Hawaii is a pretty recent landmass,
geologically speaking. Geologic processes that
concentrate metals have not had enough time to do
their job, so there are no concentrated metal
deposits on the Hawaiian islands. Although
there are metals present in the minerals that make
up the rocks, without a concentrating process,
these metal atoms are not economically
extractable, and when they are part of a
mineral formula, they don’t even look like metals.
So pre-Cook Hawaiians would not have seen any
metals to extract. Mining there is mainly quarries
that mine crushed rock to use for roadbeds.
From my viewpoint and specifically in the case
of Hawaii, there simply are no easily mineable
metals because of the geologic history of the
islands. Now, whether this is a definitive
test "pre-Western cultures were hampered by their
environment" is debatable, especially
since other "pre-western" cultures on larger
continents did have the geologic circumstances
that allowed them to have access to minerals.
Click Here to return to the search form.