Easter Island—And Its Iconic Moai Statues Are Disappearing

Thousands of years ago, an ancient culture discovered the island in the middle of the vast sea. They created a civilization that built more than 1100 Moai statues, many of which were raised kilometers from the quarries with methods that have still captivated scientists. Now, the Island, as well as its enigmatic Moai Statues could disappear from history.

The famous Moai Statues. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Easter Island civilization collapsed centuries ago, but their legacy lives on through the countless statues that make it clear how powerful it once was. Scholars believe the Island was inhabited from 300 to 400 AD onward.

Now, experts warn that Easter Island and its enigmatic history, shrouded in countless mysteries, may soon disappear under rising oceans, becoming the latest victim of climate change.

According to experts, in the last few years, ocean waves have begun reaching dozens of ancient Moai statues that were placed strategically hundreds of years ago.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Troubling times await the island as scientists from the UN have warned that the statues could be engulfed by waves, as sea levels are predicted to rise at least by six feet by the year 2100.

The enigmatic statues, a trademark of Easter Island are believed to have been carved around between 1100 and 1680. Scientists are worried that rising sea levels will erode the island, putting its archaeological treasures at great risk.

No one knows exactly how the ancient culture managed to transport the massive statues into position. But that’s not the only mystery. Scholars still do not know why during the decades after the island was ‘rediscovered’ by Europeans, each statue was systematically topped, nor do we know for sure how the population of Rapa Nui islanders was decimated.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

This worrying news was documented by Nicholas Casey, correspondent of The New York Times in the Andean region, and Josh Haner, photographer of the Times, as they traveled approximately 3600 kilometers from the coast of Chile to observe how the ocean is eroding the monuments of the island.

“You feel an impotency in this, to not be able to protect the bones of your own ancestors,” Camilo Rapu, the head of the indigenous organization that controls Rapa Nui National Park on the island told Mr. Casey. “It hurts immensely.”

Archeologists believe that the hundreds of statues present on Easter Island represent the ancestors of the culture that built them. It is believed that the Polynesians discovered Easter Island around 1,000 years ago.

This island is considered as one of the most remote islands on the surface of the planet. The Island belongs to Chile, which is located some 3,500 kilometers away. A pretty long trip a thousand years ago, don’t you think?

But Easter Island isn’t the only island in danger due to rising ocean levels. According to scientists, many other low-lying Pacific Islands are feeling the effects of climate change and rapid increase in sea levels.

The Marshall Islands and Kiribati coral atolls north of Fiji are on the list of places that are at risk of being devoured by the ocean.

Easter Island is home to nearly 900 Moai statues averaging four meters in height. Their most important and prominent statues are located on the coast. Scientists warn that three of the main Moai statues, Tongariki, Anakena, and Akahanga are at risk of being eroded by rising seas, scientists warn.

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