Thursday, October 6, 2011

Water Fight on the River - Round Seventeen

17. Question. Did the River Sidon flow through wilderness areas? See the article "Asking the Right Questions" in this blog.

17. Answer. Yes, along much of its length.
17. Exhibit. We established previously that the Usumacinta flows through less densely populated territory than the Mezcalapa-Grijalva, and that it has fewer known archaeological sites per running kilometer. See the article "Water Fight on the River - Round Three" in this blog. We also established previously that much of the Usumacinta flows through evergreen deciduous forest while almost all of the Mezcalapa-Grijalva flows through open shrub lands and savannas. See the article "Water Fight on the River - Round Six" in this blog. In addition, we established previously that the Usumacinta has far fewer city lights visible at night from space than the brighter Mezcalapa-Grijalva. See the article "Water Fight on the River - Round Nine" in this blog. All of these factors show that the Usumacinta is much more likely to flow through lands The Book of Mormon would have considered "wilderness" than the Mezcalapa-Grijalva.
We have not yet treated the rainy season/dry season cycle, a very important topic in southern Mesoamerican geography. This image, from NASA's spectacular Blue Marble: Next Generation series, shows The Book of Mormon Land Southward in October, when things have been wet for six months.
Southern Mesoamerica in October at the end of the rainy season.
NASA's Blue Marble: Next Generation series also shows the same area six months later in April, when everything has been dry for six months.
Southern Mesoamerica in April at the end of the dry season.
The dense foliage along the Usumacinta remains year-round, while the middle and upper Mezcalapa-Grijalva loses most of its ground cover during the 6 months from November through April.  John L. Sorenson's excellent analysis of timing in Book of Mormon military campaigns shows clearly that The Nephites fought almost all of their battles during the dry season. "Seasonality of Warfare in The Book of Mormon and in Mesoamerica" in Warfare in The Book of Mormon edited by William J. Hamblin and Stephen D. Ricks, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book & FARMS, 1990.
17. Conclusion. The Usumacinta fits The Book of Mormon text better than the Mezcalapa-Grijalva based on a series of wilderness indicators. In the specific case where dense wilderness foliage hid an entire army near the Sidon in the Land of Manti during the dry season Alma 43:32, the Usumacinta uniquely fits the text. Advantage Usumacinta.
17. Running Score. Mezcalapa-Grijalva 0. Usumacinta 17.