Thursday, July 29, 2021

Identifying the Land Northward – Part II

Continued from the previous post as we take a look at South America:

The Land Northward in Andean South America covered an area about the size of Arizona, which is around 113,000 square miles in size, and the seventh largest State in the U.S., in equivalent square miles. The Jaredite lands covered the size a little larger than Ecuador, including most of that present day country minus the southern portion from about the 2º south latitude southward, with the addition of a small portion of southern Colombia and a small portion of northeastern Peru. 

The Mountain ranges divide the Land Northward into three main vertically running divisions: La Costa, La Sierra, and El Oriente (the East) or Amazon Basin


The Land Northward, then as now, was divided into three continental regions—the Costa (coast), Sierra (mountains), and Oriente (east). The continental regions extended the length of the land from south to north and after the rise of the Andes, were separated by those majestic mountain ranges, including the Chongon Colonche Range along the Pacific coastal area to the west, which, together with the Mache Chindul Range is the only major mountain range west of the Andes and covered in indigenous tropical wet forest (before large areas were cleared for agriculture in the recent centuries).

The Cordillera Occidental range is one of two main mountain ranges, and runs along the eastern half of the land, with the Cordillera Occidental running along the western portion. A third range of these Andes is the Cordillera Central or Real (Cordillera of Quito), a chain of mountains in between, including the major volcanic peaks of Antisana, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe (Chimboraxo which are in the Cordillera Occidental).

The natural land hazards of the Land Northward (Ecuador and southern Colombia) included frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; and periodic droughts and floods.

The partition of Ecuador into three distinct vertical divisions: coastal plain, mountain ranges, and Amazonia (what used to be the Sea East)


La Costa. The western coastal area of the Jaredite Land Northward bordered the Pacific Ocean to the west, encompassing a broad coastal plain, which was the area of first landing, and then rose to the foothills of the Andes Mountains to the east, upward where Moron was later located. This coastal strip in the time of the Jaredites was forest, though by the time the Nephites moved into the land after 1400 years of Jaredite building and war, it was only with trees in the southern half of the land. Though the Nephites replanted trees beginning about 50 BC, which grew into great forests by the time the Spanish arrived, today it is estimated that 98% of the native forest has once again been denuded, this time in favor of cattle ranching and other agricultural production, including banana, cacao and coffee plantations.

The forest fragments that do survive are primarily found along the coastal mountain ranges of Mache-Chindul, Jama-Coaque, and Chongon-Colonche, and include tropical dry forest, tropical wet forest, tropical moist evergreen forest, premontane cloud forest, and mangrove forest. Collectively known as the Pacific Equatorial Forest. These forest remnants are considered the most endangered tropical forest in the world, and are part of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. It is of medium grain black sand and cinder.

In the time of the Nephites, the mangrove forest along the coast stretched clear past the narrow neck and into Peru, or the Land southward, where the shipyard of Hagoth was located and where he built his ships just beyond the narrow neck (Alma 63:5) that carried emigrants to a “land which was northward” (Alma 63:4).

All along the whole coast of South America the wind blows outward from south to west all year around driving the ocean currents before it, until you reach the equator, then the coastal waters moves from north to west.

60 miles off shore there is a constant current to the northward, enabling shipping moving northward. From the south (Chiloe) to the equator, the current sets to the westward, and becomes stronger in the warmer latitude of Peru were it is referred to as the Peruvian Current. Its westerly set is felt on the coast between Arica and Pisco, especially to the southward of Pisco—this is where the South Pacific Equatorial Current Gyre heads west and back out into the Pacific to cross toward the Philippines and Australia.

Once a vessel reaches Paita along the northwest Peruvian coast, the westward currents become the strongest heading toward the Galápagos Islands. Along these coastal waters a light wind blows southward, especially at night.


The beach along the Santa Elena Peninsula (Punta Salinas). This is where the Jaredite barges came ashore—all along this southern shore of the peninsula


A 90-mile long Santa Elena Peninsula extends from the Bay of Guayaquil in the east along the flat land of the Peninsula’s southern coast to Bahía Muyuyo, and contains the westernmost point on mainland Ecuador that is bordered by the Gulf of Guayaquil to the south and the Santa Elena Bay to the north. Beyond Santa Elena, on the north side of the peninsula, the coast continues northward to Machalilla Point. The forests here are dominated by Ceibo and Pigio trees reminiscent of Baobab trees in Africa. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in Cerro Blanco, among them 7 threatened species (including the highly endangered Great Green Macaw), 22 endemic species, and 30 range-restricted species. The macaws are carefully protected and are unlikely to be seen without special permission to gain access to the area where they're found.

The south of Santa Elena continues for 50 miles around the Gulf of Guayaquil and us the area where the Jaredites landed along the southern coast of the Peninsula. This is where the winds and currents blow inland and also past the Peninsula. Obviously, the Peruvian Current would have swept the barges northward along the Peruvian coast, and with the cold water current between this Peruvian Current and the coast, the barges would have bypassed the westward surface current that strikes the bulge of Peru and takes sailing vessels back out to sea.

This light current bypasses to the west of Amortajada Island (now known as Santa Clara Island or Isla de Los Muertos), which sits astraddle the imaginary line between the ocean and the Gulf of Guayaquil. Because, in part, the shoals that stretch almost six miles off the Payanas Point along the southwestern tip of Jameli Island, pushes the current to the west, and the Amortajada Shoals that stretch out for two miles to the southwest of the land, some of which are awash.

The current then continues on northward directly toward the eastern edge of Santa Elena Peninsula, through humpback whale infested waters, from which the Lord assured the Brother of Jared he would protect them (Ether 6:10). 


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