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Vuniivilevu and Burotu: the geography, ethnography, and hazard implications of vanished Islands in Fiji

Nunn, Patrick D. and Geraghty, Paul and Nakoro, Elia R. and Nasila, A. and Tukidia, Samuela V. (2005) Vuniivilevu and Burotu: the geography, ethnography, and hazard implications of vanished Islands in Fiji. People and Culture in Oceania, 21 . pp. 87-114. ISSN 1349-5380

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Abstract

Vuniivilevu and Burotu are two islands in Fiji that allegedly 'vanished'. The recollections preserved in written sources and oral traditions (including a 2003-4 field survey) are presented and discussed together with a geological evaluation of whether these islands existed. Vuniivilevu was once a large island south of Moturiki Island in central Fiji; its form can be reconstructed. The location of Burotu is less certain, but it was probably close to Matuku Island in southeast Fiji. Both islands probably existed in fact. Vuniivilevu may have disappeared as a result of collapse of part of the east Viti Levu insular shelf between AD 1200 and 1600. Burotu may have slipped down the steep flanks of Matuku Island (of which it was part) at least 1000 years ago. The fact that such islands periodically disappear is supported by numerous examples from other islands in the Pacific and elsewhere, and underline the point that many such environments are inherently unstable. It is demonstrated that oral traditions can offer useful insights into these catastrophic events.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Office of the PVC (R&I)
Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2005 16:54
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2012 16:14
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/3388
UNSPECIFIED

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