Monday, January 17, 2011

Baja’s North sea, or the Waters of Ripliancum

A sea to the north is mentioned only twice in the scriptural record. First in Ether, we find that a very large body of water was to the north: “Coriantumr saw that he was about to fall he fled again before the people of Shiz. And it came to pass that he came to the waters of Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all; wherefore, when they came to these waters they pitched their tents” (Ether 15:7-8). The second one is in Helaman: “and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8).

According to Rosenvall, “The "sea north" was probably the ancient inland sea referred to by historians as Lake Cahuilla. It was twice the size of the Great Salt Lake today and was fed by the meandering Colorado River hundreds of years ago before the river spilled over into the Sea of Cortez.”

First of all, when the Sea of Cortes filled after the collapse of the San Andres and Elsinore Faul Zone Compex, as mentioned in earlier posts on this subject, it filled clear to the Palm Springs area in California, and would have continued northward except that the silt of the Colorado River emptied into the delta area, building up a massive dam that excluded the Salt Sea from the northern reaches of the Gulf, effectively sealing off the depression northward. That left an area filled with seawater to the north that geologists call Lake Cahuilla, which occupied the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside Counties in Southern California. Like Death Valley, it is below sea level.
Obviously, with this Lake Cahuilla no longer being fed by the filling of the Sea of Cortes, it evaporated, diminished in size, and now sits as the Salton Sea in southeast California. Had the Colorado silt dumping into the delta not formed a land bridge separating the fallen Andreas Fault line, the Sea of Cortes, or Gulf of Mexico, would probably today be much further north than Palm Springs.

Rosenvall goes on to say: “But where is the “sea north”? A body of salt water, the Salton Sea, is located just north of the Colorado River delta…This salt water lake was more than six times larger than the Salton Sea today, with a length of over 100 miles and width of some 35 miles. For comparison, this ancient lake was about twice as large as the Great Salt Lake today. Lake Cahuilla began as a fresh water lake but became more saline as it evaporated and diminished in size.”

It is not true that Lake Cahuilla, or the present Salton Sea, began as a fresh water lake as Rosenvall claims. As indicated above, Cahuilla was the spillover or filling of the Sea of Cortes, a salt sea. Thus Cahuilla was a salt lake, which evaporated over time, leaving the present Salton Sea also a salt lake. In fact, the salinity of the Salton Sea is greater than that of the Pacific Ocean (44g/L to 35 g/L), obviously from its excessive evaporation and condensing in size over time.

Rosenvall goes on to state: “We believe this historic and once larger body of water to the north was most likely the “sea north” encountered by the Book of Mormon people in the “land of many waters” and by their descendants when they later migrated into adjacent areas of the North American continent (2 Ne 6:11).”

First of all, the Sea North is never mentioned as being encountered in the “Land of Many Waters.” Nor are the “Waters of Ripliancum.” There is no mention of the “Land of Many Waters” in all of Ether. We find that Limhi mentions that his 43-man expedition sent to find Zarahemla traveled far to the north in a land among many waters where they found bones and ruins of buildings, and Ether’s plates. However, this area where the Jaredites had their last battle was not near Ripliancum. The Jaredites fled southward from Ripliancum to a land called Ogath and a hill called Ramah, which is the same as the Nephite Hill Cumorah (Ether 15:11), where their last battle took place. This area is in the Land of Many Waters (Mormon 6:4). Obviously, Ripliancum was further north than the Land of Many Waters.

In addition, with the narrowness of the Baja peninsula, and the closeness of all areas to the huge Pacific Ocean (the larges body of water on the planet), and the 900 mile long, 90 mile wide Sea of Cortes, why would anyone think to call a small lake (2000 square miles—by comparison, Lake Michigan is 22,400 square miles and Lake Superior is 31,820 square miles, with even small Lake Erie about 10 times larger than Cahuilla was at its largest). It makes no sense that a small lake would be called “large, or to exceed all.”

Nor can it be said that 2 Nephi 6:11 has anything to do with later Nephite “descendants when they later migrated into adjacent areas of the North American continent.” This verse has to do with the Jews at Jerusalem. As Jacob said: “The Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive. Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again. And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me. And after they have hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks against the Holy One of Israel, behold the judgments of the Holy One of Israel shall come upon them. And the day cometh that they shall be smitten and afflicted. Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance.”

The lands of the Jews' inheritance are in the area of Palestine.

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