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Notes Chapter 1: Introduction: A Personal Odyssey 1. Ramage (1978:42–43). 2. Although pottery is not manufactured in this area today, the early ceramic history of the Moturiki area identifies it as one of the first parts of the Fiji Archipelago to have been inhabited by potterymaking humans, perhaps around 1000 BC (Nunn et al. 2007b). 3. Snow’s most famous work was The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959), in which he argued that a lack of communication between the humanities and the sciences was preventing the understanding and solution of many of the world’s problems. Chapter 2: The Earth’s Dynamic Third: The Pacific Basin 1. For a thoughtful account of the various perceptions of the Pacific Ocean and Islands, see Ward (1989). The collection of essays edited by Hau‘ofa (1993) is also representative of the views of many people living in the Pacific Islands. Good accounts of Pacific Islander voyaging include Lewis (1994). 2. I am talking here of islands large enough to sustain a viable human population, rather than smaller chunks of rock. 3. This issue was explained in more detail, using numerous examples, in the first chapter of Oceanic Islands (Nunn 1994). 4. Beer (1990:271). Beer went on to explain that the construction of the word “island” is a kind of pun: isle meaning “watery” and having land appended to make “water-surrounded land.” 5. Continents are composed of generally lighter (less dense) materials than the ocean floors. The age of the continents is commonly far greater, most continents having cores (cratons) that date back at least 1,000 million years. In contrast, most of the oldest ocean floor is around seventy million years in age. 6. The oldest known formation is the Acasta Gneisses of northwestern Canada, dated to around 4,000 million years ago (4,014 ± 25) by Sano et al. (1999). 7. A systematic account of earth history in the Pacific is given by Nunn (1999). 8. Formerly known as Gondwanaland. 9. Dietz (1961). The observation that magnetic stripes on the ocean floor are symmetrical on either side of the mid-ocean ridges proved critical. 10. This has given rise to the idea of a recurring supercontinent cycle (Nance et al. 1988). 11. This topic is reviewed in Nunn (1994). 12. A good exposition of the expanding-earth hypothesis is by King (1983). 13. The Ring of Fire is usually represented as being the line of active volcanoes associated with the convergent plate boundaries along the Pacific margins, but it is occasionally represented as including the East Pacific Rise, a line of underwater active volcanoes that marks a divergent plate boundary. 210 notes to pages 14–20 14. The use of the word “plate” may confuse the lay reader. In this sense, the best analog is not something from which you might eat your dinner but rather the hard carapace of a turtle that seems divided into rigid interlocking segments. 15. Although it is convenient to regard transform boundaries as characterized by no net convergence or divergence, there is actually often some. This is because these boundaries are not perfectly linear; often they have slight irregularities, which mean that the strike-slip (sliding) motion that occurs along them is expressed locally as convergence or divergence. The Fiji island named Cikobia is believed to have been uplifted for this reason because it occurs at a convergent kink in the Fiji Fracture Zone, a major transform boundary in the region (Nunn 1994). 16. The name Lō‘ihi means long in Hawaiian, a reference to the elongate form of the volcano, which is stretched along a rift zone trending north-south. 17. See, for example, the discussion by Williams (2001:91). 18. The event was described fancifully: “Three quarters of the Earth’s surface, to a depth of 35 miles, was carried away in a trailing mass of ruin. New Zealand itself was just saved to the Earth” (Pickering 1924:32). 19. J. M. Brown echoed these views when he wrote that “most geologists who study the whole surface and crust of the earth assume a hypothetical Pacific continent” (1924:47). The idea fell into scientific disrepute for want of evidence within a decade or so yet has been kept alive by less-scrupulous writers. 20. The continental crust is commonly termed “sial,” after its main elements silica and aluminum, and has an average density of 2,700–2,800 kilograms per cubic meter, and the surrounding oceanic crust, termed...


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Subject Headings

  • Geographical myths -- Oceania.
  • Oceania -- Geography.
  • Lost continents -- History.
  • Geographical myths -- Pacific Ocean.
  • Pacific Ocean -- Geography.
  • Islands of the Pacific -- History.
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