David’s Drill

A link to Charles Darwin

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Tourism is so low-key in Tuvalu that a hole in the ground is one of the top attractions in Funafuti – but it’s made interesting by its backstory.

Between 1896 and 1898, researchers from the Royal Society of London drilled into Funafuti’s main island to a depth of 340 metres, at a spot called David’s Drill (after Australian professor Edgeworth David from the University of Sydney who also took part in the research), to test Charles Darwin’s theory of coral atoll formation.

(The results were inconclusive, but the theory was later supported in the 1950s by drilling to a depth of 1300 metres in the Marshall Islands.)

At A Glance

Fongafale Island


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