Thursday, January 18, 2018

Who First Settled Here? –Part I

From time to time we receive inquiries as to why there is no evidence of Nephite existence in the Land of Promise after their 1,000-year-history. It seems like people expect there to be some type of definitive awareness of someone who lived 2500 years ago. After all, they say, we know about the Romans, Persians, Greeks, Sumarians, Olmecs, Angeans, Phoenicians, etc. We know about these, why not the Nephites?
A section of the temple complex (one of five circular pits so far excavated) at Gobekil Tepe located six miles from Urfa in south-eastern Turkey, dated earlier than Stonehenge

However, without written histories, we would know little about these groups, perhaps nothing at all except their remains. Take, for example the Gobleki Tepe, of south-eastern Turkey who built massive circular structures some 12,000 years ago; or the Nan Modol, who built on a coral reef in Micronesia, a culture that built a series of small artificial islands, a grouping of 100 artificial islets linked by a network of canals; or the Rama Empire around 500 B.C. in India that may actually date back several thousand years before that; or who built the Longyou Caves, which the Chines call the “Ninth Wonder of the Ancient World”?
    The point is there are as many unknown ancient civilizations as there are known ones. Some kept records, or information about them survived, others did not; and who built the 12,000 year-old-stone age tunnels that run from Scotland to Turkey. There are also some better known civilizations of which we actually know next to nothing about, though their names are linked within the network of civilizations and accepted along a chronology, but the truth is we know nothing about them: such as the Minoans, the Caral-Supe, the Olmec, the Angkor, the Moche, the predynastic Egypt, Nasca, and the Dilmun.
    Our knowing nothing about so many of these ancient civilizations provides yet another solid reason why it was so important for Nephi to kill Laban to obtain the records of Lehi’s ancestry and a knowledge of who they were dating back to the beginning.

We not only have the remains of Roman architecture, but a lengthy knowledge of the Romans and their civilization 

One of the more interesting questions is why we don’t know as much about the Nephites as we do about the Romans—both lived about the same time, and both achieved similar greatness in their building and the arts (not in conquest).
    However, it could be asked how much evidence would we have today of the Romans, if another occupying force swept through Rome in 400 A.D., systematically killing all the Romans, renaming Roman cities, destroyed all Roman records, rewriting history and imposing their own culture? And, 400 years prior to that, the Roman Empire had been decimated by a massive earthquake, after which the rubble was picked up and some cities rebuilt by survivors? And, over 1,000 years after, all The Romans in what would be the land no longer known as Rome were killed and the vast body of their written records was destroyed by invaders from another country?
    And what would have happened if that invading people, themselves, were barbaric, without a government of their own, driven by fragmented tribal interactions, killings, and constant warfare so much so that no culture survived long enough to establish a history or record? What if these people reverted to complete barbarism, destroying, not building, living as nomads, moving with the weather and the wild game, living off the land until there was no wild game left? And what if they were illiterate, having no written records to tell of their own existence on the scene of history?
    The problem is, the Nephites were systematically exterminated by the Lamanites. As far back as Enos, who tells us the Lamanites swore that if it were possible, “they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers” (Enos 1:14). This is repeated at the end, nearly 1000 years after Enos, when Mormon and Moroni tell us basically the same thing about the intentions of the Lamanites.
    This goes way beyond one nation simply conquering another. It even goes further than book burning. The Lamanites swore to destroy every trace of the Nephites, their practices, their traditions, everything.
    That should suggest to us that the Lamanites had different practices. Things we wouldn’t know to look for. Did the Lamanites find any Nephite records? If they did, they swore to destroy them. Did they keep city names? No, they would have changed them—we have that in the fact that they called the city of Nephi, the city of Lehi once they occupied it (which Mormon then called the City of Lehi-Nephi). Did they tell the history of what actually happened? No, they didn’t keep any records, so would not have written down anything about their annihilation of the Nephites, or their many years of civil wars afterward.
    Rome merely fell, their records, history and accomplishments still intact—and numerous peoples throughout the region well aware of their one-time existence. The Nephite civilization was utterly destroyed; annihilated; wiped off the face of the Earth. Nothing that could be destroyed remained. Only large buildings that within a few centuries no one had any idea who built them. And the magnificent roads that were used by generations of cultures afterward until not a soul knew who built them. No writings survived. No names survived. No history survived. Just buildings, albeit of magnificent construction, and roads that marveled those of Rome, and bits and pieces of cultures that worked metallurgy in far back ancient times, had silk before the eastern lands, and were able to build in stone pyramidal temples, fortresses, and palaces that have lasted as long as that of Rome. That so many tribal cultures rose and fell in between then and now, that no one even knows who those ancient people were that built all the stone marvels they see today.
One of numerous ancient cities found in Andean Peru dating back to Nephite times showing an advanced civilization throughout Peru and Ecuador of whose existence there is no extant sectarian written record

