Friday, November 9, 2018

Change in Amazon Climate 2000 Years Ago – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding the development of the continent of South America, and specifically the current Amazonian Basin. Now, while archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, neotropical scientist, and, evidently, almost all scientists, regardless of their discipline, stumble when it comes to the age of the Brazilian Basin and surrounding basins being no older then 2000 years, the record they have uncovered suggests much the same thing—that is, 2000 years ago in the central South American continent something unusual took place.
    First of all, it should be noted that the Amazon Forest, contrary to popular belief, is highly susceptible to changes. According to a 30-year study, published in Science, provides the first solid evidence that drought caused massive carbon loss, mainly through kill trees. Professor Oliver Philips, from the University of Leeds, and the lead author of the research, notes that the team of 68 researchers across 13 countries and 40 institutions, noted that in normal years the forest absorbs nearly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, but the 2005 drought caused a loss of more than 3 billion tonnes, resulting in a total impact of 5 billion extra tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin

Analyzing data from 100,000 trees in 100 forest plots, the scientists found that a 100-millimeter, or 4-inch increase in water deficit triggered the loss of 2.7 tons of above-ground-forest carbon per hectare. Drought also affected the species composition of the forest. Some species, especially fast-growing, light-wooded trees, were particularly vulnerable to this reduced rainfall. As was stated, “The Amazon drought kills selectively and therefore may also alter species composition, pointing to potential consequences of future drought events on the biodiversity in the Amazon region (“Amazon Rainforest Carbon Sink Threatened by Drought,” Science Daily, Science News, University of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, March 9, 2009).
    With such susceptibility it is no wonder that when there was an environmental change about 2000 years ago recorded in the Amazonian biome that has led modern scientist studying the area to conclude that this event was the cause of the growing of the Amazon forest and the rainforest throughout the basin. As a matter of fact, according to an extensive report, resulting from a lengthy study of the Amazon Basin, John F. Carson and his team concluded that their work showed evidence “for forest expansion” over the existing savannas “2,000 years ago in northeast Bolivia,” which was their area of study of the Amazon Basin.
    Carson went on to say: “This study fundamentally changes our understanding of the magnitude and nature of pre-Columbian land use in the Amazon region.” They further concluded that prior to the growing of the forests, the land was covered with expanding savannas throughout central Brazil, and their belief that the presence of regionally extensive pre-Columbian geometric earthworks underlying the seasonal southern Amazonian rainforests was suggestive of large-scale historical deforestation by substantial populations.
One of the Ring Ditches uncovered when the forest trees were removed during deforestation. The start of the Amazon Forest is believed to  have begun around 2000 years ago

These earthworks, uncovered by modern deforestation, are thought to represent only a fraction of the total, which they claim lies undiscovered beneath the intact Seasonal Southern Amazonian Ranforests, a subregion of 621,371-million miles, which constitutes one-fifth of the Amazon basin. In addition, it is believed these findings show a predictable (latitude-dependent) pattern of vegetation dynamics following the end of the previous period.  And as Carson has readily proclaimed, “However, in many regions, a lack of appropriately scaled paleoecological data means that we have no paleoenvironmental context in which to place these societies and assess their environmental impacts.”
    While these and other scientists have predictably built a developing scenario for the region dating back thousands of years, the point is that whatever existed before, the land was considered a flat, low-lying plain within the huge Amazon Basin. Vegetation was limited, and there were no trees, which mark this area, according to them, since about 2000 years ago.
    Carson and his team went on to conclude that “Although there certainly exist cases in which forests and savannas have been stable over time, consideration of these dynamic environments is relevant.” They list two basic reason why this relevancy is claimed—first, “they represent ecotones or transition zones, where vegetation responses to climate fluctuations should be more pronounced,” and secondly, “these are regions where forests have expanded despite significant increases in human occupation, evidenced by charcoal particles in sedimentary records,” which obviously imply frequent fires during the period.   Thus it has been concluded that forest expansion occurred in response to changes in climate despite increased anthropogenic disturbance, and that the findings suggest a regional to continental process defined by limits of modern biomes.”
    The significance of this discovery of extensive geometric earthworks beneath apparently pristine rainforest across southern Amazonia has not only led to serious debate among scientists, but opened the door to other scenarios beyond the purview of today’s scientists. As an example when these scientists state: “Notably, changes in vegetation structure are typically accompanied by changes in floristic composition, soil fertility, and faunal distribution,” they are totally incapable of comparing that data against a different scenario than that of an existing landform, rather than to apply it against a newly arising landform. In both instances, the result applies, for an emerging landform from beneath the surface, especially if it was not very deeply submerged, would provide new growth, showing different or new floristic composition, vegetation structure and regeneration of plant species. In addition, where the species abundance would have been minimal before this time, the composition would have increased dramatically after the Basin rose and plants and life began to grow and develop under normal, but heightened circumstances.
    As an example, based upon differences between communities in equitability of abundance of species, we find that communities in salt marshes have species that are poor and characterized by a very skewed pattern in abundance, possibly owing to periodic disturbance by seawater. On the other hand, in structurally complex fen systems, species are rich and have a more even community abundance pattern, possibly owning to a fine partitioning of available niches.
Open Fenland, a natural marshy waterlogged, lowland habitat composed of tall grasses and sedge growing in shallow water and found mostly around the coast or near salt-water seas 

