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Visitors Manual - A Geological History

geologicalHistory 

Written and edited by Warren Jopling, this guide was a collaboration with the Samoa Tourism Authority. It outlines how the Samoan Archipelago formed, why one island suffers massive periodic eruptions and why volcanism is predicted well into the future. Geology is an aspect of tourism seldom presented to visitors, most of whom return home with wonderful tales of people, culture and beaches but quite unaware they just left a unique chain of volcanic islands – active at each end and the site of one of the world’s largest lava eruptions of historic time.

This, then, is primarily for visitors interested in natural history. It is neither a scientific treatise nor a travel guide to Samoa’s many scenic highlights but a narrative explaining Samoa’s two stages of volcanism, why it took most of the 20th century to establish the archipelago’s hot-spot origin and why Upolu and Savaii are so different in landscape and population. Some understanding of the earth’s composition, plate tectonics, palaeomagnetism and hot-spots is helpful in following this story. Hot-spots are described in the text, the others briefly outlined in an appendix.

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