Do we have any evidence of the Nephite people and the land they occupied? Certainly. Is it Nephite specific? It certainly matches the written record discovered and translated in the early 1800s, but is it Nephite specific? No. Nothing appears in all the land that would draw attention to the name Nephite, or Lamanite, or Land of Promise.
    But it is there, just the same!
    If we look at the western ledge of the Andean shelf, an area from southern Colombia to central Chile, and from the Pacific coastal area between the seashore and the far side of the Andes Oriental Mountain Range or Cordillera, we find an enormous amount of matches between the Book of Mormon scriptural references to the Land of Promise and the land itself.
    Do we find signs indicating the city of Zarahemla, or Nephi, or Bountiful, etc.? Of course not. But we do find cities in those general areas, matching size and scope, and we find a massive complex road and highway system as briefly described in 3 Nephi. As has been pointed out in this blog over the past eight years, we have found some 65 matches to the scriptural record, at least 44 specific scripture references, like a cure for killer fevers, such as malaria (Alma 46:40)—an indigenous plant grown only in the Andean area until the 17th century A.D. when the Dutch transplanted it in Indonesia; two unknown animals on an equal footing with the elephant in their value to man (Ether 9:19)—two indigenous animals found only in the Andes of South America; two unknown grains on a nutritional footing with corn, wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9)—found only in the Andes of South America; a climate where only Lehi’s “seeds from Jerusalem” would grow (1 Nephi 18:25)—an area found only in 30º South Latitude, Chile, or in Central California, in all of the Western Hemisphere; where a narrow passage within a narrow neck of land is found (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 2:29; 3:5)—which can be crossed in a day-and-a-half, and numerous others.
(See the next post, “Who Settled Here? – Part II,” for more information on the existence of matching locations within South America to the descriptions of Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni, that show the history of the Nephite Nation)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dotting the “I”s and Crossing the “T”s – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding one of the problems in dealing readers who believe in the old Earth policies and theories of “mainstream science.” 
    It is also believed by “mainstream science” that the earth is currently in an interglacial period known as the Holocene and has been for around 11,700 years, and it is argued that it might be most analogous to a previous interglacial that lasted 28,000 years ago, and claimed that the predicted changes in orbital forcing (tilting of the Earth) suggest that the next glacial period would begin at least 50,000 years from now.
With the claimed last glacial period ending about 10,000 years ago, all that remains of the continental ice sheets are the Arctic, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and smaller glaciers such as on Baffin Island. Outside these five distinct ages, “mainstream science’s” belief is that the Earth seems to have been ice free even in high latitudes.
    Also according to “mainstream science,” geological evidence for ice ages comes in various forms, including rock scouring and scratching, glacial moraines, drumlins, valley cutting, and the deposition of till or tillites and glacial erratics, which of course can be seen today. However, it is claimed that successive glaciations tend to distort and erase the geological evidence, making it difficult to interpret. Furthermore, this evidence was difficult to date exactly; early theories assumed that the glacials were short compared to the long interglacials. The advent of sediment and ice cores led to the “current” beliefs that glacials are long, and interglacials are short.
    It took some time for the current theory to be worked out, all together taking several decades until the ice age theory was fully accepted by scientists. This happened on an international scale in the second half of the 1870s following the work of James Croll, including the publication of Climate and Time, in Their Geological Relations in 1875, which provided a credible explanation to scientists for the causes of ice ages.
    On the other hand, there are several scientists today who do not accept much of this ice age information, including Melvin A. Cook who states “Not only does the observed global adjustment (uplift-depression) cycle verify that there were really two ice sheets, one at the north pole and one at the south pole involved in the division of the earth or continental drift, but the apparent absence of more than one such global adjustment cycle shows that there was really only one ice age!” He also goes on to add, “Scientists have evidently overlooked these requirements in crustal adjustments in assessing the theory of multiple ice ages. Not only is an ice cap model singularly applicable in explaining these isostasy adjustments, but one knows that every large ice sheet of the magnitude of those of the ‘Wisconsin’ must cause such uplift and depressions of the continent in accord with the requirements of isostasy.”
    With this in mind, it is easy to see that such multiple ice ages, there would be multiple seashore cycles for each ice age, but only one cycle is evident in the shoreline record.
    Furthermore, in evaluating five or more of the claimed ice ages, at least in the northern hemisphere were supposed to have occupied essentially the same zone according to the maps of the ice sheet advancement depicted by geologists and this, of course, would have been impossible! After all, as Cook concludes, “There would be enough hysteresis in global crustal adjustment and material flow patterns for any given ice age cycle to prevent any subsequent ice sheet from occupying the same zone as the one before it.”
    Thus, in answer to the question raised about when the “last” Ice Age occurred or ended, without getting too finite, it is that the Ice Age ended, or more accurately, began to recede not long before the Flood, the weight of the two-mile-thick ice sheet (though thinner at its edges), having led to the collapsing of the Earth’s crust, which is suggested in the scripture: “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened (Genesis 7:11), obviously, as a result of the weight of these overpowering ice sheets.
It is also of interest to note that while the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights (Genesis 7:12), but the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days (Genesis 7:24), and then decreased continually until the tenth month (Genesis 8:5), when the tops of the mountains were seen. Evidently, the waters of the Flood apparently kept right on increasing another 110 days after the rains stopped, then decreased for the next 150 days. Thus, it must be concluded that the fountains of the great deep was the primary cause of the continually increasing Flood waters. This is apparent, since a Flood so great a magnitude as to cover the highest contains to a depth of fifteen cubits, or 22 ½ feet, upward would have required something vastly different than mere torrential rains even for 40 days. Thus, the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep may, in fact, have been simply the earth cracking under tremendous, rapidly growing ice caps.
    In any event, the Flood and the division of the earth probably both occurring in the period between 2350 and 2250 B.C. as a result of the overpowering ice sheets as they receded and melted.
    As Parley P. Pratt wrote and Joseph Fielding Smith later quoted, “How far the flood may have contributed to produce the various changes as to the division of the earth into broken fragments, islands, and continents, mountains and valleys, we have not been informed—the change must have been considerable. But after the flood, in the days of Peleg, the earth was divide. A short history, to be sure, of so great an event: but still it will account for the mighty revolution, which rolled the sea from its own place in the north, and brought it to interpose between different portions of the earth, which were just parted asunder, and moved into something near their present form; this together with the earthquakes, revolutions, and commotions which have since taken place, have all contributed to reduce the face of the earth to its present state; while the great curses which have fallen upon different portions, because of the wickedness of men, will account for the stagnant swamps, the sunken lakes the dead seas, and great deserts” (Chapter V, Voice of Warning, W. Sandford, New York, 1837).
    Earlier in the same chapter, Pratt wrote: “When God had created the heavens and the earth, and separated the light from the darkness…God said, Let the waters under the heaven, be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." From this we learn a marvelous fact, which very few have ever realized or believed in this benighted age; we learn that the waters, which are now divided into oceans, seas, and lakes, were then all gathered together, into one vast ocean; and, consequently, that the land, which is now torn asunder, and divided into continents and islands, almost innumerable, was then one vast continent or body, not separated as it now is.”
    The point is, what man knows, and this includes the “mainstream sciences,” and understands about the formation of the Earth and its makeup, is far from what God formed and where Adam and his descendants lived down to the Flood. What happened during the Flood and directly after, in the division of the Earth in Peleg’s time, and also during the Crucifixion, at least on the American continent, reshaped the world into what we now understand it to be—but not as it was before.
    Ideas, hypothesis, guesses, and theories of man not-with-standing, the Earth has undergone serious changes, and all happening within a very short time in various ages since its formation, about 13,000 years ago. That “mainstream science” has no clue to these events, and God’s works among men, is of little consequence to the actual history of this Earth.
    However, in the defense of this blog and many of its articles on this subject, in dealing with readers who happen to believe in “mainstream science” and its dates and geologic column, evolution, etc., we sometimes refer to their dates in order to counter their errors and misunderstandings of God’s works. It may not be the easiest for those knowing the fallacies of “mainstream science’s” errors, but it tends to being the correct argument into focus for those to whom it is mainly directed. Our apologies for any difficulties it causes to those who regularly follow this blog and agree, at least in part, with what is written here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dotting the “I”s and Crossing the “T”s – Part I

