The Mystery of Easter Island. A "Fin De Siecle" Message From the Past
To anyone who has given attention to the subject, there is no spot on the earth more remarkable, mysterious, and inexplicable, than is Easter Island. Of the size, and something near the shape of Manhattan or New York Island, it lies at the southeastern extremity of the Polynesian group in the South Pacific ocean. It is twelve miles long, and four miles wide at its widest point, a rude triangle, and curiousIy enough, with its trend to the northeast and southwest, as is New York. Here the similarity end , for at each of its three angles is a volcanic peak, whose fires are long since dead, the island being purely volcanic in character, and composed of basalt, tufa, lava, pumice, and obsidian, which formations, in fact, describe its limits. Geology, in the case of Easter Island, gives no hint as to its age, the entire island having been so twisted and disturbed by vast convulsions as to destroy all traces of classification. The island is surrounded by precipitous cliffs, rising in some cases to a height of one thousand feet. It is 2,500 miles from the nearest mainland, the coast of South America; is in latitude 27° 10' South, and longitude 109° 24' west. It ha the climate of Madeira, with a wet and a dry season, but electric storms are unknown there.