Dana Professor of Geology Rick Dunn Presents Easter Island Research in Japan

Newsletter of the College of Science & Mathematics

Dana Professor of Geology Rick Dunn Presents Easter Island Research in Japan

By David Westerman, PhD

View of ladder and Easter Island moai at archaeological dig siteIn late July and early August, Prof. Rick Dunn was in Nagoya, Japan for two-plus weeks to present a talk about his Easter Island research at the International Union for Quaternary Sciences (INQUA).

The photograph is from Easter Island and shows the five-meter depth of burial of many of the moai, all by colluvium in a span of only a few hundred years! Prof. Dunn’s talk focused on reconstructing landscape and environmental evolution in the area of the megalithic statue quarries from which the massive moai, or large statues, were removed. The area very likely had a complex land use history, including extensive gardening, in addition to the well-known quarry activity, and the impact on the landscape was short-lived but extensive and detrimental.

In addition to the professional talk, Dunn met with many other Quaternary scientists to discuss ongoing projects and potential collaborative studies. He also spent time in and around Nagoya visiting geological and archaeological sites and museums. And of course, he spent time enjoying Japan, including gardens and evenings of good adventure at various restaurants.

About the Author: David S. Westerman, PhD, is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Geology at Norwich University and the Associate Vice President for Research in NU’s Office of Academic Research. This article is reprinted from the OAR blog.