Monday, May 14, 2012

Soils and Climates of Baja California and the Land of Promise—Part I

What modern man often forgets is that seeds in ancient times (and even fairly modern times) could not just be from one climate region and replanted in another, totally different, climate region. Thus, when Lehi brought with him seeds from the land of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:8; 18:6, 24), he would have needed to plant them in a climate region like that of Jerusalem. Nor is this simply dependent upon temperature and climate, but also the precipitation and soils and soil groups involved.

Since Jeruslaem has what is called a Mediterranean Climate, and specifically a soil type referred to as terra rossa, which is predominant across the Mediterranean Basin, a similar soil and climate would need to exist in the Land of Promise for Lehi's seeds to "grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance" (1 Nephi 18:24). In the map below, only six areas in the world, five outside that of the Mediterranean Basin, which includes Jerusalem, have a Mediterranean Climate.

Obviously, as can be seen, Mesoamerica, Baja California, Eastern United States, and Malay do not have Mediterranean Climates for Lehi's seeds to have grown, let along exceedingly--which should discount any of those areas, and most of the world to be Lehi's Land of Promise

As can be seen from the map, the only areas that qualify for Mediterranean Climates in the Western Hemisphere are Southern and Middle California, and Chile at the 30º south Latitude. Since the only one of these places that a ship "driven forth before the winds" would be driven to is the Mediterranean Climate in Chile. Here, at Coquimbo Bay, a perfect landing site for Nephi's ship, and La Serena valley, a perfect place for planting Mediterranean seeds (see the author's book, Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, for a full explanation). In addition to the terra rossa soil of the Mediterranean Climate, this area has the same soil, soil group, precipitation, temperature and overall climate as Jerusalem. It is the only such match in the entire Western Hemisphere, and along the west coast from the tip of Chile (Tierra del Fuego) to the area of San Diego northward through California (thus eliminating all other areas in North Central and South America).

Comparing soils between La Serena, Chile, and Baja California. Left to Right: Mediterranean terra rossa soil group; Baja Peninsula Leptosols soil group; Baja Peninsula Regosols soil group

In pedology (the study of soils in their natural environment), red Mediterranean soil, known as terra rossa (red soil) is a soil classification (Luvisols under the FAO soil classification), and still referred to as terra rossa as of 1997. Today it is still part of the national soil classification of countries such as Israel and Italy. It is also found under the UNESCO / FAO World map equivalents as chronic luvisols (a sub order of the luvisols), and the USDA soil taxonomy equivalent is the rhodustalfs (a sub-order of the ustalfs). The terra rossa (luvisols, ustalfs, rhodustalfs) are found in regions where the Mediterranean climate is predominant.

According to a 2007 study by INEGI (conjunto de Datos Vectorial Edofologico) the Baja Peninsula has basically Laptosols, Regolsols, and Calcisols soil groups. The Laptosols soil is a very shallow soil that is weakly formed, containing Arenosols (sand soils, often found in shifting sand dunes), and are basically abundant in deserts, and have very low water-holding capacity, essentially low in nutrients, and are highly acidic, and rarely farmed, and far less productive than other soils, even in the same region.

Regosols are extensive in eroding lands, in particular in arid and semi-arid areas and in mountain regions. it is an Entisol that has no diagnostic horizon, and most are basically unaltered from their parent material, which can be unconsolidated sediment or rock, and are the second most abundant soil order. Regosols are made up of sand, iron oxide, aluminium oxide, and kaolinite clay, found in dry climates, have a shallow depth, and are subject to heavy erosion.

Calcisols are common in calcereous parent materials and widespread in arid and semi-arid environments. Formerly, Calcisols were internationally known as "Desert soils" and Takyrs (Takir soil is similar to a salt flat). These soils are found on level to hilly land in arid and semi-arid regions, and their natural vegetation is sparse and dominated by xerophytic shrubs (plants that have adapted to survive in an environment that lacks water, such as a desert) and trees and/or ephermeral (short-lived) grasses.

It is clearly stated by numerous scientist in the field, including those of Mexico and Baja that the Peninsula's climate is basically that of a desert, and in it we find desert flora.

(See the next post, "Soils and Climates of Baja California and the Land of Promise--Part II," for more on the climate and topography of the Baja Peninsula, which is contrary to the scriptural record)

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