Taxonomy term

island

Easter Island inhabitants drank brackish water to survive

The remote Chilean island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is famous for its 961 giant stone statues and monuments, erected between 1200 and 1600. Called moai, these statues have been a mystery for years, especially considering just a few thousand people inhabited the small, resource-limited Pacific island nearly 3,700 kilometers west of Chile. “Why did people put the statues where they did?” asks Carl Lipo, an archaeologist at Binghamton University in New York. The answer, according to new research, may have something to do with the civilization’s water supply.

20 Feb 2019

Travels in Geology: Mid-ocean volcanic excursion: The calderas and caldeiras of the Azores

The Azores, a volcanic island chain spanning more than 600 kilometers, may be diminutive and difficult to find on the map, but the islands offer oversize opportunities for sightseeing and adventure that are sure to appeal to almost any traveler, particularly those with an eye for natural and geologic scenery.

18 Feb 2019

Island-dwelling mammal had small brain, keen senses

A host of fossils has been discovered near the Romanian town of Haţeg, including 15 species of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs — some of them dwarf dinosaurs — and enormous pterosaurs with 12-meter wingspans, prompting the establishment of the Haţeg Country Dinosaurs Geopark in 2005.

26 Jul 2018

Travels in Geology: Corsica: A fusion of cultures on the Mediterranean's most mountainous isle

The rugged topography of the island of Corsica, off the coast of France and Italy, is a blend of rocks of very different ages and origins thrust together during one of Earth's great tectonic uphevals. 
09 Mar 2018

Travels in Geology: The diverse geology, landscapes and whiskys of Scotland's Southwestern Islands

For the geologically minded traveler, the Scottish isles of Arran and Islay showcase a suite of interesting rocks and landscapes, a wealth of cultural and recreational opportunities, and Scotland’s second-finest product (after the geology): single malt whisky.
06 Nov 2017

Getting there and getting around Scotland's Southwestern Islands

Ferry service to Arran and Islay is the primary way to access the islands from the Scottish mainland. Caledonian MacBrayne (“CalMac”) offers a “hopscotch” ticket package that goes from Ardrossan (close to Glasgow) to Brodick (Arran), across the Kintyre Peninsula, to Port Ellen (Islay), and then back to Kintyre, all on your own schedule, for £150, including ferrying your rental car. (We brought a rental car with us from the mainland, in the interest of being able to access outcrops where and when we wanted, but each island offers a municipal bus service as well.) Reserve a space for your car on the ferry during peak tourist times. Also, be prepared to be stuck on an island for a bit (usually not more than a few hours) if the weather turns.

 
06 Nov 2017

Travels in Geology: Easter Island's enduring enigmas

Easter Island, a lonely island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is steeped in mystique — and not just for its famous, perplexing statues and controversial story of societal collapse. How the island formed has also baffled geologists for decades.

27 Mar 2017

Early Pacific seafarers set sail in El Niño years

Even with modern airplanes and ships, the far-flung islands of Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, Micronesia and Fiji are difficult to reach. Thousands of years ago, the seafarers who first settled the islands had a much more arduous journey, sailing thousands of kilometers and navigating by the stars. According to a new study, these intrepid travelers may have gotten a boost from weather associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation patterns, which sweep through the Pacific every three to seven years.

27 Feb 2017

Travels in Geology: Gotland getaway: Sweden's 'tropical' escape in the Baltic

Gotland, a Silurian-aged coral-reef island with white sand beaches, lies not in the tropics but in the Baltic Sea off the southeastern coast of Sweden just a short trip from Stockholm. In addition to the carbonate geology, visitors can view medieval churches and thatched-roof Viking farms, and experience the moody, atmospheric weather featured in the films of director Ingmar Bergman.

21 Mar 2016

Fate of atolls not necessarily tied to sea-level rise

The western Pacific Ocean is home to many atolls: rings of low-lying islands built from calcite sands and the erosional remnants of coral reefs. This region is also home to some of the highest rates of sea-level rise in recent decades — an unsettling fact for the atolls’ inhabitants and others worried that rising waters will eat away at the islands and evict residents for good. But according to a new study documenting long-term change at one Pacific atoll, the future for such islands might not be so bleak.

30 Aug 2015

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