We received the following comment recently: “I know you believe in Noah's flood and a young earth, but you keep using these erroneous ages of 30,000 years, etc. If there was a Noah's flood then the Ice Age had to occur after the flood. If the Ice Age happened between 3,000 BC and 2350 BC then those dates are all wrong. So the question is was there a mile deep glacier at the time of the Jaredites in North America or do you believe the glaciers were gone by 10,000 BC?” I.T. 
    Response: In this two-part series, we will discuss some of the problems we encounter in dealing with this type of thing, for in most cases we are responding to comments from people who do believe in the accepted “mainstream science” belief of an ancient 4.55-billion-year-old Earth, and though we try to make it clear that we do not, we use their dates to show that their argument does not work on the points they raise.
    Obviously, when people who feel the Earth is much younger as such the reader who commented above, or as we do that it is about 13,000 years old, any argument with “mainstream science” beliefs is automatically discarded by such old Earth people, and any points being made are rejected as irrelevant. Consequently, to counter the comment(s) being made, we use their dating system to show that their points are not correct.
An earlier comment from a reader suggested a map much like this one where he claimed there were bays open to the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes Area and that the St. Lawrence Valley was flooded, providing easy access to the Great Lakes

As an example, the previous three articles were in answer to a point made in an earlier reader’s comment that between the end of the last Ice Age and when Lehi reached the Great Lakes (in their theory): 1) The Great Lakes had access to the sea via large inland bays of the Atlantic that reached the Great Lakes area, and 2) That the St. Lawrence valley was flooded and provided a so-called river access from the sea to the Great Lakes.
    This, they claim, which was based on a couple of articles they read and submitted for “proof” of their view, and supported, they felt, their belief in Lehi and the Nephites settling in North America. Consequently, the previous 3-part series dealt with the view of “mainstream science” or a portion of it, using their dates and events, to show that their information was inaccurate and downright fallacious based on the best “mainstream science” available of the events they were describing.
    Consequently, “mainstream science” claims the last Ice Age “ended” between 13,000 B.C. and 10,000 B.C., or as some claim, “years ago,” making it between 11,000 B.C. and 8,000 B.C. We do not treat those dates as facts, merely as their starting point. Thus the arguments in the previous three articles showed that, according to “mainstream science,” there were no bays of the Atlantic Ocean stretching anywhere inland near the Great Lakes, that the Ice Age filled in the land clear to the present area of New York City, etc., and even at one time beyond—as an example, as found in K.O. Emery and L.E. Garrison, (Science Vol.167, 1967, p684; and A.C. Redfield, S. Redfield, p687), among other supporting factors, “evidence that the shore lines along the eastern sea coast of the U.S.A. were right out to the edge of the continental shelf at the beginning of the down warping stage only a few thousand years ago,” which would have covered the time frame of Lehi’s voyage.
    In addition, the St. Lawrence Valley was never so flooded as claimed, and that the river was pretty much as we know it today, both narrow and shallow, again showing that Lehi in Nephi’s ship could not have sailed from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Ontario.
Originally there was one great ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere, which tore in two when Panagaea split from the weight of the ice and (yellow lines) dividing (dotted red arrows) forming two large ice sheets: 1) Laurentide in Canada, which included Cordilleran and Greenland sheets; and the Fennoscandia in Europe and Asia, which included Kara, Barents and Scandinavian sheets

