Heritage & Monuments

David’s Drill

Tuvalu / The Pacific

David’s Drill is one of the main tourist attractions in Funafuti.  Between 1896 and 1898, researchers from the Royal Society of London drilled a depth of 340 metres at a spot called David’s Drill, named after the Australian professor, Sir T.W. Edgeworth David (1858-1934), a Welsh-born Australian geologist from the University of Sydney, who also took part in the research, to test Charles Darwin’s theory of coral atoll formation.  There were three expeditions, the first one in 1896, under Professor William Sollas, of Oxford, only achieving a bore of about 100 feet, due to defective machinery.  He led a second expedition in 1897 which reached 557 feet, and then a third one in 1898, under Dr Alfred Edmund Finck, which bored down 1,114 feet.  The results provided support for Charles Darwin’s theory of subsidence, without reaching absolute proof, but established David’s name as a respected geologist.  The second expedition was recorded in a book by his wife, Caroline – Three Months on a Coral Island (1899)The main borehole called David’s Drill can still be seen today.

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