Exploring Dravuni’s Volcanic and Climate Change Past


I briefly introduced these two aspects of Dravuni in earlier postings. In the posting: Solo Lighthouse: beams light to ward off mariners from its treacherous rocks; hides secrets from the past, I touched on the volcanic characteristics of the Solo Reefs and the Solo rock on which Solo Lighthouse stands today.  In my Reflection: It was a triple hit in 1959: the prospect for the same in future remains high, I dwelled on some aspects of climate change. Scientific studies that have been carried out on Dravuni and its maritime environs have indeed reaffirmed these aspects.

A ‘Technical Report: Bio-Sedimentological Studies across the Great Astrolabe Reef and Lagoon, Dravuni Fiji, by The University of the South Pacific (USP), Series Number 95/3 of August 1995 reached a conclusion as follows: “……… subtidal beachrocks on Dravuni indicate a modern sea level rise or local subsidence of the volcanic basement……”

I associate ‘modern sea level rise’ with climate change and ‘local subsidence’ of course with volcanism. The statement above presents the two aspects by way of an ‘either/or’ situation. But for Dravuni, the situation is really for both prospects happening but sequentially.

An earlier USP report: Fiji’s Great Astrolabe Reef and Lagoon: A Baseline Study, 1992, has this to say: “The Astrolabe Islands are a group of volcanic islands. An original large composite volcanic centre dominated the area and has subsequently been modified by erosion associated with relative changes of sea level, resulting in only fragments of the original volcano remaining above sea level. These fragments each form an island with the exception of Solo and Buliya which represent single small volcanic centres.”

The picture below shows the extent of the ‘original large composite volcanic centre’ and the fragments that have subsequently formed islands. These are: to the south east bottom of the picture (not shown) lies Vanuakula. The cruise ship is anchored between Vanuakula and Dravuni (second image). Next to Dravuni are Yaukuve Levu and Yaukuve Sewa or Yaukuve Lailai. Buliya (separate volcanic centre) lies behind. Across the lagoon are Qasibale, Namara, Yanuyanu i loma and Yanuyanu i sau. Buliya’s offshore islands, Ono Island and Kadavu mainland in the background are on the outer fringe of this large composite volcanic centre.

Future blogs will explore the timeline and other features of these volcanic and climate change activities and how they inspired early cultural and traditional articulation and creativity in terms of the conceptualization of legends, for example.

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