Monday, June 28, 2010

Snow in the Sub-tropics?

This formation in a cave on Oki no Erabu island is called The Christmas Tree. It's cool in the cave, but not cool enough for real snow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NPO: Marine Culture Research Association AGM

The general meeting took place after the lecture at the Ryukyu Shimpo Hall in Naha, but the lecture was much more exciting than the meeting.

Another mystery!

One of the artifacts that turned up from Yonaguni and talked about at the lecture is a pillow-sized rock with a relief carving of what appears to be a water buffalo. Why a water buffalo? They are not now, nor never have been, native to the island.

A prosaic solution: Taiwan is just around the oceanic corner from Yonaguni, and there are water buffalo on Taiwan. Maybe the model for the relief carving came from Taiwan.

A more romantic solution: the model was not a real animal. What if it were modeled after the astrological Taurus?

There is a branch of archeology called archeo-astronomy. This is the study of ancient cultures that had a strong bias toward astrology, from the point of view of references to the constellations in the culture.

For instance, early Christians in the Mediterranean area used fish symbols. At the time of the birth of christianity, the spring equinox occured in the sign of the fish, Pisces. That may be a reason for the use of a fish symbol, and some archeo-astronomers believe that is the reason behind the wrath of Moses when he came down from the mountain and saw his followers worshipping a golden calf. He knew, if the ordinary people didn't, that the sun had moved on from Taurus through Aries to Pisces.

For another example, cows are sacred to the Hindu faith. Bulls are prominent in Hindu sculpture. One reason for this may be that the Hindu faith is believed to have begun some four millennia ago, when the spring equinox was in the sign of the bull, Taurus.

So. Might this water buffalo in relief be a clue to the age of Yonaguni? Or is it just a stone-age postcard from Taiwan?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Gulf Methane Explosion and Yonaguni

The tragic explosion of an oil well drilling rig off the coast of New Orleans brings up a factor in the Yonaguni submerged ruins survey. The common factor is methane gas.

One possible explanation for the US disaster involves a burst of methane gas rising upward from the sea floor, expanding, and exploding. The source of the methane gas may have been a pocket of frozen methane tapped by the drilling.

A legend about Yonaguni claims that the "real" Yonaguni island disappeared ages ago in a spectacular explosion. The island is not and never has been volcanic, so there is no possibility of a Krakatoa-like exploding volcano. But the sea around Yonaguni is pocketed with deposits of frozen methane.

This is not to say that the legend about the "real" Yonaguni's disappearance is true, as legends are beyond the realm of physical proof. The US disaster is, however, living proof of the destructive power of frozen methane when it thaws and expands and comes in contact with a detonating spark.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

an island is born

The big question about Yonaguni is, why did a part of the island sink and disappear? Destruction is part of the natural process, and can be tragic when it happens on a grand scale in places where people are making their homes. Haiti, for instance, today. Yonaguni, perhaps, a millennium ago.

On the other hand, the creation of new land is also part of the natural process.

At this very moment, a new island is struggling to be born in Tokyo's territorial waters. Billowing fumes rising from the sea, churning water dyed sulphuric yellow--these signs, visible at the tip of an arc that includes the volcanic island Ohshima and its sister islands, are indications that underwater eruptions are laying the foundation for a brand new island.

These indications were reported on February 3.