As for the Ice Sheets, there were two great land masses formerly covered with ice which suddenly lost their ice caps and began suddenly to uplift in order to restore “isotosy” (vertical balance). These land masses comprise a great half-moon shaped, glacial denuded (“shield”) zone in northeastern Canada and another one in Europe and Asia called “Fennoscandia.”
    Both of these land masses began to rise (following a sudden denudation of ice) at precisely the same time and have followed identical land-rise curves ever since. They are both still in the process of vertical adjustment (uplifting) and will be so for some time yet because of the "relaxation time” of the earth’s crust is in the thousands of years (relaxation time is the time it takes for the Earth to relax to the changed surface mass distribution which in some cases is longer than the periods of ice cycles). The date assigned to the beginning of these famous uplifts was about 10,000 years ago (W. A. Heiskanen and F.A. Vening-Meinesz, The Earth and Its Gravity Field, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1958; and W.R. Farrand and R.T. Gajda, “Isobases of the Marine Limit in Canada,” Geological Bulletin, No.17, Canadian Dept of Mines and Technical Surveys, Ottawa 1962).
    Incontrovertible evidence shows that at one time a single land mass existed upon which both of these Ice Sheets were connected in a single Sheet. In fact, the detailed patterns of the uplifted regions themselves bear this out; the land masses inward from these shorelines have exhibited gradually decreasing uplifts. Therefore, the depressed continental shield zone under the ice caps would have sloped downward toward the present shorelines.
    Under such circumstances the ice caps could not have remained stable but would simply have slid off into the seas if the two land masses had not then been joined together.
    It should also be noted that the outermost “isobase” and the present arctic and Atlantic shorelines define a semi-circular-shaped zone in northeastern Canada with the straight part of the half circle corresponding to the shoreline. Similar “isobases” in Fennoscandia define a similarly shaped zone for that (also uplifting) region. Most remarkable is the fact that the two zones fit together to complete a roughly circular one when fitting the continents back together as they were before they were divided off from the original continent.
    Thus the two semi-circular-shaped zones form a roughly circular zone corresponding to a roughly circular single ice sheet for the northern hemisphere of Pangaea.
    In addition, Geological evidence developed in1937 by Dr. Alexis DuToit, South African geologist, and reviewed in 1961 by Dr. A.J. Eardley, Professor of Geology, University of Utah, showed that the split that initiated continental drift (a rift zone predicted as to location by Alfred Wegener many years before it was found and identified) began along these identical shorelines evidently at the southern tip of Greenland, forking northward to define this presently ice-bound continent, the Arctic in and the far northern Atlantic basin, and southward to Antarctica to define the most of the present Atlantic  basin and Atlantic shorelines.
    According to Melvin A. Cook, formerly of the University of Utah, “An ice cap of the size described by geologist for the ‘Wisconsin ice age’ was large enough to have caused the disruption of Pangaea. As a matter of fact, this is the only mechanism yet suggested which can account for the force required to rupture the earth’s approximately 20-mile thick crust and force apart its continental fragment the required several thousand miles” (Prehistory and Earth Models, Random House TBS, Colchester Essex UK, 1966).
    It should also be noted that “mainstream science” believes that there have been at least five major ice ages in the Earth's history (the Huronian, Cryogenian, Andean-Saharan, Karoo Ice Age, and the current Quaternary glaciation). It is claimed by “mainstream science” that the current ice age, called the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation, started about 2.58 million years ago during the late Pliocene, when it is believed the spread of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere began. 
   Since then, it is claimed, the world has seen cycles of glaciation with ice sheets advancing and retreating on 40,000- and 100,000-year time scales called glacial periods, glacials or glacial advances. Further, that within the ice ages (or at least within the current one), more temperate and more severe periods occur. The colder periods are called glacial periods, the warmer periods interclacial periods, interglacials or glacial retreats, such as the claimed Eemian Stage (115,000 to 115,000 years ago).
(See the net post, “Dotting the “I”s and Crossing the “T”s – Part II,” for more information on this and why factual science shows that there was only one Ice Age.)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Were the Great Lakes Ever Open to the Atlantic? – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding possible bays and inlets to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean in antiquity. 
    According to Dr. Joerg Schaefer, a researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, the rocks of New York City are a climate archive, and most New Yorkers are unaware that they are living in the middle of a glacial event park." On Long Island, in Manhattan and at locations up the Hudson River toward Albany, Dr. Schaefers three-scientist team are measuring the retreat velocity of the last glacier. What makes this possible for the first time is a new age-measuring technique that has one simple, but seemingly unreasonable, requirement: the testing of relatively clean surfaces that have been undisturbed for 18,000 years.
    According to Dr. Schaefer, evidence has been found of the glacier retreat in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem; Inwood and Morningside Parks on the West Side of Manhattan; a pristine glacial expanse in Harriman State Park; and even a truck-size glacial boulder in Port Jefferson, N.Y. (a parking lot was built around it, given its size). "It's spectacular that in such an urban setting, there are these completely ancient features."
Two glacial erratics that were transported by moving ice at the height of the Wisconsin glaciations when the Laurentide ice sheet coveted what is now New York City to a depth of about 1000 feet (Bruce Gervais and Jackie Phillips, Universities Space Research Association)
In Central Park, Dr. Schaefer has employed a new scientific tool called "cosmogenic dating," a pioneering way of measuring the age of landforms, finding much of the visible bedrock was shaped by ice, and unmodified glacial features abound include striations (abrasion grooves that show the flow direction from northwest to southeast), glacial polish (caused when rock was buffed by sediment), chatter marks (gouges in bedrock made by glacier-dragged stones), and erratics (boulders stranded on bedrock by the glacier, such as Umpire Rock south of Heckscher Ballfields to the east of West 62nd Street, by the pétanque court).
    "As you see the deep grooves, you can almost imagine these big boulders gouging out the bedrock," said Neil Calvanese, vice president for operations of the Central Park Conservancy, which manages the park under a contract with the city. Through the years, the park has attracted research endeavors from astronomy to environmental science, and the United States Geological Survey has monitored ground water in the park, and Lamont has also maintained a seismograph in the North Meadow.
An elongated asymmetrical landform called a roche moutonnee, showing the direction of flow of the ice (Bruce Gervais and Jackie Phillips, Universities Space Research Association)

