Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Apurímac or “Divine” River

To better understand the changes that have taken place in the area of Peru as a result of the Andean Uplift, it is important to consider the geomorphology or study of the origin of landforms of the Region—that is, the scientific study developed in late 19th century by the Harvard graduate William Morris Davis, an American geographer, geologist, geomorphologist and meteorologist, who is often called the “father of American geography.”
    Davis was a founder of the Association of American Geographers, and heavily involved with the National Geographic Society in its early years, writing a number of articles for the magazine. His works have dove-tailed compatibly with modern studies in tectonic theory, especially where tectonics are “cataclysmic.” In addition, his findings led to an understanding of the origin and evolution of topographic and bathymetric features created by physical, chemical or biological processes operating at or near the Earth's surface.
    Obviously, when the Uplift occurred in Andean Peru, it changed the entire surface of most of western South America and the Andes Shelf area, as described by Nephi, Samuel the Lamanite and the disciple Nephi in the scriptural record as illustrated in the previous two posts.
    Just as obviously, this science of landforms that has an emphasis on their origin, evolution, form, and distribution across the physical landscape would be essential to better understand what took place in Andean Peru, especially during the cataclysmic events outlined in 3 Nephi that affected the entire landscape. This knowledge and the studies behind it would be essential to the understanding of the physical geography of Andean Peru, and in a small way, of being better able to pinpoint, or at least intelligently consider, what happened to the landscape and what those results might have been.
    Recently, Sandra Villacorta, of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), and her colleagues who studied the dynamic geologic processes of the Apurímac Region, including the crustal tectonic rock cycle, resulting in the mapping and georeferencing of the processes involved. This work referenced the vulnerable areas for mass movements, especially in the Abancay, Andahuaylas or Chalhuanca districts in the area west of Cuzco, and extending south between that city and Ayacucho.
Red Circle: The Abancay, Andahuaylas and Chalhuanca Districts where the georeferencing processes are located, making this entire area a critical geologic zone, where major slides, flows and mountain movements have occurred
In this Apurímac region, thirty-two critical zones of direct geologic hazards of severe earth and mountain movement have been identified by INGEMMET, using geologic studies, satellite photography and extensive field work. While current work in the study is meant to relocate and prevent future loss of life from severe geologic damage, it is important to consider the overall area of geologic weakness as a historic factor in understanding the region roundabout the Apurímac River. This area of ancient removal deposits and unstable rock masses that underlie the current concerns for future damage to the area rests in the unstable area dating back into pre-historic times, no doubt clear to the period of the Andean Uplift.
    The geologic structural properties that make up this region may well have been permanently eroded due to the changes that took place during the Uplift some two thousand years ago, leading to the continuing and worsening instability of the region today. It should also be noted that the north and central parts of the Apurimac Region (shown in the red circle on map above), are more likely for the occurrence of landsides and earth movement today as a result of till movement and colluvial and till materials, mostly with steep slopes and substrates formed by slates, phyllites, limestones, sandstones with interbedded shales, siltstones and mudstones, and conglomerates, tuffs and pyroclastic rocks.
    It should be noted that, according to geologists, subduction orogeny (subduction zones developing belts of deformation in the overriding plate’s crust, which in part leads to mountain building, has been occurring since the establishment of the continental area of South America). These subduction zones, the area where an oceanic plate is being forced down into the mantle by plate tectonic forces, causing enormous friction between the plates, has resulted in a continuous movement of the continental area, both those parts above the surface and those beneath, throughout pre-historic times, as well as the more modern historic period.
    Showing that tectonic plate subduction is an ongoing process of learning, Dr. Sev Kener, from the University of Nottingham in Britain found that in plate tectonics, as opposed to the previously believed theory of long-time development of subducting crusts being induced, found that the crust can form spontaneously along a previous line of weakness without previously being uplifted, thus suggesting an immediate development of subduction not previously understood (Richard J. Arculus, et al, A Record of Spontaneous Subduction Initiation, Nature Geoscience Vol 8, 2015, pp728-733). Such understanding shows a remarkable change in thinking by scientists about the time involved in the subduction process.
The Mantle Plume shows how the plume forms and as it rises, drives the mantle upward, lifting the surface of the land upward

