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Author Topic: Reef Damage  (Read 20062 times)

Ted G Campbell

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Re: Reef Damage
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2010, 06:37:39 PM »

Ric,
Just took a look at a Google Earth picture of Niku dated 2/22/2007 and noted what appears to be major ocean over wash on the South West and West side of the island.  Do we have good data on the elevation of the island?

I have often wondered why AE may have left the area of the "landing", the old village, the Norwich City, etc. and decided to relocate to the "Seven Site" which is quite a hike around to the other side of the island.

If the weather was such that she was always wet just after her landing I now understand why she would want to move on from the area that provided the most attachment to civilization, al-be-it years earlier, for someplace more comfortable.

Do we have any data that suggest that the hardest weather/ocean surge hits the island in a Northeasterly direction?

Is there any data on the Coast Guard base regarding ocean over wash, etc. while the base was operational?

If the over wash is normally to the Northeast on the island wouldn't it be prudent to look for artifacts to the NE of the "Seven Site" in addition to the site it self; just a suggestion.

Ted Campbell


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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Reef Damage
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2010, 07:01:43 AM »

Ric,
Just took a look at a Google Earth picture of Niku dated 2/22/2007 and noted what appears to be major ocean over wash on the South West and West side of the island.  Do we have good data on the elevation of the island?

Like all coral atolls, the elevation doesn't amount to more than a few meters. However, the reef does a good job protecting the island and overwash is rare. Incursions by storm surges are apparent all along the western and southwestern shorelines but the only place we see evidence of recent overwash from ocean to lagoon is in a swath through the old village on the southern shore of Tatiman Passage. That event occurred sometime between 2003 and 2007.

I have often wondered why AE may have left the area of the "landing", the old village, the Norwich City, etc. and decided to relocate to the "Seven Site" which is quite a hike around to the other side of the island.

The part of the island on shore from where the airplane seems to have landed is sheltered from the prevailing easterly winds and, therefore, very hot and unpleasant.  The Seven Site, by contrast, is (or was in 1937) the best place on the atoll for a castaway to hang out.  It was open forest, cooled by the trade winds, and close to both the lagoon and ocean reef for fishing. By climbing a tree you could get a clear view of both the northern and southern horizons to watch for a ship.  I would imagine that the Seven Site was selected as a result of a fairly thorough exploration of the island - something any sensible castaway would do.

Do we have any data that suggest that the hardest weather/ocean surge hits the island in a Northeasterly direction?

Storm events and surges come out of the west and northwest.

Is there any data on the Coast Guard base regarding ocean over wash, etc. while the base was operational?

No, nor would I expect there to be. That is the most sheltered part of the island.

If the over wash is normally to the Northeast on the island wouldn't it be prudent to look for artifacts to the NE of the "Seven Site" in addition to the site it self; just a suggestion.

We've seen no evidence of overwash anywhere near the Seven Site.  Artifacts may well have been moved from where they originally lay, but that movement was likely caused by forces other than water  - wind, animals, birds, and humans, including us in the process of clearing vegetation from the site.

Ric


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