The key to showing that this area east of the Great Lakes was landform following the retreat of the last ice age glaciers, is in the identifying of beryllium-10, an unstable isotope, or radionuclide, which forms in locations that have been struck by cosmic rays, including rock surfaces. As glacial ice retreated, "it opened up the rock to cosmic rays," Dr. Schaefer said. "An isotope is created at the moment the cosmic rays strike the rock, and when the surface is exposed, the clock begins ticking."
    The unstable isotope formed in the rock has a half-life of 1.5 million years, a rate of radioactive decay that can be measured. Beryllium-10 accumulates in quartz, which has veined much of New York City's bedrock, including the Manhattan schist that underlies Central Park. Precision in identifying glacially exposed quartz "is crucial in taking the samples," Dr. Schaefer said, not only to get the right data, but also because, at $500 to $2,000 per test, the geological team cannot afford to choose too many wrong outcrops.
    Therefore, an unconventional but decidedly low-tech research tool was a 1782 British Headquarters map from the occupation of New York in the Revolutionary War. The team referenced its depiction of Manhattan's streams, lakes and landforms while roaming Central Park to identify undisturbed glacial outcrops. Dr. Schaefer and his team chiseled out small pieces of quartz, numbered them with red marker, digitally photographed them and fixed their latitude and longitude with a global positioning unit. In the lab, the rock was pulverized and, in a complex process, beryllium-10 was isolated from contaminants, then measured with a mass spectrometer to determine how long ago it had been exposed to cosmic rays.
    "We can date the retreat of the glacier to within 500 years with prime samples," said Dr. Schaefer, who is a geochemist. He hopes to reconcile his glacial-dating techniques with the ages of Hudson River marine sediments and marsh sediments. And his team hopes that study of the British Headquarters map may yield clues about subglacial water channels and patterns of ice-sheet melting, which tended to dump erratics in north-south alignments. So far, the worldwide evidence indicates that "wherever we look, the glacier seems to have decided to retreat at the same time.
    Evidently, though it has been long believed that ice sheets took a long time to melt, glacial systems, according to Dr. Schaefer, their melt "may be much more quickly moving than we thought before, and they may react on pretty small climate changes in a very dramatic way. The indications are that the rate of collapse is faster than previously believed." Some scientists have theorized that the rapid melting of prehistoric glaciers could have triggered powerful climatic change. Eventually, as the last ice sheet melted, the planet entered the relatively warm, unusually stable interglacial era it currently enjoys.
    The obvious point in all this is to show that ideas of the landforms to the east of the Great Lakes region, between the lakes and the Atlantic coast, were never huge bays, open to the lakes after the last Ice Age around 10,000 B.C. Any discussion or historical factors submitted in defense of such a landform concept is against all scientific data that has been found and measured. Therefore, the argument that there was access from the sea to the Great Lakes other than the St. Lawrence River in any time frame involving either the Jaredites or Nephites is completely without merit and has no place in a serious discussion of how Lehi could have reached Lake Erie by ship in 600 B.C.
    In light of all this, and our recent series on the inland water systems of the eastern and southern United States areas, it seems well beyond time to discard the idea of a Heartland Model or Great Lakes Model as the location for the Land of Promisesince Nephis ship or any other vessel larger than a canoe, as has been thoroughly shown by experts, could not have reached either location from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic coast.
    While all these articles may seem like extensive overkill on the subject, it should be noted despite all the various ways modern science and continued new discoveries of the impossibility of Lehi or anyone else in history sailing up the St. Lawrence River past Montreal, or up the Mississippi River past Baton Rouge, has been shown time and again to have been impossible for most any vessel, especially one with the deep draft necessary to cross oceans, dogged insistence by some theorists of such happening in order to prove their theories is completely ill-founded. It is time for such theorists to face this reality and stop burying their heads in the sands and believing something could have occurred that has been proven to have not been possible.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Were the Great Lakes Ever Open to the Atlantic? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding possible bays and inlets to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean in antiquity. 
    In 2003, according to Wayne Reeves and Christina Palassio, this deep Laurentian flowing river was discovered beneath the area of the Great Lakes, where water still flows down this old glacier-formed depressionbut underground (Toronto's Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets,Coach House Books, Toronto, 2007, pp284285). 
    The source of this aquifer is the Georgian Bay, approximately 120 miles away.
    Since first proposed by Spencer in 1881, the Laurentian River system has been noted and delineated by different Ontario geoscientists, with the main drainage pathway for a significant portion of the Great Lakes Basin flowing from the Wasaga Beach area at Georgian Bay southwards through Simcoe County and York Region to Toronto where it has been traced into the Lake Ontario basin.
The Laurentian River, which flowed through the Toronto area, drained this great depression. It began from Lake Superior and flowed through the Lake Huron Basin, the Georgian Bay Basin and, through a valley in bedrock, now hidden by the Oak Ridges Moraine, to the Lake Ontario Basin and thence by the St. Lawrence Valley to the Ocean 

    At this point, the bedrock under Toronto has several dips believed to have been carved by the Laurentian River, which remains measure more than 15 ½ miles wide, 62 miles long and greater than 328-feet deep, with the sediments ranging from sands and gravels near the bottom and clay silts near the top ("Quaternary Geology: Toronto and Surrounding Area,Ontario Geological Survey, 1980).
    As for the condition of the Great Lakes and surrounding land forms, Dr. Joseph William Spencer, geologist and geomorphologist and best known for his work on the geology of southern Ontario and the Great Lakes, published a book titled The Falls of Niagara: their evolution and varying relations to the Great Lakes. He was one of the geologists who made a special study of the creation of the Great Lakes, stating that the last touch in the completion of the North American continent has been the making of these lakes. Thus, it can be said that after the last glacial period around 10,000 B.C., according to geologists, the landscape and topography of the Great Lakes and subsequent terrain to the east to the sea was 1) fixed and complete, and 2) the distance was even greater than it is today.
    In describing the ancient conditions, J. W. Spencer of the Royal Society of London, also added, "the lake district formed a great plateau at a considerable altitude above the sea, with some bordering mountains or high lands." (J.W. Spencer, Niagara as a Timepiece, Appletons Popular Science Monthly, ed. William Jay Youmans, Vol49, Appleton and Company, New York, 1896, p157). This district was high enough to permit the excavation of deep valleys, many of which have long since been filled up with sand and drift and now lie beneath the lake waters. The sea was then farther distant from the present lake region than now.In fact, todays landfall measurement shows that Lake Ontario is 243-feet above sea level, and that Lake Erie is 571-feet in elevation.
    In geologic time, according to Wayne Grady in The Great Lakes, it has been estimated that the foundational geology that created the conditions shaping the present day upper Great Lakes was laid from 1.1 to 1.2 billion years ago, when two previously fused tectonic plates split apart and created the Midcontinental Rift, which crossed the Great Lakes Tectonic Zone. A valley was formed providing a basin that eventually became modern day Lake Superior. When a second fault line, the Saint Lawrence rift, formed approximately 570 million years ago, the basis for Lakes Ontario and Erie were created, along with what would become the Saint Lawrence River” (Greystone Books, Vancouver, 2007, pp42-43).
When Lake Iroquois and Lake Algonquin existed, the northern area (white) was the retreating ice shield. These lakes formed in the great depressions caused by the Ice Age glaciers and were left when they retreated northward 

