Visiting Easter Island (Land-Based)

Moai Quarry at Rano Raraku (continued)

 
Two views of the interior of the volcano crater, taken from near the heavily eroded western rim.

I find it ironic and even a little funny that NASA built a huge landing strip on Easter Island in case the Space Shuttle needed to make an emergency landing. Basically, they created a spaceport so spaceships could land. It's funny that on this island with its enigmatic relics from an ancient culture forming a bridge to the past, that our modern culture should build a structure that could be used as a bridge to the future. Perhaps centuries from now, explorers will land at the spaceport and puzzle over the relics of our modern culture, the same way we puzzle over the relics of the ancient Rapa Nui culture.

I walked around on the trails, taking it all in, growing a little tired and thirsty (I had neglected to bring adequate water). I headed up a steep trail that climbed to the rim of the volcano, and when I reached the top I could look into the crater. Several hundred yards across, the crater was filled with a reed-lined lake. On the far side of the crater the rim was shallow and eroded, in places composed of weathered rock and orange-red volcanic soil instead of tall cliffs. At the west side of the crater a sharp ravine pierced the rim, setting the high-water limit for the lake. In the muddy shallows near shore there was the sun-bleached skeleton of a horse, creating a rather gruesome scene. At the tallest part of the rim, where craggy cliffs were exposed to seaward, the inside of the rim was steeply sloped but had a grassy cover. Scattered around the landscape along this part of the crater were more moai—remember me, no remember me, and me, and ME!


 
Looking at the steeply sloped back side of the volcano cliffs, inside the volcano crater. You can see some moai scattered around.   The lake that occupies the interior of the volcano crater. The picture is taken from the cliffs, looking towards the eroded side of the crater rim. In the foreground you can see some moai.

 
This heavily eroded ravine acts as a spillway to limit the water depth in the lake.  

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