Friday, July 15, 2011

Additional Clues to the Land of Promise Location-Part II Volcanoes & Earthquakes

Besides the Land of Promise location matching scriptural clues such as winds and currents moving Nephi’s ship that was “driven forth before the wind,” the temperature and climate needed to grow seeds from Jerusalem exceedingly and provide an abundant climate, locating ore deposits in abundance and contain gold, silver and copper in a single unit, finding two unknown animals that were as “useful to man” as the elephant, and two unknown grains on a par with corn, wheat and barley, natural herbs to cure deadly fever, roads, buildings, resorts, and an area of many waters, there are other clues in the scriptural record that also needs to be found in the Land of Promise.

One of these would be the area referred to as an area of earthquakes and volcanoes.

In 3 Nephi, the earthquake catastrophe described was accompanied with a lot of noise, "terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder" (3 Nephi 8:6) and the continuous sounds "the dreadful groanings" and "tumultuous noises" (3 Nephi 10:9). To the Nephites, the thunder was thought to cause the shaking, obviously preceding it—in any modern account of an earthquake, we hear of the frightful noise which they produce, and in many cases, it is heard before it is felt, which, according to Hodgeson, Eiby, Heck, and Byerly, all noted Seismology experts, “is hard to explain” yet it happens frequently. And according to Milne, the thunder of an earthquake always seems to shake the earth, since "the sound always appears to come from the ground beneath the observer” and, according to Knop, "one thing is stressed in all the reports: the awful rumble that heralded the outbreak of the quake, a deafening roar, louder than anything any of the witnesses had ever heard before."

In addition, “there were exceedingly sharp lightnings" (3 Nephi 8:7). And according to an eyewitness account in a National Geographic article of 1919, recounting the great earthquake of September 11, 1541, it was preceded by "the fury of the wind, the incessant, appalling lightning and dreadful thunder" that were "indescribable" in their violence. Speaking of these unexplained phenomena of earthquakes, Byerly states that in "all types of lights are reported seen. . .flashes, balls of fire, and streamers."

Byerly, in describing the terrible wind of a 16th century earthquake in the Americas, sounds just like the Book of Mormon event, in having high winds with occasional whirlwinds that even carried some people away (3 Nephi 8:12, 16; 10:13-14). In another Pacific Rim earthquake in 1923, the wind reached a velocity of 50 mph and "the fires, in turn, set up minor tornadoes"; and Knop describes in another such earthquake "strong winds raised the dust until visibility was reduced to a few feet."

"And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea" (3 Nephi 8:9). The tsunami or sea wave "is the most spectacular and appalling of all earthquake phenomena" and almost invariably follows a major shakeup on the coast. Along with this, however, we have in the Book of Mormon record what seems to be a permanent submergence of coastal areas when "the waters [came] up in the stead thereof" (3 Nephi 9:7) and remained. Such a submergence happened on a spectacular scale in the Chilean earthquake of 1960—as Tazieff reported: "We would have taken these flooded stretches—permanently flooded—for coastal lagoons," a geologist reported, "if here and there we had not seen roads that ran straight toward them and into them. . . . roads that vanished, or sometimes showed under the stagnant water, branching into what had been the streets of a town.”

While earthquakes exist in many parts of the world, especially along the Pacific Rim, on both the east and west coasts, the area of the South American Andes is, perhaps, the most spectacular. Here, along the world's longest continental mountain range, is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about 4,300 miles long, and from 120 miles to 430 miles wide. Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes is the location of several high plateaus – some of which host major cities.

The Andes range is the world's highest mountain range outside of the continent of Asia. The highest peak, Mt. Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 22,841 feet above sea level. The peak of Mt. Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is farther from the centre of the Earth than any other location on the Earth's surface because of the Equatorial bulge. The world's highest volcanoes are in the Andes, with over 50 volcanoes that rise above 19,600 feet. In Ecuador and Colombia, there are 43 volcanoes, in Peru, Northern Chile and Bolivia, there are 63 volcanoes, in Central Chile and Argentina, there are 44 volcanoes, and in Southern Chile and Argentina, there are 30 volcanoes, for a total of 180 volcanoes—150 in the area of the Land of Promise. By contrast, there are only 29 volcanoes in all of Central America, 16 of those outside the suggested Book of Mormon lands there.

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