Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Land of Promise – Part X: Availability of Gold, Silver and Copper

Continued from the previous post regarding why we need to understand the writings of the early prophets regarding the geographical setting of the Land of Promise to better understand the application of the scriptural record today.
    With so many theorist promoting their own beliefs as to the location of the Land of Promise, there is one sure way to determine if an area actually was the land promised by the Lord to Lehi and his descendants (2 Nephi 1:5), and that is to match a location to the scriptural record. One of these simple factors would be the quantity of gold, silver, copper and other metals found within its borders, both in the Land Northward and in the Land Southward. Not only found there, but found in large quantities (Alma 1:29).
A multicolored copper iron sulfide mineral called Peacock Ore

There was also “all manner of ore” and “all manner of metals” (Ether 10:23), including there being plenty of iron, which in turn was used to make steel (Jarom 1:8, Mosiah 11:3). There was also zinc needed to make brass (Mosiah 8:10; 11:3,8,10).
    It should be noted, that for the North American theorists, including the Great Lakes and Heartland, gold and silver is not found abundantly. In fact, according to Gold Rush Nuggets, there are “very few historic reports of gold discoveries exist[ing] within the state of New York,” which is noy only the home of the hill Cumorah, as well as the area of the theorists’ Land Southward.
• Gold: In the U.S., all of the 2018 gold production came from just 24 states, with 81% of of all gold being mined in Nevada. Of the 10 states within the Heartland and Great Lakes theorists’ Land of Promise, only 70,000 troy ounces, about 2½ U.S. ton were produced. Compare that to the entire country of Peru, less in size than these 10 states, produced 162 ton. In addition, the Andean area, including Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia, produced a total of 230 ton, making this region the fourth largest producer in the world, behind China, Australia and Russia.
• Silver: As for silver, the United State produces 980 tons annually. Compare that to silver in Peru, 4,300 tons, Chile, 1,300 tons, and Bolivia 1,200 tons, whose combined total amounts to more than 1/3 of the world’s silver production. In the U.S. Alaska amounts for half of the silver produced in the U.S. today, and over the last 250 years, 75% of all silver produced in the United States came from only five states; California, Colorado, South Dakota, Alaska and Nevada. Of the 11 states that have produced almost all of the silver since that time, not one is in the Heartland or Great Lakes areas.
• Copper: As for copper, the total produced in the entire U.S. was 1.27 million ton. Compare that to Chile, which produced 5.8 million ton, and Peru which produced 2.4 million ton. It should be noted that the Andean area producing 9.7 million ton annually, is more than 2 million ton more than the next eight countries combined.
    On the other hand, only 27 states in the U.S. produced copper, of which only four are in the theorists’ land of promise areas. Michigan, is by far, the largest producer of copper in the U.S., producing 95% of the nation’s copper, with the metal found almost exclusively in the western portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. On the other hand, Missouri produced small amounts of copper, New York produced little copper, and Pennsylvania produced a little byproduct copper. There was no copper produced through Illinois, Indian, Ohio, Kansas, and Kentucky.
Iron ore in the mountain ranges of northwest Michigan, Minnesota and Canada

• Iron: As for iron ore in the U.S., most comes from Minnesota and Michigan, with 70% from the Mesabi Range northwest of Duluth in Minnesota, with a goodly amount from the Marquette Range in upper Michigan. Several other mines have been shut down in Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. It should be noted that not one of these ranges and mines or iron deposits are actually in the Great Lakes theory area of the Land of Promise, nor that of the Heartland.
    The great bulk of iron ore mined in the U.S. is mined in Minnesota, though prior to 1850, most was in eastern Pennsylvania and New York, and northern New Jersey (John S. Brown, "Ore deposits of the northeastern United States," in John D. Ridge (ed.), Ore Deposits of the United States, 1933–1967, New York: American Institute of Mining Engineers, 1970, pp2–4).
    It might be noted that Brazil is the third largest producer of iron ore in the world, producing 428 million tons annually, with Peru and Chile producing 2.7 million ton.
    Consequently, it is not possible to suggest that the Heartland or Great Lakes areas would qualify for the land promised to Lehi by the Lord, which land was abundant with gold, silver, copper.
    As discussed in the previous post, there is no question that copper was both evident and plentiful in antiquity in the theorists’ Land of Promise of the Great Lakes. There was also sufficient iron to satisfy those references (2 Nephi 5:15; Jarom; 1:8; Mosiah 11:3,8; Ether 10:23)
Both of these metals exist in the Great Lakes area, specifically around Lake Superior.
The Copper Belt on the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the Marquette Iron Range with two current Iron Mines that have been operating continuously since 1847

As can be seen, the Great Lakes had plenty of copper, some claim a billion tons was anciently extracted, and sufficient iron; however, what about the other metals mentioned in the scriptural record, such as gold and silver?
    In Jaredite times in the Land Northward, “they did dig it out of the earth…they cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold and of silver (Ether 10:23).  In the Land Southward in Nephite times, gold and silver were in “great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15). It was also said that the Nephites “became exceedingly rich in gold and in silver” (Jarom 1:8). Gold and silver were also used to decorate temples, synagogues and palaces (Mosiah 11:9), and also pure gold was used for ornamentation (Mosiah 11:11). Gold and silver were some of the precious cargo that Limhi and the Nephites carried with them when escaping the city of Nephi with Ammon (Mosiah 22:12). They had gold and riches (Mosiah 4:19), and an abundance of gold and silver (Alma 1:29). Gold was part of their monetary system (Alma 11:3-10), as was silver, and made up a lot of their jewelry (Alma 31:28), and became so important to thee Nephites that they became proud in their own eyes (Alma 4:6). 
    Now with all this gold, and its extreme importance and quantity in the land, one would expect any Land of Promise to have gold in abundance. However, the Great Lakes, as well as the Heartland is almost bereft of gold and silver, and in no wise reflects the condition of the Land of Promise as described in the scriptural record, both with the Jaredites in the Land Northward and the Nephite in the Land Southward.
The Brule River to Marquette, the Copper and Iron ore region of Lake Superior

It should also be noted that the copper in the Great Lakes is mostly around the southern shores of Lake Superior, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan south into Wisconsin and the Brule River.
    This is an area that is 668 miles from Marquette Michigan, in the Iron Range, to Buffalo, New York. Or 769 miles from the copper area of Houghton on the Keweenah Peninsular to Buffalo, which is the theorists separation point between the Land Northward and the Land Southward.
    This is a considerable distance to move native ore—copper—from its source to the northern border of the Nephite lands, which is hardly the understanding we get from Nephi and Jarom as well as Mormon in their descriptive writings, since Nephi and Jarom would not have known about the Land Northward, nor anything within its confines though they both spoke of abundant gold, silver and copper in the land.
    The point of all this is to show that despite all the rhetoric from Meldrum, Neville, May and others about the Land of Promise being in the Heartland or Great Lakes area, the fact of the matter is none of these areas where they place the Nephites and Jaredites except in the extreme northern boundaries of the latter, had copper or iron in abundance, and gold and silver simple did not exist in any quantity at all that matches the many scriptural references.
     It is one thing to look on a map and place lands here and there, but something else entirely for those lands to match the scriptural descriptions of the land the Lord promised to Lehi and his descendants.

1 comment:

  1. There needs to be a Book of Mormon geography symposium sponsored by some neutral group. Each "camp" proposing a model can come and present it's case. And then there can be a debate among all the camps. And at the end have all those that came to the symposium, or saw it over the internet, vote on each model.