Tuesday, January 7, 2020

What is the Significance of Lehi’s Seeds? – Part II

Continuation from the previous post regarding the seeds that Lehi brought from Jerusalem and the soils as well as the climate of temperature and precipitation in which they had to be planted.
    Obviously, temperature affects plants and their growth. In addition, climate is also critically important as well. Thus, when we evaluate whether or not in antiquity certain plants would grow in certain other areas, we need to keep this in mind. According to the Köppen climate classification designations, the world’s climate differences are divided into five main climate groups: A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). The second letter indicates the seasonal precipitation type, while the third letter indicates the level of heat.
These Köppen climate classifications are one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by the German-Russian climatologist Vladimir Köppen (left). Also, there are seven climate zones: Polar and Tundra; Boreal Forest; Mountain; Temperate Forest; Mediterranean; Desert; Dry Grassland; and Tropical Grassland.
    In putting these two climate systems together allows one to determine what area(s) would cause planted seeds to “grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop.”
    Another point is that planting in spring is quite different from planting in summer. In spring, you're planting into cool soil that is getting warmer, and the days are getting longer. But in summer, you're planting into hot soil, and the days are getting shorter (and eventually, colder). This means that crops planted in summer will grow more slowly and take longer to mature than spring-planted crops. The difference is so marked that you need to add a "fall factor"—about two weeks—to the time it normally takes a crop to mature.
Mesoamerica has a hot and humid climate, unlike that of Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Climate

• In Mesoamerica, daytime temperatures in Winter, range between 20° F and 50° F with cold nights that can reach 0° F. Snow falls periodically throughout the season, but accumulations are typically only 1-2 inches. Summer temps range between 80º and 99º, with some days over 100º F. Winter.
    In Guatemala, average winter temperature averages around 65º F while lows are around 40º F. Colder weather exists primarily in the months of June and July, with temperatures dropping to just below freezing in the evening. Summer months it ranges from 68º to 99º, with rain possible all year round, but heaviest for about 9 months from March to December; the dry season lasts only three months: December to March.
The Great Lakes in Winter, covered deeply with snow and ice, totally different than a Mediterranean Climate

• Using Buffalo as a measure for the Great Lakes theory, the temperature in western New York around where the theorists claim the Nephites were located and not far from the Hill Cumorah, is highest in summer at 79º F and coldest in winter at 17.8º F (sometimes dropping to 0º), and averages 49 days a year when the temperature never rises above 32 F. Cold weather begins in November and extends through April. Annual snow fall is 93.4 inches.
• Using the area of Zarahemla/Montrose, Iowa, as a measure for the Heartland model, the summers are long, warm, humid, and wet; the winters are freezing, dry, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 15° F to 85 °F and is rarely below 4° F or above 94° F.
    Since maximum germination temperature ranges differently for each type of crop, the importance of location or region is extremely important when transplanting seeds even today, but especially in 600 BC before the modern techniques and understanding became part of the agronomy and utilized by farmers.
As an example, a light but unexpected frost, occurring between 29º to 32º F, and will only kill tender plants; on the other hand, a hard frost occurs when temperatures drop below 24 degrees F., which will cause severe damage to most vegetable plants. Such a freeze is a period when it's cold enough to cause ice crystals to form inside plants, which causes plant cells to fill with water. When that water turns to tiny shards of ice, they slice open the cell walls and ruin the plant tissue (Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, as quoted in Beth Botts, “Freeze versus frost: A primer on how cold affects plants,” Chicago Tribune, November 14, 2016).
    It should also be noted that the big difference is that spring-planted crops must be protected from any stray late frosts. But with many fall crops, there is essentially a "hard stop" on the season: a first hard frost date. A few crops are frost-tolerant or frost-hardy, and will actually improve in flavor and quality after a light frost. But growth will slow dramatically after frost, especially a hard frost. The goal is to have fall crops that are nearly mature by hard frost.
    As has been stated many times, the climate from which Lehi’s seeds were taken is called a Mediterranean Climate, which are characterized by winter rains—with some months of excess rainfall over evatranspiration, warm and dry summer months with moisture deficits—drying out soils and their annual vegetation (xeric moisture regime). They are found on western parts of all continents, between the cooler temperature zone and the hot dry desert zone, and located between about 30° and 45° latitude north and south of the Equator. It is so named because most of the coastal land around the Mediterranean Sea experience this climate. Other than the Mediterranean area, there are only four other Mediterranean Climates in the world, with only two in the Western Hemisphere—California and La Serena, Chile.
Earth has three main climate zones—tropical, temperate, and polar. These zones can be further divided into smaller zones, each with its own typical climate. A region's climate, together with its physical characteristics, determines its plant and animal life

Obviously, the only climate that would mirror the Mediterranean Climate of Jerusalem, would be another Mediterranean Climate in the Western Hemisphere where Lehi landed and their initial planting took place. Of this planting, Nephi said, “we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance (1 Nephi 18:24).
    Thus, based on the temperature of the soil, which is specifically formed within a climate zone, such as variously called Terra Rossa (on hard limestone) and Red Mediterranean Soils in a Mediterranean Climate zone, are quite different from the soils of other zones. It is also dependent not only upon the kind of soil involved and its temperature, but also the temperatures of the air
    According to pedology, this climate also results from the characteristics of the landscape and the high proportion of mountains with steep slopes, significant additions of Saharan desert dust to practically all soils of the region, and a large proportion of limestone and other calcareous rocks as soil parent materials.
    These characteristics of soil behavior features are moderate weathering with pervection (leaching, lessivage) of mostly 2:1 clays into B horizons (Xeralfs: Luvisols), hematite-induced reddening of the clays due to summer dehydration of free iron oxyhydroxides, carbonate dissolution and reprecipitation with prevalence of calcic horizons (Xerolls; Calcisols) in semiarid regions, and development of Vertisols, mostly in lowlands, where deep layers of swelling/cracking clays have sedimented.
Red Mediterranean soil on limestone 

In addition, shallows soils on nearly bare slopes, mostly a result of erosion subsequent to deforestation, are frequent (Leptosols, Cambiosols; Inceptisols, Entisols). Red (or Brown) Mediterranean soils are no longer used as a separate classification group in modern, well defined, soil property-controlled taxonomies (Soil Taxonomy; FAO system), but were partially replaced by Duchaufour's term Fersiallitic soils in some classification systems. Terra Rossa continues to be used in some classification for hard limestone derived red soils, mostly shallow.
    In addition to the type of soils, the temperature of the air and soil, the precipitation and temperature variations, called a mid-latitude warm climate, are part of the Mediterranean Climate. In addition, topographical and geographical effects all weigh heavily into the formation of this climate, which allows for the growth of various crops, including: wheat, barley, rice, alfalfa, sugar beets, olives, legumes, and various fruits, including grapes for wine.
    The point of all of this is to show that the seeds Lehi brought from Jerusalem had to have a like climate as that of Jerusalem—a Mediterranean Climate (dry summer climate)—to grow exceeding and produce an abundant crop. Neither the soils and climates in Mesoamerica (Oceanic Subtropical Highland), the Heartland (humid continental) or Great Lakes (also humid continental) match that climate found in Jerusalem and would hinder any attempt to grow those seeds within their model locations. Stated differently, Lehi could not have landed in Mesoamerica, Heartland or Great Lakes since his seeds would not have grown there, let alone growing “exceedingly, providing an abundant crop.”

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