The Great Lakes are estimated to have been formed by deglaciation at the end of the last glacial period (the Wisconsin glaciation ended 10,000 to 12,000 years ago), when the Laurentide Ice Sheet receded (Grahame Larson and R. Schaetzl, Origin and Evolution of the Great Lakes,Journal of Great Lakes Research Vol.27, Num.4, 2001, pp518-546). The retreat of the ice sheet left behind a large amount of meltwater (Lake Algonquin and Lake Chicago) that filled up the basins that the glaciers had carved, thus creating the Great Lakes as we know them today. Because of the uneven nature of glacier erosion, some higher hills became Great Lakes islands. The Niagara Escarpment follows the contour of the Great Lakes between New York and Wisconsin, including Glacial Lake Iroquois and the Champlain Sea.
    It should also be noted that the land below the glaciers "rebounded" as it was uncovered. Because the glaciers covered some areas longer than others, this glacial rebound occurred at different rates. Historically, the Great Lakes, in addition to their lake ecology, were surrounded by various forest ecoregions (except in a relatively small area of southeast Lake Michigan where savanna or prairie occasionally intruded). Logging, urbanization, and agriculture uses have changed that relationship. In the early 21st century, Lake Superior's shores were 91% forested, Lake Huron 68%, Lake Ontario 49%, Lake Michigan 41%, and Lake Erie, where logging and urbanization was most extensive, 21%. Some of these forests are second or third growth (i.e. they have been logged before, changing their composition) 
Off the east coast of the U.S. showing that the crustal arrangement of the land east of the Great Lakes was part of a solid shield and shelf and could not possibly have been opened to become a bay without extensive plate tectonic movement, which would, therefore, still exist 

East of the Great Lakes region, between the lakes and the Atlantic coast, the area was once covered by a vast crystalline shield of frozen water of this Laurentide ice sheet. It carved the terrain of the metropolitan area, and as it melted, dumped so much transported rock, gravel, sand and sediment that it created parts of Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey, including the barrier islands at the coast. It also deposited such notable landforms as Battle Hill, in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Northward, it formed part of the plateau and dissected southern rim of the Canadian Shield in the province of Québec, and is a western extension of the Laurentian Mountains, continuing across the Ottawa Valley into Ontario as the Opeongo Hills. Viewed from the valleys of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers, the south-facing escarpments of the Shield give the appearance of mountains 1600 to 2600 feet highthis Laurentian Region in Quebec extends over 120 miles northward from the scarps and to stretch from the Gatineau River in the west over 340 miles to the Saguenay River in the northeast, rising from a mean elevation of 1300 feet to over 3200 feet north of Quebec City in the Reserve Faunique des Laurentides.
    As for the falls themselves, according to J.W. Spencer in Appletons Popular Science Monthly (p16), the age of the falls is computed at thirty-one thousand years, with its present or last stage has been three thousand years. And according to this Science Monthly, these figures are based upon the severest analytical methods at present attainable. Thus it can be seen that the Falls, contrary to the uninformed opinions of some theorists, existed long before the time of their claim of the Nephites arrival.
    In fact, any way you look at it, the Niagara Falls, in their present condition and location date to 1000 B.C., four hundred years prior to the time Lehi is supposed to have sailed up that river from Lake Ontario and into Lake Erie, a direct vertical rise in the water flow of between 170 and 180 feet, and were actual falls somewhat like the present for thousands of years before that--there is no possible way Lehi could have reached Lake Erie in this theorist-claimed manner .
(See the net post, Were the Great Lakes Ever Open to the Atlantic? Part II, regarding whether or not the Great Lakes region was open to the Atlantic Ocean in ages past)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Were the Great Lakes Ever Open to the Atlantic? – Part I

