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Rano Raraku volcano crater, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

April 7th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Rano Raraku is a volcanic crater formed of consolidated volcanic ash, or tuff, and located on Easter Island. It is the quarry in which about 95% of the island's known monolithic sculpture (Moai) were carved.

The sides of Rano Raraku crater are high and steep except on the north and northwest, where they are much lower and gently sloping. The interior contains a freshwater lake bordered by reeds called tortora (Scripus sp.). The reeds, once believed to have been carried to the island by explorers from the South American mainland, are now known to have been naturally introduced some 30,000 years ago.

Rano Raraku is divided into 5 archaeological zones, and as of 1981 a total of 397 statues were inventoried on the interior and exterior slopes and in the exterior quarries. The interior quarries, which have been more recently mapped, will increase this statue count substantially when work is completed. Use of Rano Raraku as a quarry spanned 500-1000 years, and probably extended into the post-contact period after European discovery of the island in 1722. Rano Raraku is a visual record of statue design vocabulary and technological innovation, and is a precious and important part of the Rapanui patrimony.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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