That is, the abrupt change from seawater to freshwater, from wet to dry, from sun-baked to shady beneath a growing canopy, all establish an environment where enormous growth occurs. It should also be noted that when species have a longevity in an undisturbed area, their number grows exponentially, dividing and subdividing into numerous groupings, with numerous differences that eventually lead to differing classifications. Where this division doesn’t take place, in disruptive, challenging environments, numbers remain low in species, though growth in numbers within the species still occurs. Thus studies show that hypothetical species abundance distributions illustrate the differences in species abundance distribution between, say a salt marsh where 15 species show quite unequal abundances and a fen system where the same number of individuals is distributed more equally over twice as many species (Wilco C. E. P. Verberk, Aquatic Ecologist, Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth, Nijmegen, Netherlands, in Explaining General Patterns in Species Abundance and Distributions, Scitable, Nature Education, vol.3, no.10, Nature Publishing Group, Springer, Germany, 2011, p38). 
    Two thousand years ago, according to the Disciple Nephi, the entire “face of the whole land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12), meaning the area of the Land of Promise and that area around it. Earthquakes rocked the Land of Promise for three hours (3 Nephi 8:19), in which “the whole earth became deformed” from “the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12,17). It was a horrendous event, the likes of which had never before been seen in the land (3 Nephi 8:5), with buildings toppling and land forms sinking, swallowing up entire cities (3 Nephi 8:14). At least one city sank into the depths of the sea, as the eastern shore disappeared, toppling the great city of Moroni into the ocean (3 Nephi 8:9), and also burying the cities of Onihah, Mocum and Jerusalem beneath the waters (3 Nephi 9:7). In yet another case the city of Moronihah was buried as the earth shot upward forming a mountain, completely covering the city beneath (3 Nephi 8:10), and also the city of Gilgal was buried in the depths of the earth (3 Nephi 9:6), as well as the cities of Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob, and Gimgimno were also buried in the earth (3 Nephi 9:8).
    In addition, fires ran rampant over the land, destroying the cities of Jacobugath, Josh Gad, and Kishkumen (3 Nephi 9:9-10). In fact, ranges of mountains shot upward during that three hours “whose height was great” (Helaman 14:23). Other existing mountains tumbled into pieces and the flat plains were broken up (1 Nephi 12:4), and the vast road system of the Nephites across the level plains were broken up (Helaman 14:24), as many areas were disrupted and broken up (1 Nephi 12:4; 3 Nephi 8:13), and “many great and notable cities” were sunk and others shaken till the buildings toppled and fell to the earth (3 Nephi 8:13).
    During this three hours of the earth shaking and trembling, “many mountains were laid low, like unto a valley” (Helaman 14:23), with the flattened earth, valleys and plains disrupted as “the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up” (Helaman 14:21), and “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 8:18).
The immense Amazon Basin, covering 2.9 million square miles, where all rivers to the east of the continental divide along the crest of the Andes, flows to the east, with 1100 tributaries draining into the Amazon River 

This is when the Lord brought about the vast changes in the Land of Promise and the land about it, of which the prophets testified, causing the increased subduction of the tectonic plates, which elevated the central continental land, draining the inner seas, and lifting the Andes Belt upward and the mountains to great heights. This is when the immense Amazon Basin, once filled with the sea, upward, emerging above the waters, so that the vast Amazon forests grew, covering millions of square miles. This latter event, according to modern scientific studies as discussed in this three-part article, occurred about two thousand years ago. Some might call that a coincidence, while the rest of us call that planned and carried out by the Divine Hand.

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