Sunday, May 20, 2012

Answering a Question about Baja California—Part II

Continuing with the respondent to a previous post who wrote: I like your theory, but I am not yet willing to accept it wholeheartedly and discard the Baja theory. It is true that most of Baja is desert--now. But what would happen if Nephi's curse was reinstated after the destruction of the Nephites? This seems easier to believe than that the whole South American continent rose up out of the sea sometime after Moroni last wrote in AD 421. Almost everything else that you propose makes a lot of sense, but that one point really does strain my credulity. If you could only convince me of that, I would be happy to accept SA as the promised land. Until then, I am keeping Baja as a possible alternative" (MyQRic).

There are two questions here: 1) Was the Baja Peninsula more livable ancient, and 2) the believability of South America once being mostly underwater east of the current day Andes ranges. Th first questions was responded to in the previous post, the second part of the question will be answered here:

First of all, the proposed time frame as to when the Andes came up, bringing with them the eastern half of the continent, took place at the Savior's death and all the destruction and mountain building covered in 3 Nephi.

Second, the idea of a large land area rising up out of the water is a difficult problem for most people to grasp--after all, in our day, continents just don't rise and sink. On the other hand, throughout the history of the world, there have been a few similar and even greater recorded events:

1. The entire earth was covered with water exceeding fifteen cubits above the highest mountain peak

2. The entire surface oceans were in one place in the north countries; and will return there in the Last Days

3.The entire city of Enoch (Zion) and the land round about it was removed from the earth and will be returned in the Last Days

4. In the days of Enoch, "there came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea"

5. In the days of Peleg, the earth was divided, suggesting a major tectonic plate movement that created the various continents after Noah's Flood

Now, assuming the world has existed about 13,000 years from creation to  now, and not 4.55 billion years as science likes to so flippantly claim (see the author's "Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths"), there have been enormous changes in the topography of this world. As oceans rise and recede, lands buried in the seas become dry land ("Let the dry land appear"), continental plates slip under other plates, lifting and receding land. In the area of the Caribbean Sea are buried beneath the waters evidence of entire cities, streets, rock walls, etc. The same can be found in the area off the coast of Japan. Land that was once above the water level has receded beneath, and other lands have risen.

Evidence from the "Glomar Challenger," deep sea drilling ship, shows that the area of Panama was once not connected in recent years above the surface, to the South American continent.

It should be kept in mind that the South American tectonic plate is less dense so it sits on top of this subduction zone.

The Andes Mountains are the world's longest mountain range, running for over 4,349 miles and covering six countries. They were formed as a result  of the convergence of the Nazca plate and the South American plate which, because it is denser, is subducted underneath. The South American plate is less dense so it sits on top of this subduction zone, but the rocks of the South American plate have been folded upwards and crumpled into fold mountains.

As the Nazca Plate subducted beneath the South American plate, the force upward caused the Andes to rise, bringing up the eastern portion of the land mass above the water, which also connected (or brought upward) Panama to Colombia

This has caused the Andes Mountains to rise, bringing with it the land forms to the east, while not affecting the land forms to the west since they sit to the east of the Peru-Chile Trench (marking the boundary between the Nazca and the South American plates and reaches an incredible depth of 26,463 feet beneath sea level. This is truly a unique area, and with the rise of the Andes, the entire Land of Promise remained distinct and removed from the eastern portion of the continent because of no egress over the mountains. Not until the 20th century with planes, has there been movement from the western lands to the eastern lands.

It might also be noted that the entire Amazon Basin, which is larger than the entire continental United States, is barely above sea level, much of it is swamps and when the rains fall, the Amazon overflows, making much of the area from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean one huge flooded Basin.

(For more information on this, see the author's book "Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica," which includes an in-depth discussion of the scientific factors involved in the rising of the eastern South American continent)

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