The Impactful Volcano Eruption that Transformed Lives in Fiji 2,500 Years Ago: A Story Preserved for 100 Generations

Newly published research in the journal Oral Tradition reveals that memories of a volcanic eruption in Fiji 2,500 years ago were preserved in oral traditions. These stories, which were passed down through generations, were not mere fantasies but served as a practical means of local risk management. The eruption, which occurred on the island of Kadavu, resulted in the formation of a new mountain known as Nabukelevu. The stories surrounding this event were once dismissed as myths or legends, but scientists now recognize them as authentic memories of the past. One common story involves a god named Tanovo who became enraged when the eruption blocked his view of the sunset. He flew to Nabukelevu and attempted to tear down the mountain, but was stopped by another god named Tautaumolau. The two engaged in a fierce battle, and as they fought in the sky, the earth carried by Tanovo fell to the ground and created islands. These stories provide valuable insights into the eruption and its effects, including a tsunami and the formation of landforms. The research highlights the importance of oral traditions in understanding human history and the risk awareness of ancient societies.