Saturday, January 3, 2015

Streamflow

Streamflow, aka discharge, aka channel runoff, is the volume of water in a stream flowing past a point in a specified period of time. The international standard unit of measure for streamflow is cubic meters per second. River discharge varies greatly from the rainy season to the dry season, so the most common comparative metric is annual average cubic meters per second. Obviously, streamflow in a channel increases as tributaries join the stream so the location where the flow was measured is an important factor. Streamflow for some rivers of interest expressed in annual average cubic meters/second measured at the mouth.
  • Amazon (world's largest river by far) 209,000
  • Congo (largest river in Africa by streamflow) 41,200
  • Orinoco (2nd largest river in South America) 36,000
  • Saint Lawrence (drainage includes the Great Lakes) 16,800
  • Mississippi (drains 31 states & 2 Canadian provinces) 16,792
  • Columbia (drains 7 states & 1 Canadian province) 7,500
  • Nile (generally regarded as the longest river on earth at 6,650 kilometers) 2,800
  • Usumacinta (our proposed Sidon, largest stream in Mexico & Guatemala) 2,271
  • Papaloapan (our proposed Ripliancum Ether 15:8, 2nd largest stream in Mexico, largest stream in our land northward) 1,416
  • Mezcalapa - Grijalva (John L. Sorenson's candidate for Sidon) 1,392 (tributary of the Usumacinta in modern times, 3rd largest stream in Mexico)
  • Coatzacoalcos (part of our proposed Land Northward/Land Southward boundary, 4th largest stream in Mexico) 891
Following a huge battle south of Manti, the Nephite victors disposed of Nephite and Lamanite dead by throwing their bodies into river Sidon whose waters carried the corpses to the sea Alma 44:22. Manti was the southernmost Nephite settlement along the central Sidon corridor. It was not far from the head of Sidon in the narrow strip of wildrness. Streamflow in the Sidon at the point of battle was adequate to carry large numbers of dead bodies hundreds of kilometers northward to the ocean. This means the Sidon south of Manti, not far from the river's head, was already a large and powerful stream. We correlate the city of Manti with the site of Chama about 30 air kilometers NW of Coban in Alta Verapaz. We think the Captain Moroni/Zerahemnah battle took place about 11 air kilometers south of Chama on the Chixoy. See the blog article "Manti."
Proposed Moroni/Zarahemnah Battlefield
The Chixoy River at this point has an annual average streamflow of 756 cubic meters/second. This makes it larger than the Colorado River at Lake Havasu, Arizona which (since 1971) is spanned by the original London Bridge. We use Lake Havasu as our point of comparison rather than the mouth of the Colorado. So much water is removed from the Colorado downstream from Lake Havasu that by the time it reaches its mouth in Baja California the streamflow has been reduced to a trickle.

A dead body thrown into a river will normally sink to the bottom and remain there for several days until gasses from the bacterial action of decomposition bloat the corpse causing it to float to the surface. The same thing happens in salt water. The warmer the water, the faster the bacterial action and the quicker the body will rise in what is colloquially called "dead man's float." In warm oceans such as the Arabian Sea, even corpses weighted with ballast will typically float within 3 - 4 days. Ocean scavengers large and small will consume soft tissues. Cleaned bones will then sink to the bottom of the ocean where decomposition of skeletal remains typically takes years, decades or even centuries depending on factors such as water temperature and ph levels.

So, this is probably what happened to the Nephite and Lamanite bodies thrown into the Sidon south of Manti:
  1. They sank to the bottom of the stream channel after being carried downstream for a short distance by the current. The kinetic energy of the water near the bottom of a channel is much lower than the energy in the streamflow near the surface. So, it is rare for a recently dead human body to be carried more than 1 or 2 kilometers downstream from the point where it entered the water, even in a large river. 
  2. After a few days, bloated bodies began floating to the surface where they were carried downstream by the river, reaching salt water in about ten days.
  3. Nephites in populated downstream areas such as the local land of Zarahemla took note of the gruesome corpse parade as it floated by, allowing an eyewitness record that the bodies reached the sea Alma 44:22. Freshwater scavengers including Morelet's Crocodiles (crocodylus moreletii) consumed some of the rotting flesh before it reached the ocean.
  4. In the Gulf of Campeche, thousands of floating bodies were skeletonized in a matter of months by sharks, smaller fish, sea birds, sea lice, wave action, etc. 
  5. The bones eventually sank to the seabed where they began a slow process of decomposition. After a few decades, nothing organic from the dead warriors remained on the ocean floor.
Alma 3:3 describes a similar scenario on the river along the southern border of the local land of Zarahemla. In this case, though, the Nephites had sufficient manpower to provide an earth burial for their own dead Alma 3:1 so only Lamanite and Amlicite bodies were thrown in the river Alma 2:34. Nephite historians understood the biological processes described above as evidenced by their comment in Alma 3:3 that only bones lay on the seafloor.

This is where we think the Alma/Amlici battles took place. See the blog article "Gideon."
Proposed Hill Amnihu, Valley of Gideon, etc.
In this area near Tenosique, Tabasco the Usumacinta River has an annual average streamflow in excess of 2,000 cubic meters/second. That is about the same size as the Missouri at St. Louis or the Rhine at Rotterdam.