For some reason, Great Lakes theorists and even some others, find it difficult to accept the fact that the Great Lakes area was not the home of the Nephites, nor even would it have been possible for Lehi to have reached this area in 600 B.C.
During the last Ice Age, northern North America, including the northern United States and the Great Lakes region, was covered with glacial ice
    First of all, it is comparatively well known that during the last Ice Age, northern North America was covered by an enormous glacier, which alternately advanced and melted with variations in the climate. This continental ice sheet formed during the period now known as the Wisconsin Glacial Episode, or the Wisconsin Glaciation, and covered much of central North America between 30,000 and 10,000 years ago. As the ice sheet disintegrated, it created at its front an immense proglacial lake, formed from its meltwaters, as the retreat of glacial margins is not caused by a reversal of the glacier's flow, but rather from melting of the ice sheet (R. W. Ojakangas and C. L. Matsch, Minnesota's Geology, University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota, 1982, pp. 106110). 
    It is important to keep this in mind, that is, that the Great Lakes were formed out of the melting glacial ice sheet. According to A.S. Dyke and V.K. Prest, among other geomorphological effects, this glaciation gouged out the five Great Lakes and the hosts of smaller lakes of the Canadian shield, filling with melt water, which extended from the eastern Northwest Territories, through most of northern Canada, and the upper Midwestern United States, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, to the Finger Lakes, through Lake Champlain and Lake George areas of New York, across the northern Appalachians into and through all of New England and Nova Scotia.
    At times, the ice sheet's southern margin included the present-day sites of northeastern coastal towns and cities such as Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, and Great Lakes coastal cities and towns as far south as Chicago and St. Louis, Missouriand then followed quite precisely the present course of the Missouri River up to the northern slopes of the Cypress Hills, beyond which it merged with the Cordilleran Ice Sheet ("Late Wisconsinan and Holocene History of the Laurentide Ice Sheet," Géographie physique et Quaternaire, vol.41, Num.2, 1987, pp237-263).
    As this glacier began melting northward about 10,000 years ago, to the west and north of the present Great Lakes area a huge lake, called Lake Agassiz, was formed, growing to cover some 170,000 square miles, including much of Manitoba, northwestern Ontario, northern Minnesota, eastern North Dakota and Saskatchewan, larger even than the Caspian Sea and approximately the size of the Black Sea. It was called Lake Agassiz, and fourteen shorelines have been identified of its original existence.
Lake Agassiz, the Traverse Gap, River Warren and the Glacial melt ran to the west of the Great Lakes area, not to the east of the region, discounting any huge bays or water areas open to the Atlantic Ocean
    Between Minnesota and South Dakota, within the Traverse Gapan ancient river channel occupied by Lake Traverse, Big Stone Lake and the valley connecting them at Browns Valley, Minnesotathe River Warren was formed. When the Hudson Bay ice melted, the lake was completely draineda  process involving five stages over a four thousand year periodinto the Hudson depression, and the draining of the River Warren eventually led to the creation of the upper Mississippi River at Mendota, Minnesota, as well as the Minnesota River and the Red River of the Northa total of six rivers in all as well as Lake Souris, before it emptied, filling the Agassiz Basin.
    All these geological experts regarding the forming of the Great Lakes agree that these lakes were formed more or less in their present positions even further from the Atlantic Ocean than the distance is today. Yet, according to some, such as J. B. Mansfield (John Brainard Mansfield, History of the Great Lakes, Volume II, J. H. Beers &Co., Chicago, 1899), claim the Great Lakes were actually recessed Bays of the Atlantic coast. Mansfield writes extensively regarding evidences today of a large, currently buried riverbed that ran throughout the Great Lakes and around them, referred to as the Laurentian River system.
    It is important to note that before the Ice Age, this lost river that drained this region ran through the Toronto area. It had started from Lake Superior and flowed through the Lake Huron Basin, the Georgian Bay Basin and, through a valley in bedrocknow hidden by the Oak Ridges Moraineto the Lake Ontario Basin and thence by the St. Lawrence Valley to the Ocean. However, this period of which he writes, indicating buried river beds that are said to have anciently existed throughout the Great Lakes area, predates the last ice age, which is considered to have ended around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, or according to others, about 10,000 B.C., which makes Mansfields argument irrelevant regarding mans use of the St. Lawrence river or its existence as a Bay of the Atlantic, for the post Glacial period is well known and understood. 
    To fully understand this, these river beds, beneath the rock surface seen today, are filled with glacial debris, otherwise known as moraine, that is regolith and rock, which is nothing more than an accumulation of earth, stones and sediment carried and finally deposited by a glacier, typically as ridges at its edges or extremity.
    As the ice sheet of the glacier melted, water began to pond in the divide between the moraine and the ice front, with the ice acting as a dam since the water was unable to drain through the ice sheet, which covered most of the proglacial river valleys. Numerous small, isolated water bodies formed between the moraine and the ice front, and as continued melting and receding northward, these ponds combined into proglacial lakes. Where there was no available outlet, water levels continued to rise until reaching one or more low spots along the rim of a moraine, or the ice sheet continued to retreat, opening access to a lower portion of the moraine.
    When the moraine debris was near the surface, having been depressed into the Earth from the weight of the glacier, but now released, it pushed upward after the glacial melting, and formed supraglacial sediments over the landscape, or hummocky, drum-shaped hillocks. composed of supraglacial sediments from the ice surface.
    According to Kurt H. Kjaer and Johannes Krüger, this active process forms or reworks moraine sediment directly by the movement of the ice, known as glaciotectonism, which pushes moraines and thrust-block moraines, which are often composed of till and reworked proglacial sediment ("The final phase of dead-ice moraine development: processes and sediment architecture, Kötlujökull, Iceland," Sedimentolog, vol.48, no.5 , 2001, pp 935952).
(See the net post, Were the Great Lakes Ever Open to the Atlantic? Part II, regarding whether or not the Great Lakes region was open to the Atlantic Ocean in ages past)

