Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific

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University of Hawaiʹi Press, 2009 - History - 269 pages
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Over the years, geologists have amassed data that point to the undeniable fact of islands having disappeared in the Pacific, a phenomenon that the oral traditions of many groups of Pacific Islanders also highlight. There are even a few instances where fragments of Pacific continents have disappeared, becoming hidden from view rather than being submerged. In this scientifically rigorous yet readily comprehensible account of the fascinating subject of vanished islands and hidden continents in the Pacific, the author ranges far and wide, from explanations of the region's ancient history to the meanings of islands myths. Using both original and up-to-date information, he shows that there is real value in bringing together myths and the geological understanding of land movements. A description of the Pacific Basin and the "ups and downs" of the land within its vast ocean is followed by chapters explaining how islands and continents that no longer exist were once present. A succinct account is given of human settlement of the region and the establishment of cultural contexts for the observation of occasional catastrophic earth-surface changes and their encryption in folklore. The author also addresses the persistent myths of a "sunken continent" in the Pacific, which became widespread after European arrival and were subsequently incorporated into new age and pseudoscience explanations of our planet and its inhabitants. Finally, he presents original data and research on island disappearances witnessed by humans, recorded in oral and written traditions, and judged by geoscience to be authentic.

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Contents

Islands That Vanished Long Ago
35
A Ancient Continents Hidden by Time
62
f Mythical Islands in Pacific Islander Traditions
86
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Patrick D. Nunn is professor of oceanic geoscience at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

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