Easter Island/Salas y Gomez 1-22 September 1995
Cordell Expeditions

Scientific Overview

  • General Goals
  • Natural Science
  • Archaeology
  • Amateur Radio
  • Radio Science
  • Internet-based Communication
  • Miscellaneous
  • Return to Expedition Home Page

  • General Goals

    The primary goal of the 1995 Cordell Expedition is to:

  • Foster international goodwill and cooperation in documenting remote sites and preserving their natural history and cultural resources.

    To the extent that Easter Island and Salas y Gómez are under the jurisdiction and protection of the Republic of Chile, this goal will be brought into alignment with the policies and objectives of Chilean governmental, scientific, and regulatory organizations. The expedition will respect the rights and customs of the inhabitants of Easter Island, and all other persons with historical interests there.

    A central technical objective of the expedition is to:

  • Provide a vehicle for expanding radio and computer-based communications and data processing to remote sites.

    It is axiomatic that protection of our natural resources requires documentation of such sites, and that the more remote the site, the greater the need for high technology to effect that documentation. Implementing high technology can make expeditions to remote sites economically feasible, since it takes advantage of a much larger industry (electronics, communication, computers, etc.) than would normally be available to carry out such expeditions.

    Another central objective is to:

  • Document the natural history and historical resources of the islands.

    This will involve making charts, photographs, and logs; representative collections of rocks, plants, and animals; and interfacing with specialists worldwide.

    Natural Science

    The natural history of Easter Island and Salas y Gómez are far from completely documented. The isolation of these sites is responsible for both the lack of completeness and the intrinsic interest in their natural history. Accordingly, the following are goals for the 1995 expedition: • Systematic mapping and photography of the intertidal areas and washrocks; • Representative collections of intertidal and shallow subtidal marine specimens and extensive photo-documentation.

    Link to MARINE BIOLOGY page.


    Among the many oral legends of Easter Island, one indicates that the Poike Peninsula was cleared of loose rocks in ancient times. Presumably the rocks were cast over the edge of the cliffs, accumulating in piles at the cliff bases at the water's edge. If this is true, there may be some evidence of it in the current distribution of loose rocks around Poike.

    It is common knowledge that there are many buried artifacts, such as moai and other large stone fragments. A proposal entitled "Thermophysical Archaeology" was submitted to the University of California to deploy a sensitive infrared camera and computer-based image analysis to search for such objects. Unfortunately, the proposal will not be reviewed in time to deploy the instruments during the 1995 Cordell Expedition. However, a survey can be made of likely sites for examination in the event the proposal is funded in the future.

    Accordingly, the following are goals for the 1995 expedition:

    Link to ARCHAEOLOGY page

    Amateur Radio

    The primary onsite communications will be via radio on the high-frequency (HF) bands, mostly on amateur radio bands. There are four major goals:

    1. Make contacts with amateur radio operators worldwide who seek a contact with Easter Island and/or Salas y Gómez.
    2. Implement a variety of innovations for communications from temporary remote sites as a demonstration of capabilities using available high technology;
    3. Carry out a series of scientific measurements and experiments related to radio communications, especially related to low sunspot conditions.
    4. Install transponders and/or beacons.
    The expedition seeks to implement a new system for enhancing temporary radio communications from remote sites, called Temporary Communications Structure/Auxiliary Channel (TCS/AC). First a short description of the TCS/AC is given, then the individual goals listed above are described.

    Link to RADIO page.

    Radio Science

    The expedition seeks to implement a new system for enhancing temporary radio communications from remote sites, called Temporary Communications Structure/Auxiliary Channel (TCS/AC). A short description of the TCS/AC may be seen by clicking here. The following are goals for the radio science:

    Link to RADIO page.

    Internet-based Communication.

    The expedition will have an Internet node onsite on Easter Island. This will enable a variety of new operations, including the following goals:

    For more info and links to these features, go to the INTERACTING page


    The expedition team includes a computer multimedia specialist. Using a variety of sources, he will attempt to create an electronic documentary as the expedition progresses. The goal for this is:
  • A documentary that is intermediary between a news report and a post-event production.
    This World WIde Web is part of that effort. Check the BULLETINS section to see recent news flashes, images, and video.

    One member of the team is a specialist in radio-controlled model airplanes. Accordingly, his goal is

  • Aerial photographs of the campsite, the Poike cliffs, and the potential thermophysical imaging sites of interest.

    One source of funding is through sales of souvenirs. The following is a goal to test the possibility that significant funding could be raised through such sales:

  • A variety of SOUVENIRS for sale, to replace the traditional plea for financial support.

    Return to OVERVIEW menu
    Return to Expedition Home Page

    Last Update: 23 August 1995
    Prepared and maintained by Robert Schmieder, cordell@ccnet.com and Gunthar Hartwig, Gunthar_A._Hartwig@bmug.org