Thursday, 16 October 2008 3:55 PM

Artificial Island

Some very fair comments made on the above subject. I particularly like Mr Faradatolo's exposition.

There was an artical I read not long ago by a gentlemen from West Makira. In the article he alluded to the origin of shell money making from that part of Makira, from which people migrated to Langalanga as stated by Mr Faratadolo. This explains why peolple from Makira Province have relatives living in Langalanga besides inter-marriages.

But as Mr Daudau pointed out, I am more fascinated with the engineering involved in constructing these Islands (Langalanga & Lau Lagoon). Ask any geotechnical engineer or engineering geologist about undertaking earthworks in such environment, you'll soon find out how difficult it is. I am amazed how they figured it out! There are lot of variables involved to ensure the safe and satisfactory performance of these structures. First you have to use material that are resitant to seasalt and not prone to dispersal or erosion. The packing and arrangement of material also has to be done in such a manner that it allows fluid to pass through but still remain intact (satisfactory filter quality).

The structure itself has to accommodate tides, currents, lateral drifts, waves, winds, sedimentation, earthquakes, global warming, cyclones to name a few. Current practice involves 3D numerical modelling of these elements. It beats me how these people figured it out!

And then how do they know the loads imposed by the dwellings will not cause the underlying foundation to fail? Engineers nowadays will punch away at their calculators to arrive at safe bearing pressures that the foundation could acommodate.

Some of us spend years to learn these things, these 'homegrown' engineers have no formal training and yet built these amazing structures with no machinery involved.

All I can say is I salute you people from Langalanga & Lau Lagoon for your ingenuity at engineering these islands. Perhaps someone could document the process for all of us to learn.

Doesn't it make you wonder if you really need to go to university to be successful in life? Just a thought.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Warwick Sitana and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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