Over the years, geologists have amassed data that point to the undeniable fact of islands having disappeared in the Pacific, a phenomenon that the oral traditions of many groups of Pacific Islanders also highlight. There are even a few instances where fragments of Pacific continents have disappeared, becoming hidden from view rather than being submerged. In this scientifically rigorous yet readily comprehensible account of the fascinating subject of vanished islands and hidden continents in the Pacific, the author ranges far and wide, from explanations of the region's ancient history to the meanings of island myths. Using both original and up-to-date information, he shows that there is real value in bringing together myths and the geological understanding of land movements.
A description of the Pacific Basin and the "ups and downs" of the land within its vast ocean is followed by chapters explaining how islands and continents that no longer exist were once present. A succinct account is given of human settlement of the region and the establishment of cultural contexts for the observation of occasional catastrophic earth-surface changes and their encryption in folklore. The author also addresses the persistent myths of a "sunken continent" in the Pacific, which became widespread after European arrival and were subsequently incorporated into new age and pseudoscience explanations of our planet and its inhabitants. Finally, he presents original data and research on island disappearances witnessed by humans, recorded in oral and written traditions, and judged by geoscience to be authentic.
Patrick Nunn received his PhD from the University of London before spending 25 years teaching and researching at the International University of the South Pacific in Fiji, where he was appointed Professor of Oceanic Geoscience in 1996. He moved to Australia in 2010 to work at the University of New England before being appointed to a research professorship at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2014.
Patrick has more than 230 peer-reviewed publications to his credit and he has written several books, including Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific, which was named among the 'Best of the Best from the University Presses' in 2009 by the American Library Association, and The Edge of Memory with Bloomsbury Sigma in 2018.
"This delightful book examines the nature of vanished and vanishing islands of the vast Pacific Ocean [...] The writing is engaging and personal, and the science is clear and accessible. Its 11 chapters include black-and-white photographs, maps, and figures, as well as copious notes, several appendixes, and about 575 references [...] This is truly a fine, engaging read."
– Choice, April 2009