ultimately only be considered speculation, especially when having nothing else to go upon but the written note stated in the previous post, and tries to use his statement to support his own belief in a Mesoamerican Land of Promise. 
    He speculates that since Chile is thirty degrees south latitude and Jerusalem is at approximately thirty degrees north latitude, both sites would have had a similar climate and may be why that destination was chosen. However, this is not accurate, since only western shores have a Mediterranean Climate, never eastern shores, and such reasoning could cause one to think that such a landing could have occurred at Porto Alegre, on the Atlantic Ocean shore which is also 30º south latitude—but then why not Ensenada in Baja California which is 32º north latitude, the exact latitude of Jerusalem? Or why not Jacksonville along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, which is 32º north latitude? Or why not New Orleans in the Gulf which is also 30º north latitude?
Köppen Climate Classification System

    Since Mediterranean Climates were not known in the 1830s, and the Köppen climate classification—one of the most widely used climate classification systems in existence—was not published until 1884 by Russian-German climatologist Vladimir Köppen, and which was altered with several changes to the classification system in 1954 and 1961. Actually, not until 1980 was the system totally refined. Thus, we find today that only five Mediterranean Climates exist outside of the Mediterranean Sea, and only two in the Western Hemisphere: one in the north around central and southern California, and one in the south, at 30º south Latitude along the Chilean Coast as Frederick G. Williams noted in the 1830s as Lehi’s landing site.--what an unbelievable stroke of luck that he would choose the only Mediterranean Climate in all of the Western Hemisphere where Lehi could have landed--and tht climate is what produced the abundant harvest (1 Nephi 18:24) Nephi writews about of their seeds brought from the Mediterranean Climate of Jerusalem.
    Not only is the climate such to have allowed the seeds Lehi brought from Jerusalem to have grown exceedingly and provided an abundant harvest, but this particular landing spot has all six of the circumstances needed, and the four that Nephi specifically writes about and would have had to exist for a landing to have occurred.
As winds and currents slow down at the 30º south latitude,  Nephi could have steered his vessel out of the fast-moving gyre current and drifted into the Bay

1. Winds and currents die down to almost nothing as winds moving south from the equator collide with winds moving north from the Antarctic, causing both to bounce upward, leaving a void along the coast at that point, allowing a previously 25mph wind to subside to almost nothing where Nephi could have steered his vessel into shore.
Coquimbo Bay today, a completely protected harbor in central Chile, one of the few along the entire west coast of South America

2. A bay large enough for protection from the winds and sea currents to allow a vessel to land its occupants safely. In fact, the name Coquimbo Bay means “peaceful waters.”
3. Once landed, this beach and land adjacent to the bay was a perfect location for “we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents (1 Nephi 18:23); and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23), including a fresh water river that empties into the bay.
4. This settlement area today is a thriving city called La Serena, with soils, soil groups, precipitation and temperature like that of Jerusalem for growing seeds from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24).
5. Next to this area is a huge forest, the largest rain forest in all of South America, large enough that both wild and feral animals could co-exist as Nephi claims (1 Nephi 18:25).
6. Also adjacent to this area are some of the largest and extensive gold, silver and copper mines in all of the Western Hemisphere, as Chile and Peru so happen to be one of the largest producers of gold, silver and copper in the world (1 Nephi 18:25).
Now the question that no one ever asks about this Williams’ note, is how could he possibly have known that this landing site was the perfect match, better than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, including Mesoamerica, and most certainly the Heartland or Eastern United States, of the scriptural account of what Nephi tells us they found where they landed
(1 Nephi 18:23-25).
In some manner, Williams, probably along with Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon discussed this landing site, which prompted Williams, the scribe of the group, and a close friend and confidant of Joseph Smith, to write down what was said—but how would any of these three have known about the 30º south latitude landing site so perfectly fitted not only to land a ship in along the west coast of South America where there are very few harbors, but for all the factors Nephi wrote about the landing site to have existed there. It is not as though the entire west coast of Chile or South America is conducive to landing a sailing ship in 600 B.C., in fact there are very few such landing sites along the entire coast of South America—much of it is cliffs and impossible to have landed a ship.
    While theorists with other axes to grind ridicule the Williams’ note as not being a revelation, we continue to ask how these three men knew of this area in the 1830s while spending their time in western New York around Lake Erie? 
    Who could have suggested such a perfectly fitted site?
    It is remarkable that this place was chosen to be discussed among these men. It is the only place along the entire west coast of South America where 1) a ship could be landed in the time frame of the Nephites, 2) was close enough to a settlement area where the aged and infirmed Lehi and Sariah could have managed to walk to, 3) had fresh water, 4) had a protected bay, 5) had a climate where seeds from Jerusalem would have grown exceedingly and produced an abundant harvest, 6) had a forest nearby as Nephi states, 7) where gold, silver and copper were located in great abundance.
    It is not easy to pick such a matching spot in an area unknown in the United States at the time, especially to such people as Williams, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
(See the next post, “Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part III,” for more information regarding how the Book of Mormon Land of Promise geography came about).

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