Saturday, October 10, 2020

Where Exactly, Was Lehi's Land of Promise? – Part III

 Continued from the previous post below about a brief and simple understanding regarding how Lehi reached the Land of Promise, and where exactly it was located. Continuing from the section on “seeds” begun in the last post.

• The Growing of Their Seeds:  Bringing seeds from the area of Jerusalem to be planted in the new world was an act that both Nephi and the Jaredites were commanded to do.  It was to be their staple, their initial means of existence in a new land.  Fifteen hundred years after the Lehi Colony, the Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock and were nearly wiped out from starvation when their seeds did not grow sufficiently to harvest crops.  Had it not been for the gift of the Indians, the Pilgrims would have died out, unable to support themselves from the seeds they had brought from Europe.  Thus, it should be kept in mind that seeds do not grow just anywhere, especially, as Nephi stated, exceedingly (1Nephi 18:24) and in abundance (2 Nephi 5:11).

It might be well, therefore, to take a look at the climate, temperature and soils in which the Jerusalem seeds would have grown exceedingly, giving the Lehi Colony food in abundance.

• Climate of Palestine: Palestine has a Mediterranean Sub-tropical climate.  Outside the Mediterranean area, only four other places on earth have the same climate as that of Jerusalem. Those locations are:

Southern California (northern latitude)

Southern tip of Africa (southern latitude)

Southern tips of Australia (southern latitude)

Chile - around La Serena (southern latitude)

Of these four areas, only one, Chile, matches all the requirements indicated by Nephi's account, including ore and precious metals.

Mediterranean Climates are unique among the many different climates in the world


• Uniqueness of Chile Around 30º South Latitude: As already mentioned, this strip of Chilean land is only one of four other places in the entire world that have a Mediterranean Sub-tropical climate besides Israel and the countries bordering the Mediterranean.  But that is not all.  Between Punta Lavapie (about 37º south latitude) and Tongoy (about 30º south latitude), Chile is unique in plant life, temperature, soil, soil group, and precipitation.  Not only do these not match any other area in South or Central America, they match very few other places in the entire world.

• Natural Vegetation: This portion of Chili has broadleaf, evergreen trees, Mediterranean scrub, citrus, olive and agave.  To the north of this area the vegetation is largely absent and to the south, it is semi-deciduous and needleleaf evergreen trees.  Inland vegetation is mostly grassland, savannas, shrubs, deciduous and semi-deciduous plants and trees.

• Temperature: The mean annual temperature of this Chilean strip, like Palestine, is 60º to 70º F, which is also the temperature of southwest Australia and Southern California.  South of this Chilean strip, the temperature drops to a level of 50º to 60º F., and further south, to 40º to 50º F.  North of this strip, the temperature climbs to 70º to 80º, as it does inland and throughout most of northern South America, Central America, Mexico, Southwest Australia, and the Arabian peninsula.

• Soil: This Chilean strip, like Palestine, has the desertic soil of the arid climate,  with shallow stony soils, sparsely covered, and is fertile when irrigated, appropriate for dry farming when not irrigated.  This same soil is found all along the South American coast north of the Chilean strip, and throughout the Arabian peninsula except for Yemen and the southeastern strip south of the Straits of Hormuz.  On the other hand, Central America has Latsolic soils of humid or wet temperature to dry tropical and subtropical climates, along with most of the South American interior.  The Yucatan peninsula has a Grumaesolic soil of humid temperature to tropical climate with distinctive wet and dry seasons for grass covered livestock and grain farming.

