Thursday, November 22, 2018

Were There Other Cities Vacated by the Nephites at the Time Mosiah I Left the Land and City of Nephi – Part X

Continued from the previous post, regarding the ancient settlements that were built by early Peruvians along the ancient road that ran from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca, and continuing with the south lake area and the ancient site of Tiwanaku and Pumapunku.
    South of Titicaca is the southern Altiplano—a high plateau between the eastern and western chains or cordilleras of the Andes—and stretches 500 miles to the Chilean and Argentine borders—an area likely to have been the Land of Lehi between the time of Lehi’s landing and the settlement of the Nephites in the north.
    From Titicaca, the Desaguadero (“Outlet,” “Drain”) River flows through the border town of the same name and southward through Lake Aguallamaya and on toward Lakes Uru-Uru and Poopó. It eventually becomes the Chadileo River, a Mapuche term meaning “Salty River,” and in Spanish is called “Río Salado,” which is the same meaning, even though its tributaries are ice-thaw-fed rivers, suggesting the depth of saline content in the river leaving Titicaca. As mentioned earlier, south of Lake Poopó, are the salt flats of Uyuni, Coipasa, Empexa, Carcote and numerous others.
Salar de Uyumi (or Salar de Tunupa) are salt flats along the southern Altiplano south of Lake Poopó stretching more than 6,518 square miles, showing the thick crust of salt extending to the horizon, covered by quilted, polygonal patterns of salt rising from the ground

The single southern drain of Lake Titicaca is the Desaguadero River, draining approximately five percent of the lake's flood waters into 133-square mile Lake Uru-Uru and then into 390-square-mile Lake Poopó, the latter a large, very shallow endorheic saline lake located in a shallow depression at about 12,100 feet on the Altiplano in Bolivia. South of Lake Poopó are the salares, two big salt fields, Salar de Coipasa and Salar de Uyuni. Anciently, both lakes Poopó and Titicaca covered a much larger area, and the lower part of the Altiplano was one huge lake and wetland including the salt flats and Lake Poopó, and reaching north almost up to Titicaca. As the lower lake receded, and as Titicaca drained off its excess water the level of Lake Titicaca dropped so much that the southern Titicaca basin, Lake Huinaimarca, was separated from the main part of the lake.
    Before this, Lake Poopó covered a much larger area and included Lake Uru-Uru, and the inflow from Lake Titicaca was such, the Poopó overflowed its bounds and filled the lower Basin—being saline (sea or ocean salt), as the lake received less and less from Titicaca, the lower area dried up, forming the distinct and incredible salares, which occur when pools of salt water, which contain LiCl (Lithium chloride), accumulate in basins that lack drainage outlets, allowing the water to gradually evaporate and leave dense layers of salt behind.
    Both these saline lakes and the entire Poopó Basin, are surrounded by two mountain chains of the Andes. The eastern mountain region, which occupies about 40% of the total, ranges in altitude between 12,500 feet and 16,400 feet elevation, with the western mountain region. occupying only a small part of the basin at an altitude up to 15,750 feet, and an inter-Andean flat area, constituting half of the Poopó basin at 12,140 to 12,500 feet. There are 22 intermittent rivers flowing into the Titicaca Basin, which originate in the mountains surrounding the lake and dry out in the dry season each year, with all the water used for water supply and released to Lake Poopó only during very rainy seasons.
The soil of the Altiplano is heterogeneous sedimentary infill. It has a fluvial lacustrine and alluvial origin, meaning the soil was at one time heavily inundated with water, runoff, or settlement. These soils in the mountainous areas are shallow and not well developed, while the soils along the rivers and on the hillsides have a higher level of genesis or development, meaning its formation as affected by the area in which it exists and the history that affected the area.
Shallow Lake Poopó seen from the south eastern shore near the village of Llapallapani

Also, along the shores of Lake Poopó the soil is saline with a thin layer of salt deposited on top of the sediments. These are areas of little vegetation, occasionally covered by latifolia herbaceous vegetation, or perennial type ground cover with no woody stems above ground, and other vegetation consisting of tropical alpine herbs with dwarf shrubs, which changes with the increased aridity towards the south of the highland plateau. In addition, the Altiplano soil has a compact structure, which impedes infiltration, meaning it is a heavily compacted soil that has a reduced rate of both water infiltration and drainage—a type often found where water has long stood and saturated the ground.
    The point of all of this is to show the evidence available which supports that this entire Altiplano—the most extensive high plateau on Earth outside Tibet—at one time was at a much lower elevation, with the entire alluvial plain originally submerged for a time beneath vast waters and now an immense deposit of clay, silt, sand, and gravel left by flowing streams in a river valley or delta, or submerged in a sea typically producing fertile soil now seen at 12,500 feet in an arid, cool dry climate. In fact, travel except by car through this area of the salt flats is highly restricted, with extremely cold nights and long distances where little or no flora or fauna exist.
    In addition, it is important to keep in mind that when Nephi fled from his brothers and settled in the land they called Nephi (2 Nephi 5:8), and built a city, including a temple that rivaled that of Solomon’s in Jerusalem (2 Nephi 5:16), he notes that “they prospered exceedingly and multiplied in the land” (2 Nephi 5:13). How long it took the Nephites to expand into other areas than that of this initial area and settlement is not stated directly, however, two hundred years later, Jacob’s grandson states that the Nephites “were scattered upon much of the face of the land“ (Jarom 1:5), and that they had numerous battles with the Lamanites and “withstood the Lamanites and swept them away out of our lands,” and that they then “began to fortify our cities, or whatsoever place of our inheritance” (Jarom 1:7).
    Obviously, as the scriptural record indicates, the Nephites during the four hundred years before Mosiah I, had built other cities, towns and villages, with numerous settlements in the land they called Nephi. What happened to all these sites and their occupants during those last 100 to 200 years or so, is only alluded to, but that it was a constant battle to keep the Nephites faithful is shown by Jarom, who stated: “And it came to pass that the prophets of the Lord did threaten the people of Nephi, according to the word of God, that if they did not keep the commandments, but should fall into transgression, they should be destroyed from off the face of the land” (Jarom 1:10-12). Their prophets, priests and teachers labored diligently, exhorting the Nephites to “look forward unto the Messiah,” and in “so doing kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land” (Jarom 1:11-12).
However, what followed in the next two hundred years were “seasons of peace and seasons of serious war and bloodshed,” Omni 1:3). By the time of Amaron, the son of Omni, three hundred and twenty years after the Nephites landed in the Land of Promise, or since Lehi left Jerusalem, “the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed” (Omni 1:5), for “the Lord did visit them in great judgment, but did spare the righteous that they should not perish” (Omni 1:7).
    Three generations later the prophet Amaleki, who left the land of Nephi with Mosiah and those who would go with him, tells us that the Lord commanded Mosiah to “flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness” (Omni 1:12).
    The question remains, that while Mosiah and those who went with him were “through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:13), what was happening back in the Land of Nephi, to all those sites the Nephites had built and occupied for hundreds of years, that no doubt had been built as fortresses against the constant Lamanite excursions into the land to battle and war with the Nephites.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo on this entire series. I loved it. The entire area of cities you covered along the road between Cusco and Titicaca is a perfect fit for the Nephite nation those first few hundred years. And the salty Altiplano is one of the biggest evidences of the recent rise of the Andes. Hidden in plain sight.