While it is understandable that the uninformed observer of geography considers landforms to have been fairly constant throughout history, these subductions occur because Earth has limited surface areas, convection and conduction of heat from the core as the Earth cools off means that denser basaltic ocean plates have to subduct until the oceanic crust is under a high enough pressure and temperature that minerals start to melt.
    This, of course, has caused the altering of plate tectonics, the continents, mountains, and topography of the Earth in general. Some areas, especially along the Pacific Rim where subduction occurs more readily, resulting in earthquakes and volcanic action, are far more active, and thus, far more altering than areas, such as Europe, Asia and Africa. Obviously the subduction Zone Physics, that is the sinking of the oceanic lithosphere (sediments, crust, mantle), by contrast of density between the cold and old lithosphere and the hot asthenospheric mantle wedge, while not the only one, is the strongest force to drive plate motion and is the dominant mode of mantle convection.
    It might also be stated that according to Eric Debayle, continental stability may be linked to a shallow, buoyant mantle layer, and the deepest craton roots can be destabilized and removed by mantle plumes. In fact, the great antiquity of craton keels implies  that the deep roots of the continents are stable and have largely been preserved from the erosive influence of mantle convection since their formation. However, the recent report shows that the deepest cratonic lithosphere can be removed when perturbed by mantle upwellings, challenging the classical view of stable cratonic roots. This suggests that the long-term stability of cratons is due to the shallower buoyant lithosphere only (Eric Debayle, “When Plume Tickle Continents,” News & Views, Nature Geoscience Vol 11, Macmillan Publishers, February 2018, 150-154).
    What this means, in brief, is that during the period of the crucifixion, the destruction resulting from the events triggered by the cataclysmic event caused the lower levels of the earth around what is now South America, due to these craton roots either being removed or modified by mantle plumes, creating a buoyant and shallow cratonic lithosphere (Jiashun Hu, et al., Modification of the Western Gondwana Craton by Plume,” Nature Geoscience, Vol 11, 2018, pp203-210).
    Thus, the South American continent rose higher from this fast-moving subduction, that forced mountains to rise out of level ground, previously just beneath the surface, into ranges “whose height is great,” as Samuel the Lamanite described the event. In a period of only three hours, God slammed tectonic plates into one another beneath this area, forcing the Andean Uplift or orogeny that rose sharp, angled breaks upward into 45 lofty heights of 20,000 feet to 22,000 feet peaks in Peru alone, and 251 over 18,000 feet in height along the entire Andes range.
     Indeed, the Lord put it in Samuel’s heart to describe this event as: “And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains 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, emphasis added).
    Now consider that there were already mountains of some degree in the Land of Promise before this time, for Samuel said, “there shall be mountains laid low, like unto a valley,” and Nephi said of his vision: “and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw the plains of the earth, that they were broken up” (1 Nephi 12:4); consequently, we can understand that the Land of Promise was made up of valleys and mountains prior to the crucifixion. Mountains, of course, from snow melt and mountain lakes cause rivers to flow, and as we understand before the crucifixion there was at least one river, the Sidon, in the Land of Promise.
    In fact, in Alma alone, “River Sidon” was mentioned 28 times, “Waters of Sidon” was mentioned 7 times, and “Head of Sidon” mentioned once, or 36 references to the Sidon were given.
    Thus, we can also suggest that the mountain arrangement that existed before the crucifixion, covering about 630 years of Nephite existence, caused a certain path or course for the River Sidon, which flowed or ran by the land of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15), in the Valley of Gideon east of the river Sidon (Alma 2:26-27), where the City of Gideon was in the Valley of Gideon, which was east of the river Sidon (Alma 6:7). In addition, the Hill Amnihu was also east of the river Sidon (Alma 2:15,17), and on the west of the River Sidon was a west valley (Alma 43:32). This is all important so we understand that the River Sidon did not run past the city Zarahemla itself, as most theorists claim, but in the borders of the land some distance eastward.
In addition, we find that according to Mormon’s description, as we have repeatedly covered in past articles, the head of the River Sidon was located “in the narrow strip of wilderness” (Alma 22:27) between the Land of Nephi to the south and the Land of Zarahemla to the north. However, for those who are still not convinced, let us cover and illustrate the meaning in this scripture:
    “And it came to pass that the [Lamanite] king sent a proclamation throughout all the land [Land of Nephi], amongst all his people who were in all his land [Land of Nephi}, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which [Land of Nephi} was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about [i.e., curved] on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which [narrow strip of wilderness] was on the north [within the narrow strip of wilderness] by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti [in this narrow strip of wilderness], by the head of the river Sidon [in this narrow strip of wilderness], running from the east [East Sea] towards the west [West Sea] -- and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided [by this narrow strip of wilderness].“
    Consequently, this narrow strip of wilderness, undoubtedly a mountainous range running from sea to sea, separated the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla, with the wilderness (that is, unoccupied land with no permanent buildings, structures and agriculture) turned northward along the east shore and the west shore, and in those wilderness areas along the shore were the more part of the idle Lamanites encamped in tents.
    Now in this range, was the headwater of the River Sidon, at least up until the crucifixion. At this time, as Samuel the Lamanite prophesied, the mountains would be laid low into valleys, while other mountains in other valleys would rise to great heights. This would have changed the headwater of the Sidon, perhaps pushing it further south to where higher, snow-capped mountains began draining their snowmelt into what became a river, or series of rivers, that gained momentum as they flowed downward from many thousands of feet in height to lower levels.
    This could have (speculative) resulted in what we now see as the Apurímac River, that flows northward from the Nevado Mismi mountain height in the Chila Mountain Range along a winding course all the way to the Amazonian Basin, which is barely above sea level even now, and into the Amazon River in its 4,000-mile flow to the Atlantic.
    While this is speculative about the Sidon, the science surrounding the idea is all factual, and could be the answer to the present location of the Sidon River. Only time, and more geologic studies and knowledge, will tell.

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