The four types of soils are from Left to Right: Sandy Soil, Silt Soil; Clay Soil, and Loamy Soil


• Soil Group Profile: This Chilean strip, like Palestine, has a Loamy classification, belongs to a Laterites soil type, and classified with a terra rossa (red soil), which is a well-drained, reddish, clayey to silty clayey soil with neutral pH conditions and is typical of the Mediterranean region and climate horizon. The suborder of this soil is called Xerults. This combination is found elsewhere only in the Mediterranean area, the southern tips of South Africa and Australia, and in the central California in the United States.  In fact, the world as a whole, Mediterranean soils are not very extensive. Food and Agricultural Organization estimates their overall coverage at approximately 420 million hectares. These four soils are:

Sandy soil consists of small particles of weathered rock, and is the poorest type of soil for growing plants because it has very low nutrients and poor water holding capacity;

Silt soil has much smaller particles compared to sandy soil and is made up of rock and other mineral particles. It is more fertile compared to the other three types of soil;

Clay soil is the smallest particle amongst the other two types of soil, and are tightly packed together with each other with very little or no airspace. This soil has very good water storage qualities and makes it hard for moisture and air to penetrate into it. It does not drain well or provide space for plant roots to flourish.

Loamy soil is a combination of sand, silt and clay that has the properties from the other soils equal of all three types being sandy, clay, and silt. It retains moisture and nutrients including humus, making it more suitable for farming.

• Precipitation: The mean annual precipitation of the Chilean strip, like Palestine, is 20" to 40", as it is in the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula.  North of the Chilean strip, it drops to less than 10", like the Arabian peninsula.  To the south of the Chilean strip, precipitation climbs to 40" to 60", and even further south to over 80".  Central America ranges between 60" and 80" and in some areas, over 80".

An abundant crop that grew exceedingly


• Seeds Grew Exceedingly: When Nephi speaks of seeds growing exceedingly and providing an abundant harvest, it should be considered that there are very few places seeds from Jerusalem could grow in the world, especially in 590 B.C., without the aid of modern chemicals and farming methods.  Based on the forgoing, such growth would be limited to the Chilian strip, Southern California, and the southern tips of Africa and Australia. 

Southern tips of Australia:    This has the same climate, temperature and soil group as Palenstine.

South tip of Africa:    This has the same climate and soil group as Palestine.

Southern California:    This has the same climate and temperature as Palestine.

Yucatan:    Has the same precipitation, but only along the coast.

Central America:    Has none of these matches.

• Ore, Precious Metals: Nephi describes the ore and precious metals of the promised land as finding all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper (1 Nephi 18:25).  Obviously, for a match to be made for Lehi's Isle of Promise, the Chilean strip would have to include these metals.  An interesting side note is the way in which these three items were translated:  both of gold, and of silver, and of copper -- which sounds like three, not both.  Gold and silver, of course, are two, therefore both, but as a unit of precious metals, they are one.  Add copper to the unit of precious metals and then both again applies identifying two units -- the precious metals unit and the copper unit.

Peru is the 6th largest producer of gold in the world; Chile has the 5th most gold reserves in the world


• Gold: The majority of the gold mined in modern times comes either as a by-product of other mining (such as copper) or from gold mines (such as those in South Africa and the two largest in the United States), in which the quantity of gold is so small (about 1/3 ounce per ton of ore)  that its recovery is practical only when the ore is mined on a very large scale.  But in earlier times there were mines from which ore that would have suited Nephi's purpose could have been obtained.  From his earlier experiences (1Nephi 17:9-11,16), Nephi knew something about smelting and metal fabrication, and gold is one of the easiest metals to work with.  It is practically immune to natural corrosion and is highly malleable (workable), and would have been the ideal metal to form the plates on which his record was kept.

• Gold and Silver as a Unit:    Any general map of minerals of Chili will show the presence of gold, silver, copper, tungsten, nitrates, antimony, lead, zinc, bismuth, sulfur, iron, molyedenum, manganese, coal and vanadium.  A close look at South America shows Chili as the only place where gold and silver are found as a unit, with copper surrounding that unit -- this is the same configuration found in the Mediterranean Sub-tropical climate of Palestine.  Interestingly, neither Southern California or the southern tips of Africa and Australia possess the ores in the combination Nephi describes.

(See the next post, “Where Exactly, Was Lehi's Land of Promise? – Part IV,” regarding this simple and brief points about the Land of Promise and how Lehi got there and where it was located)

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