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How did the Easter Islanders drink seawater ?


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The sea is not uniformly salty. There are parts of the ocean that are almost freshwater, and parts that are more salty. I had a hunch a few years ago that this was happening, so I looked it up. I think that's what the article is referring to too.

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Fresh water, being slightly less dense than sea water, would rise more or less unmixed  from the seeps on the sea floor and float on the surface. If one were careful not  to dip from too deep below the surface, and as near the location of the seep as possible, the water might be no more salty than true fresh water.

Edited by bison
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I recall a previous study which suggested that the positioning of the statues was indended as a means of indicating where such water could be obtained (and/or to "protect" this vital resource)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/easter-island-statues-may-have-marked-sources-fresh-water-180971244/

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It is a very misleading title. Acording to the article, they did not drink seawater (just as well as they would have died). They drank freshwater which had run into the sea:It was later discovered that this was made possible by 'coastal seeps' - which happen when rainwater sinks down through the porous bedrock of the island and into an underground aquifer.

Small pockets of freshwater then trickle down to the sea and are deposited in the ocean.

Edited by The Silver Shroud
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2 hours ago, Abramelin said:

What about collecting rainwater?

The article explains that water collected in volcanic craters, during the rainy season, but could be used up, and/or evaporate during the annual Summer season drought. 

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You can usually dig the ground on an island and find fresh water. If you ask me , i would say the statues are there to protect the islanders, that is , to potentially scare anyone off that comes close and sees them/

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It is also quite simple to create a bamboo and clay vessel distilling process to boil the water away from the salt, then condense it as fresh water in a new container.

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12 hours ago, Abramelin said:

What about collecting rainwater?

That's a great idea and i would bet they did that. But on a larger scale boiling Seawater would give you a year around supply of fresh water. The Salt is heavier than the H2O, so when you boil it the salt will stay in the container and by placing some large leaves or something absorbable above the container where the water is boiling to catch the condensation that will begin to accumulate, then all that is needed is something to soak up or channel the condensation into a separate container.

Also from what i understand about Easter Island, below the Island surface there were caves that also accumulated rain and spring water.

 

8 hours ago, quiXilver said:

It is also quite simple to create a bamboo and clay vessel distilling process to boil the water away from the salt, then condense it as fresh water in a new container.:tsu::tu:

That's also exactly what I would do even in the Middle of a Desert, you can dig a round hole about 1 foot deep, and cover that hole with a piece of plastic. Even during the hottest day of the year, without doing anything else condensation will build up on the underside of that plastic sheet. This method will pull moisture out of the ground and also out of the air. This technique is the difference between life and death if your stranded in an area without any form of water.

Great post Dude and your comments are certainly right on target!!:tu: 

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