Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Inquiry about Land of Promise – Part III

Continuing with the inquiry of Tyrus regarding questions about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. In the previous post, we responded last to the damages of earthquakes and tsunamis regarding 3 Nephi.
     More of Tyrus’ questions:
7) “You say the wind would take Nephi south to go below Australia and the currents would eventually take him to South America, but the land Bountiful on the Arabian Peninsula is so green because of the monsoon winds that blow northeast coming off the coast of Africa.”
During the monsoon months, wet winds move toward India for six months (and out to sea the other six months), bringing heavy rainfall to the Himalaya Mountains—as the air moves inland it absorbs additional moisture and as it moves up the mountains it loses all its moisture, leaving the land dry and warm

Response: First of all, the word “monsoon” means “a major wind system that seasonally reverses its direction,” and are not connected to other monsoon areas, but limited to their own wind system. The most prominent monsoons occur in four distinct and totally separate areas: South Asia (Arabian Peninsula), Africa, Australia, and the Pacific coast of Central America. Monsoonal tendencies also are apparent along the Gulf Coast of the United States and in central Europe; however, true monsoons do not occur in those regions.
    Second, the monsoons of Africa are not the same as the monsoons of the coastal area of the northern Indian Ocean, which affect the Arabian Peninsula where Lehi embarked. It might also be noted that the monsoons of Australia have an effect on another part of the Indian Ocean, below Indonesia.
    Third, the African monsoons effect an area 9º and 20º north and characterized by winds that blow southwesterly during warmer months and northeasterly during cooler months of the year. Although areas just outside of this region also experience wind reversals, the influence of the monsoon declines with increasing distance. Thus, the African monsoon winds have no effect on the other side of the Atlantic in the Indian Ocean, which has its own monsoon systems.
    Fourth, the Indian monsoon is the most prominent of the world’s monsoon systems, which primarily affects India and its surrounding water bodies, including the southern coastal area of the Arabian Peninsula. These monsoon winds blow from the northwest during cooler months and reverses direction to blow from the southwest during the warmest months of the year.
    The greenery in the area of Salalah, and the area Lehi called Bountiful, is the result of the monsoons that blow from the southwest in the Indian Ocean and onto the land, called the Khareef Season in Arabic. It is mostly known in India, where it does enormous damage each year with floods. During the opposite season, when the winds reverse and blow out to sea is when they blow to the southwest and took Lehi’s ship on the course we have illustrated numerous times in this blog.
8) “Wouldnt this have blown them along the coast of Asia/India and eventually taken them north of Australia where they could have caught a current to someplace north of Chile/Peru?”
    Response: The other monsoon area is around Australia and just north of there—the area you target for a ship to pass through to the Pacific. Three things cause a problem with this scenario:
The cycling of a Pacific Ocean circulation pattern known as the Southern Oscillation in which a surface low pressure develops in the region of northern Australia and Indonesia and a high pressure system over the coast of Peru causing the Trade Winds over the Pacific Ocean to move strongly from east to west

1. The Malaysian-Australian Monsoon. These winds blow southeast into the land, or reverse to blow northwest into Indonesia. Neither direction could take Lehi’s ship where you suggest.
Winds blow off the Pacific from east to west through Indonesia and into the Indian Ocean

2. The western wind blow winds off the Pacific Ocean into and through Indonesia precludes any sailing ship “driven forth before the wind” from moving eastward through Indonesia.
3. This is a route that has never been established in the age of sailing due to the problems with the double monsoon winds working against that direction, and the Pacific winds blow against entering the Pacific.
     The final problem is, even if you could get to the east of Australia, which the above shows would not be possible in Lehi’s ship, you would be picked up by the South Pacific Gyre which would drop you down to the Southern Ocean and across and up the coast of Chile.
9) “This would also allow them to make stops along the way to resupply.”
    Response: Obviously, you have not been reading what has been extensively written on this subject. Island hopping presents two problems (other than the winds and currents simply would not allow that for a ship “driven forth before the wind”):
Any area within 100 miles of shore is referred to as the “Danger Zone,” because visible rocks, reefs, sand spits, and uncovered rock that can rip holes in the hull; the area closer to shore is called the “nearshore” where currents are caused by wave action, such as eddies or overfalls, tide changes, swells, sudden heavy surf, irregular bottom, and tide race and streams which are typically quite tricky for a sailing ship

1. Maneuvering a large, deep-ocean vessel through the coral reefs, sand spits, rock shelves, submerged rocks, etc., to land within a protected area of an island takes a great deal of skill with a ship whose motivation is simply wind and currents. Nephi and his family had no sailing skill and were dependent on instruction—the dangers, difficulties and problems that would arise are overwhelming.
Note the dangerous shoals and reefs surrounding each of these South Pacific Islands, which is typical of islands in the South Pacific

2. Can’t you just see the rebellious Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael seeing an opportunity to gain control of the ship with land in sight and either landing and staying on a beautiful South Seas island or trying to return to Jerusalem?
    Remember, we are not talking about a small Polynesian canoe, we are talking about a 100-ton sailing ship that goes where wind and currents take it, like a small piece of wood you put in a gutter stream as a child and watched the current take it down the street.
10) “Plus, the map of wind currents you show on the blog shows the Earth as it is today, with a fully formed South American continent. If the world looked as you suggest in 600BC, South America would have been a small, skinny island. The wind and ocean currents would have been completely different under those circumstances.”
    Response: You need to study winds and currents more. They are dependent upon gravity (rotation of the Earth), the moon and somewhat the sun, the Coriolis Effect, and the placement of land masses (not size, but land mass—a skinny island effects the winds and currents much like a continent as long as the shore line is about the same). After all, the winds and currents in the Sea of Arabia and Indian Ocean are not affected by the limitation of South America as an island; the Pacific and Southern Oceans are not affected, the latter because it movement is affected by land masses to obstruct is circumpolar route, the Pacific because the Humbolt Current would still move northward along Chile and South America. The only change would be the missing connection of Panama and that effects only the pass-through (Central American Seaway) to the Caribbean Sea by the Pacific at the area of the Pacific Ocean counter current which would then have passed on through where Panama is now connected, effecting only the current Panama Gulf and Channel and the currents around the Cocos Islands and the currents flowing past the Colombian Trench, forcing the currents around this area into a north-south flow, instead of an east-west flow, causing a change in temperature along the southern half of Central America and within the Caribbean Sea. The biggest change is found in the Gulf Stream of the mid- to northern Atlantic, which would have totally had no effect on the Pacific Currents used by Lehi’s course. It also brought about the Great American Interchange—movement of animals north and south in the Americas.
    We might also add that this change no doubt had an effect on creating or worsening the Atacama Desert, and area that may well have been verdant like most of western South America prior to the rising of the Andes. However, it would not have affected the currents as we now see them along the path Lehi would have taken.

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