I saw the earlier story where the team members were introduced and their specialties outlined. I can see that you have very competent scientist on the team. I appreciate that you are posting updates of the progress of the study. I'm following it with baited breath (whatever that means) :)
I have been to this site many times, including this most recent expedition, and examined the rock very closely including climbing to the top and repelling down the front to examine the locations where water drips. There is no question as to whether water created these features - very obvious to the geologist present. The monsoon rains and fogs would cover these rocks in moisture each year for who knows how many years. All the large limestone boulders in the area contain identical features. In fact there is a small basin on top of the rock pictured which may prolong the water seeping through it.
That said i can confirm a scientific approach is what the team wants. Anything found or conclusions reached need to stand up to peer review and scrutiny by the wider scientific community. What Maurine said is correct it is only an early hypothesis by Dr Hauck. No dates from testing have come back, no diagnosis of artefacts has taken place, no significant excavations and incomplete mapping so a long way to go. Very interesting ruin though, only multi-room structure on the cliff top.
It's early days and there is a whole valley with dozens of ruined structures yet to yield results.
Am sure Dr. Hauck and the other Phd's are very observant that the water runs downward, and also at checking that the lichen stain is vertical. They know if the rock were stained while above and later sluffed, rolled or fell, the likely-hood the stain would again find vertical is remote. ( Wouldn't the stain end-up diagonal if the rock came from a different place?) By now they have probably checked measured and documented the course of water pouring over for the position of the rock today to verify all this. Does a poured bucket of water take the same course? This is so elementary, and the team has no doubt considered it along - with so much more - - "with their exceeding" expertise! Thanks for doing this. We are hanging on every word !!
Maurine Proctor here: Darin, We certainly appreciate the view of geologists and brought a geoarchaeologist with us to the site.
Maurine Proctor here: I certainly agree that confirmation bias is a problem in any scientific investigation. That is why we have five archaeologists--with only one being LDS and our tests of the site and the entire area of Kharfot involve many archaeological tools including soil samples, strata analysis, sophisticated mapping and next LIDAR. We have repeatedly called this an hypothesis. Dr. Hauck does not say that there was divine intervention with water and this rock as there was with Moses. But monsoonal rains and fog have most likely collected in the limestone and it seeped. In this way, it could have been a potent symbol for the group.
I have to agree with Dr. Shea's comment. I don't doubt that God, through his prophet, could have made water spring forth from that rock. However, to me, as a geologist, it appears from the drone-view photo, that that big rock sluffed off from the surrounding cliffs at some point in time, either before or after Lehi's clan was there, assuming that area is indeed Bountiful (let's complete the study before we make that conclusion). The algae stain could very well have been caused by water, but that could have also occurred when that chunk of rock was part of the big cliff, before it fell (if that's what happened). I'm only going from the photo shown in the video. A competent on-site geologist would be able to determine if that rock is an erosional remnant of the surrounding formation, or if it sluffed off the cliff. I would assume the team is taking that into consideration, but from the interview in the video (I know I'm not seeing all the evidence), it appears that Dr. Hauck is making circumstantial evidence fit the story as it pertains to a water stain on a rock.
It is so easy to see what one expects to see, to hear what one hopes to hear. Investigator bias is the Achilles heel of the empirical scientific disciplines. It delights me to think there is physical evidence that might support the Book of Mormon exodus story, but supportive evidence and proof are different things. Certainly there will be surprises and apparent inconsistencies in the evidence, and I hope those findings will be presented and discussed too. The object should not be to prove the truth of the Book of Mormon but to explore this amazing place as objectively as possible. With respect to that lichen streak, where did the water come from? Obviously, some sort of divine intervention, the water had to come from somewhere, so there must have been changes in the local topography that interrupted the source. There are many questions. My deep thanks to the government of Oman for permitting this exploration.
Email (will not be published)
Daily news, articles, videos and podcasts sent straight to your inbox.