Get ready for Geomythology 101!

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Geomythology is the real geological event behind a myth or legend. Of course some myths and legends are entirely fictional but others are based on real historical/geological events. Let’s begin with Teonimanu, a former island of the Solomon Islands that somehow disappeared. Here’s the fun version, or the myth, behind Teonimanu’s disappearance: A cuckolded husband’s wife went to live on Teonimanu with her new lover. The cuckolded husband, humiliated and thirsty for revenge, purchased a wave curse. Yes, a wave curse.

He travelled to Teonimanu on his canoe. Four waves were attached to the front of his canoe and four more on the rear. Once the cuckolded husband reached the island, he planted two taro plants, and then fled to another island. On the day the leaves sprouted, the onslaught began. The cuckolded husband watched in satisfaction as eight powerful waves demolished the island of Teonimanu.

So that’s what I read online but it still leaves a few questions. Were those eight waves that destroyed Teonimanu the same as the ones that were attached to the canoe? Where was the canoe while the Taro plants were growing, on the island of Teonimanu or on the island the cuckolded husband had fled to?

Here’s what I think happened: the canoe was docked near the island the cuckolded husband had fled to. The eight waves were still attached to that canoe. When the Taro plants grew, the waves were “activated”, and they began to surge to towards the island of Teonimanu, gaining momentum and growing bigger like a snowball going down a mountain. And then the waves hit Teonimanu with unrelenting force, destroying the island completely.

So yeah, that’s one version of what happened. What actually happened: a sea-floor earthquake caused Teonimanu to sink. The island was teetering on the edge of a steep undersea slope, so once the tremors shook the foundations, a large landslide carried Teonimanu underwater. Feels like a let-down after hearing the myth right? You can learn more about geomythology here.

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