Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lake Titicaca Once at Sea Level Part III – What Caused the Mountains to Rise Whose Height is Great?

Continuing from the last post regarding the fact that Lake Titicaca was once at sea level and continuing with both how and when it was raised to its present 12,500-foot elevation, we now look at what caused the lake and surrounding mountains to rise.
In Helaman, an interesting character comes forth out of the south country, from the Land of Nephi, a Lamanite by birth, and a prophet of God, to lecture to the Nephites, who rejected all he had to say. His name was Samuel—Samuel the Lamanite.
After being driven out of Zarahemla for preaching, he returned and climbed upon the city walls and continued his message, which an angel of the Lord had given him (Helaman 14:26). Regarding what would befall the Land of Promise at the time of the Savior’s death.
“Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up; Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath. And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 15:21-23).
The question that comes to mind is simply this: What would cause mountains to rise up suddenly, whose height was great? And another question, What would cause the description “Whose height is great”?
These are two rather important questions to both ask and answer if one is to pinpoint the location of the Land of Promise. Simply put, one must find a location where very tall mountains rose suddenly, and were so configured that the term “whose height is great” would be self-explanatory.
Take the Rocky Mountains for example. Though they rise to as high as 14,400 feet, they do so gradually and even from a distance, do not look that high. And when driving through them, the rise is steady and increases so slowly, that you do not get the feel that you are that high unless you pull out into an overlook somewhere. In fact, all the mountains in the Western Hemisphere (including those of Mexico and Central America) tend to be so described except one—the Andes of South America.
From any angle, from any elevation, there can be no doubt that these mountains are extremely high. Their incline is sharp and pronounced. Even from an aerial view, there is no doubt you are looking at very tall mountains that are distinctly seen, rather than a gradual incline over large distances, even though the range itself runs for approximately 5,500 miles.
Looking at the Andes from almost any distance, there is no other way to describe them than “mountains whose height is great!”
According to geologists, “The Andean mountain system is the result of global plate-tectonic forces.” This complex geologic matrix began to be uplifted as the eastern edge of the Nazca Plate was forced under the western edge of the South American Plate in a process called subducting—the Nazca Plate was subducted beneath the Andean Plate. The collision, or convergence, of two of these plates—the continental South American Plate and the oceanic Nazca Plate—gave rise to the orogenic (mountain-building) activity that produced the Andes, as this subduction-uplift process was accompanied by the intrusion of considerable quantities of magma from the mantle, first in the form of a volcanic arc along the western edge of the South American Plate and later by the injection of hot solutions into surrounding continental rocks. Put simply, a narrow strip of land the entire length of South America, from southern Chile to northern Colombia, was forced sharply upward from the build-up of earth (magma) beneath it.
The intensity of this activity increased to such a degree under the direction of the Lord, that the entire mountain range rose majestically and suddenly during the hours ascribed in 3 Nephi. This was not a multi-million-year-process as geologists and scientists would have us believe, anymore than the Flood of Noah’s time was some local, minor catastrophe. We need to keep in mind, that the Lord, who fashioned worlds without number, who organized the Universe, and everything in it, is certainly capable of raising a mountain range in a matter of hours.
Consequently, we can look at 3 Nephi and understand exactly when this happened, and realize that Samuel the Lamanite was accurately prophesying an event that literally took place, and that “the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12).
We should also keep in mind that when Samuel predicted such an event, it was not to be a local happening where a few people would see it—but a national event where the entire Nephite nation would see and attest to it. It was, after all, a result of the crucifixion of the Savior of all mankind—certainly all those in the Land of Promise were to see it and know that it happened. and when the Andes rose, they came up along the entire eastern seaboard of the Land of Promise--an event all would see and know took place.
When Samuel said, “Yea, wo unto this people who are called the people of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them” (Helaman 15:3), he was not talking to a handful of people, any more than he was talking to just those Nephites in Zarahemla—but he was talking to the Nephite Nation “this people called the people of Nephi.”
The signs of which Samuel prophesied were to be seen, felt and understood by all in the Land of Promise, those in the Land Southward and those in the Land Northward (3 Nephi 8:11-12). And one of the singular physical factors that would be seen and understood by all in both lands would be the rising of the mountains “who height is great” throughout the Land of Promise.
The Andes mountains are one of the highest mountain ranges in the world, and the highest in the Western Hemisphere. They are also considered to be one of the youngest mountain ranges. With several peaks over 20,000 feet, and more than a hundred over 18,000 feet, the Andes can be aptly described as mountains "whose height is great."
And as the Andes rose along the edge of the East Sea, some of that ocean was trapped among the fast rising peaks and rose up with it—a salt sea, along with its flora and fauna. The buildings around the shores of this fast rising sea (now a lake) were tumbled and thrown to the ground in “the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” and the fields of corn were lifted up in the rising range, in the valleys between the mountains that were shoved up to their lofty height. The huge slabs of constructed stone of building and wharfs, some weighing 400 tons, were scattered about like ten pins, and flung over the land—the cities we now know as Tihauanaco and Puma Punku were leveled until there were no structures left standing intact.
“And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many of them who were slain” (3 Nephi 8:15).

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