Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Darwin and How We Know Where Lehi Landed – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding Charles Darwin’s comments about what he found at La Serena, Chile, that supports the Book of Moron and Lehi’s landing site.
Santiago, Chile, and Mendoza, Argentina, are connected by Portillo Pass through Cordillera de los Andes, where Darwin found sea shells at 13,000 feet that had once been at sea level
First it should be noted from the previous article that in Darwin’s finding of sea shells at 13,000 feet in the Andes Mountains halfway between Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina, that were once on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, we see a connection to the Book of Mormon. When the mountains rose as Samuel recorded, “and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
Only the Himalayas have a greater height than the South American Andes, which are the highest in the western hemisphere, and the longest continental mountain range in the world--which means they cover the entire land and would have been seen throughout the Land of Promise

It is interesting that Darwin not only concluded that the mountains where he stood had risen 13,000 feet from sea level, but that the ocean receded to the east more than a thousand miles. Thus we see that not only did mountains of great height rise out of the “island” of South America to become a vast mountain chain extending thousands of miles, but also that mountains of great height rose out of valleys in the Land of Promise as described in the Book of Mormon.
The Amazon Basin is larger than the lower 48 states in the U.S.

In addition, this Basin is a low, flat plain throughout the entire Amazon Basin, and is an area larger than the size of the lower 48 states of the U.S., at about four million square miles (compared to 3,119,884 of the U.S.) The terrain is mostly uniform consisting of flat forested plains dissected by large rivers which are characterized by endless meanders, frequent oxbows, and thousands of tiny streams, all of which flood annually.
The low, flat plain of the Amazon Basin

All of this is so low, even today, that it is under water around six months of the year when the waters rise across this endless plain.
    Obviously, when the Basin came up out of the sea and the Andes rose during the three hours of earthquakes that struck the Land of Promise following the crucifixion (3 Nephi 8:19), it would have been visible all over the Land of Promise. In fact, Samuel tells us that “these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” (Helaman 14:28, emphasis).
    That is, the mountains rose from valleys to such a height that they were visible all over the Land of Promise in this majestic manner that no one in the land could disbelieve that what they saw was brought about by the Lord with the intent that whosoever would believe might be saved, and that whosoever would not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them; and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation” (Helaman 14:29).
The Potillo Pass at 13000 feet

The view from the high pass perched in the heart of the Andes is breathtaking, with the snow-capped peaks and unknown valleys extending as far as the eye can see. The winding trail that descends to the Valle del río Tunuyán is the only mark of centuries of human transit.
    As Darwin himself found the sea shells at 13,000 feet above sea level that caused him to ponder how marine fossils existed so far inland and at such high altitudes. Darwin concluded that the southern region of South America must have been submersed in the ocean before being elevated above water. Deposits of ocean sediment in the valleys between the Andean peaks inspired the idea that, for a time, the apexes of the range were individual islands in the southern ocean, and only the continuous process of elevation brought them to their contemporary grandeur.
    Plate tectonics, the modern theory that explains how mountain ranges are raised by the collision and subduction of huge pieces of the lithosphere, did not fully develop until the early 1960s, but the observations of nineteenth century naturalists like Darwin brought such fundamental questions to the fore.
    What Darwin and other naturalists and geologists have never understood is that in some cases, like the Andes Mountains, the Lord was involved, and in this case, that involvement took place following the crucifixion and happened over night not millions of years.
    Now, as for the planting climate, Darwin commented that “With any slight rain, the farmers immediately break ground with a second planting of their corn; and if a third shower falls, will in the spring reap a good harvest.” He added that “It was curious to witness the effect of this trifling amount of moisture; the ground scarcely damp twelve hours afterwards, yet on the 27th an interval of 10 days, all the hills were tinged green in patches, the grass being sparingly scattered in hair-like fibers a full inch long, but before this every part was as destitute of Vegetation as a turnpike road.”
The Elqui Valley ‘ La Serena on the east and stretches outward into the hills and between the mountains. It was and still is known for its clean skies, even temperature and Mediterranean climate. Today, as in the time of Darwin, the area is filled with farms, grain crops and fruit orchards as well as extensive grape vineyards  

Darwin also wrote of his journey from Coquimbo, through La Serena, and up the Elqui Valley: “Leaving Don Josè behind I travelled a day’s ride further up where the R. Claro River joins the Elqui — I had heard of petrified shells & beans, the former turned out true, the latter small white quartz pebbles. We passed through several small villages; the valley was beautifully cultivated and the whole scenery very grand. We were here near the main Cordillera, the surrounding hills being very lofty. In all parts of Northern Central Chili, the fruit trees produce much more abundantly at a considerable elevation near the Andes. The figs & grapes of Elqui are famous for their superiority and are cultivated to a great extent. This valley is perhaps the most productive one to the North of Quillota.”
    This Elqui Valley is where most of the fruit comes from that is enjoyed in the U.S. during the winter months. It is also a Mediterranean Climate—only one of two in the entire Western Hemisphere (the other is in central and southern California)—and a perfect place where “seeds brought from Jerusalem,” a Mediterranean Climate, would have grown in 600 B.C. without “modern” or advanced farming techniques (even today seed packets tell you where the seeds will and will not grow according to climate).
Elqui Valley, with a Mediterranean Climate like the adjacent La Serena is a farmer’s paradise. The Elqui River flows through the valley, bringing ice melt water down from the Andes year round on its run to the Pacific Ocean
It is also interesting to note that Darwin wrote of the discoveries he made regarding the sea shells so far inland from the beaches, “The terraces were indeed uplifted sea beaches, this being clear proof of his by now mature view of South America as a continent rising from the ocean.”
    Before this, he had trekked over the Andes from Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza, Argentina, and discovered numerous ocean sea shells at the high altitudes of the mountains, which he noted was clear evidence that the Andes had once been at sea level, and also noted the stepped levels of Patagonia (southern Chile) had been pushed up in series from beneath the sea.
    Thus, we can see, that while the winds and ocean currents are now known to every mariner and available for study in any detailed Atlas, and the Valdivian Forest bordering La Serena and southward is also detailed in any forestry Atlas, Darwin has verified the other two items listed above about the seeds and ore described by Nephi (and also that the Andes and southern Chile were once under the sea and had risen up, suggesting the western coastal area had once been an island).
    It is not difficult to see that these descriptions match in great detail Andean South America and verify all that we have shown about Lehi’s landing site along the west coast of Chile near the 30º South Latitude, where all the above took place and is found naturally in the region.,

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