Friday, January 12, 2018

When the Andes Came Up – Part II

Continuing from the previous post, in which we discussed the fact that geologists haven't always agreed about the history of our planet. In fact, they have debated back and forth between catastrophism and uniformitarianism over the last few hundred years! We also discussed, in part, the ongoing struggle from catastrophism to gradualism to uniformitarianism and now a strong movement is heading back toward catastrophism.    However, in that process of ever-changing beliefs, theories, and understandings, during James Hutton’s period of gradualism, in 1789 was published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh Bulletin Volume of the famous dissertation “The Earth theory, or on terrestrial composition, disintegration and restoration of law.”
    In fact, it was read before the Society three years earlier in 1785 in a little known pamphlet called the “Abstract,” in which Hutton first announced publicly his famous Theory of the Earth.
It seems Hutton himself was the author of the “Abstract,” and that it was published in 1785, some three years before the Royal Society paper was issued in the Society's Transactions. The writer concluded that the “Abstract,” and not, as had been supposed, the Transactions paper, constituted the first form in which The Theory was published.
    At the time, Richard Kirwan, the famed and widely known Irish geologist, chemist, meteorologist and former attorney in the Irish bar, winner of the Copley Medal, a scientific award given by the Royal Society, and at the time President of the Royal Irish Academy, criticized Hutton and his work, accusing him of atheism and poor logic, and continued with a lively dispute with upholders of Hutton’s theory for many years. Later in life, Kirwan refused a baronetcy before his death in 1812.
    In answer to Kirwan’s criticism, Hutton published in 1795, a two volume, roughly 1200-page version of his theory, in which he described Earth as a living organism. His work would become influential for centuries, even inspiring Charles Darwin during his writings on evolution. Hutton’s idea was a major turning point in the field of geology, and established it as a proper science. In fact, today, he is considered “the father of modern geology,” and credited with claiming that the erosion of landforms, the deposition of sediments, the drifting of continents and the eruption of volcanoes, were all happening long ago, on roughly the same scale and at roughly the same rate as they are today.
He called his theory “gradualism,” which was popularized by another geologist, Charles Lyell, who expanded Hutton's theory of gradualism into the theory of uniformitarianism. Lyell observed processes that made small changes in Earth's features and inferred that similar changes had happened in the past. His fierce insistence that the processes that alter the Earth are uniform through time and viewed the history of Earth as being vast and directionless held sway for more than a hundred years, however, recently we have seen a rise in the theory of catastrophism once again.
    At the time, Hutton’s theory led to the idea that mountains are uplifted, valleys carved, and sediments deposited over immense time periods by the same physical forces and chemical reactions seen operating today, and sometimes described as gradualism—in which slow incremental changes, such as erosion, gradually created all the Earth's geological features.
    Thus, in its original form, catastrophism eventually fell from grace with the scientific community as they reasoned what they felt were more logical explanations for natural history. But catastrophism was renewed in international interest in the 1970s and has been gaining momentum ever since, partly because of a return to Biblical understanding, but mostly because modern measurement techniques, knowledge, scientific studies and findings have led numerous independent-thinking scientists to question Hutton’s views.
    Originally, of course, the theory and subsequently today’s continued belief, developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when both tradition and scientific laws were based on Biblical knowledge, and paramount was Noah’s Flood. This idea of catastrophism, believed by a growing number of geologists today, interprets the origin of the Rocky Mountains or the Alps as resulting from a huge earthquake that uplifted them quickly, and when viewing the Yosemite Valley in California they assert they were not carved by glaciers, but rather the floor of the valley collapsed over 1,000 feet to its present position in one giant plunge. Strict catastrophic theory also argues for long periods of inactivity following catastrophic events (a thorough understanding of this is outlined in our book Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths).
    So we have two prevalent theories today, one of which being Hutton’s gradualism and Lyell’s uniformitarianism on the one hand, which has the majority of support and has become entrenched in the public conscience and taught at schools and universities. The other is the much older theory of catastrophism that had shaped thinking for much of Earth’s scientific development prior to the end of the eighteenth century, and is now making a comeback among many scientists.
    As a side note, it might be of interest to know that Paleontology, which is the study of fossils, is concerned not only with their description and classification but also with an analysis of the evolution of the organisms involved. According to Paleontologists, simple fossil forms can be found, they claim, in early Precambrian rocks as old as 3,500,000,000 (3.5 billion years), and it is widely considered by them that life on Earth must have begun before the appearance of those oldest rocks. Thus, Paleontological research of the fossil record since the Cambrian Period has contributed much to the theory of evolution of life on Earth.
    Following this theoretical concept is a simple one—if rocks were used (indestructible matter) to build this Earth from other locations by Divine beings and indicated in the Pearl of Great Price, then the idea that this Earth has to be older than the rocks found on it, is fallacious and without merit—just a thought for consideration.
    As for the other comments submitted by the reader, such as “it is well known that the Andes rose over time,” that is a uniformitarianism view of geology, and one not shared by Biblical events and the word of God connected to them. That theory is well known among godless scientists who rely on their own knowledge and not the word of God. This blog does not agree with that theory.
    As for where the Andes were when they rose, the scriptural record says that “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 14:23, emphasis added). That would seem to preclude they rose out of the water, but rose up from flat land (valleys), as we have continually stated. However, since there are valleys at various levels of elevation, it does not mean they rose from level ground at “sea level,” but simply that they rose up from land considered valleys by the Nephites.
    As for lands in Brazil rising. The entire continent rose, or tilted, with the west coastal area (according to Darwin) rising higher. Thus, the continent along the Pacific rim rose higher out of the water, as the mountains rose, bringing up the entire central area, called the Amazon Drainage Basin today, which is confirmed by geologists—we just differ in the time frame.
    Which brings us to the scriptural record that says the mountains rose during the crucifixion, that places the event around 34 A.D. In placing that Land of Promise in the Peruvian area, that means the Andes were the mountains which rose to a height “which was great” so they came up in 34 A.D. At what level (or various levels) they were before they rose during the crucifixion is not known.
    As for three hours. Yes, we are saying they rose during the events described in the scriptural record, which states quite clearly: “and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours” (3 Nephi 8:19).
    To our understanding there have been four major catastrophic events that affected either the entire Earth, or at least significant parts of it: 1) The Creation; 2) the Flood; 3) the Earth was divided; 4) the destruction in the Land of Promise during the Crucifixion.
    All of those events occurred suddenly and in a short period of time and had extreme effect on the Earth and its geologic makeup. In addition, there have been other catastrophic events that might have been more local in scope, but affecting geologic makeup none-the-less.
    In short, then, the events described in the scriptural record associated with the crucifixion found in 3 Nephi, depicts serious changes in the topography of the Land of Promise that took place in three hours and over a three day period. Obviously, this is not something the gradualism crowd is going to accept, for they rely on man's knowledge and not that of God. However, it  is clearly stated as how the Lord accomplished the events described.