Aug 9, 2011

The Silvino Cave


Entrance Silvino Cave
I have suggested that the mountain Cerro San Gil, in the Department of Izabal in Guatemala, is the famous Hill Cumorah (or Ramah) of the Book of Mormon.  This hill satisfies all of the criteria listed for this landmark.
One of the favorable features of this hill is the existence of a number of caves in the area.  These are found in the scattered limestone outcrops which are exposed on the mountain.  You will remember that the prophet Mormon hid all the Nephite records, other than his condensed version, somewhere in the Hill Cumorah, probably in a cave.  This cave was reportedly seen in vision (1) by the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
The geological map of the San Gil region, included below, shows these limestone outcrops in dark blue with the symbol Pc (Paleozoic carbonate).  They are considered to be karst formations which consist of limestone, or other carbonate rocks, which have been acted upon by mildly acidic surface water containing dissolved carbon dioxide. This combination forms a weak solution of carbonic acid, which over time dissolves the limestone forming cavities, channels and sometimes caves.
Geology Cerro San Gil.  Click to enlarge.
A number of caves are known in the region.  A well known example is the Silvino Cave (2). This cave is located on the south side of Cerro San Gil near the town of Morales.  It would be in one of the three smaller limestone outcrops shown on the lower half of the map.  It was discovered in 1954 by a road crew while excavating on the roadside of the main highway to Puerto Barrios. There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding this cave and it is somewhat difficult to distinguish truth from error.  But it appears that the cave extends back into the mountain for at least 600 feet (see diagram below). There are suggestions of chambers along the main passage.  At the end of the main cave there is an underground stream or pool.  I have been unable to discover whether the cave extends beyond the stream. A large population of bats inhabit the cave.  Some say that there are other caves in the immediate area, which would be reasonable considering the karst environment.
Could the vast store of ancient Nephite records be hidden in a concealed cave in this area?  I believe it is possible.  

(1) Maxwell Institute Press / Periodical / Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13/1–2 (2004) / Cumorah's Cave by: Cameron J. Packer publication date: 2004
(2)  Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuevas_del_Silvino