Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Preparing for Samoa

As we make our plans for our upcoming trip to Samoa, I've been learning all I can about the country.  We will begin our travels on the island of Upolu, where the capital city of Apia is.   The majority of the population of Samoa lives on this island.   We will also spend a few days on Savaii.  bu is the bigger of the two main islands, but has only of a fraction of the population, mostly in scattered villages along the coastline.  Much of the interior is mountain jungle.

Our purpose for going to Samoa will be to meet with church leaders to help teach them about the My Family 15 in 15 program.  There are 13 Stakes and 14 Family History Centers on the island of Upolu.  There are 7 Stakes and 4 Family History Centers on the island of Savaii.  So we will have plenty to keep us busy.   Still, I am sure we will find some quiet time to go see some of the beauty and mingle with the local people.
We are looking forward to it!

In 1962, Samoa became the first South Pacific island to gain independence.

Images of Samoa from Samoa Office of Tourism
"The island of Savai'i is a massive basaltic shield volcano, which rises from the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the volcano (97%) is under water. Over thousands of years numerous volcanic eruptions have seen layer upon layer of lava oozing from the ground, building the island higher and larger in area.
The lava that forms a shield volcano flows out of a fissure in the ground and has a low viscosity, allowing it to form layers that build up slowly to form the gradual slope. Similar volcanic processes built the neighbouring islands of Upolu and Ta'u (American Samoa), as well as the Hawai'i Islands to the north.
The formation of the Samoa islands is thought by some to be an example of the classic hotspot model. This theory suggests that there are certain locations in the Earth's mantle that are hotter than their surrounds. 

These hotspots sometimes penetrate the crust immediately above, pushing magma to the surface. Techtonic movement pushes the crust resulting in a chain of volcanoes forming on the surface. Examples of hotspot activity include the islands of Hawai'i, Tahiti and Iceland.
For sometime, this model was rejected when scientists discovered conflicting eveidence. For example, the volcanic islands and seamounts further away from the Samoa hotspot (east of American Samoa) should be progressively older. But, Savai'i and Ta'u - at opposite ends of the Samoan chain of islands - both erupted in the last century.
In 2005, tests on samples from the deep flanks and rifts of surrounding Savai'i showed rocks that are about five million years old, which fit the hotspot model.

The Mount Matavanu crater

Mount Matavanu is one of several locations on the island of Savai'i where lava has broken through the surface. Between 1905 and 1911, lava flowed towards the central north coast and destroyed villages including Saleaula and Magua.
Despite being active only 100 years ago, flora has revegetated the crater and some trees almost rise from the floor to the rim. On a clear day you can see lava fields that make their way down to the coast.

Between August and November 1905, fast-moving 'pahoehoe' lava moved across the landscape covering the land at depths of up to 120 metres. The lava travelled 12 kilomtres to coast, covering approximately 100 square kilometres in the Gaga'emauga district, including the villages of Sale'aula, Salago, Mauga and Samalae'ulu.
At the time, the colonial German administration acquired land on the main island of Upolu and resettled villagers at Salamumu and Leauva'a. Today, some of the descendents have re-built homes upon the lava fields where there is sparse volcanic vegetation."

( Info quoted and the last two pictures  taken from Geocache.com - description for an EarthCache called Matanuva lava )

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