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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14909 comments The terraces of Rotomahana Lake in New Zealand were considered a natural wonder of the world, but disappeared in an earthquake more than a hundred years ago, to be maybe found anew nowadays?
Since we are well represented in NZ by Ian, but can't ask him to undertake an expedition due to his recent surgery, we have no choice but ask for clues here in this dark internet corner in hope someone will shed light on what's happening there? -:)

message 2: by Krazykiwi (last edited Oct 19, 2017 01:47PM) (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments The article's pretty thorough Nik :) It's lacking a photo, but that's largely because there are hardly any (only one colour photo was ever made, I believe)

Anyway, the pink and white terraces were a natural limestone silica formation in the form of a natural staircase and were, according to the photos we do have and artists renderings, truly beautiful. They were entirely buried under a mudslide during an earthquake ashfall after the eruption of the Mt Tarawera volcano and believed lost, but perhaps not.

They were larger than they look in the images below, covering about 40 acres between them.

One of the few extant actual photos

Another view

Painting of the pink terraces.

And the white.

ETA: Corrections per Ian. He scienced the heck out of my post with accuracy and stuff.

message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10689 comments A couple of comments about Krazykiwi's post - the eruption of Tarawera that buried said terraces occurred in June, 1886. The absence of colour photos would presumably be because stable colour photography as such had not really been invented then. There were colour photos from about 1855, but the dyes used then were not light stable and any photo from the 19th century of the outside would almost certainly have been subsequently enhanced by hand. Also, the terraces are not limestone - they are silica. Water at over 300 degrees C dissolves a certain amount of silica, and as it cools, it comes out. Just north of Taupo there are two other terraces forming in the same way, and while these are not so spectacular as the Rotomohana ones, they are not buried under about 20 meters of ash. As an aside, it was a volcanic eruption from Tarawera that buried them, and the ash covered quite a big area. Another tourist attraction is the "Buried Village" - which has been excavated as an archaeological site. Not quite on Pompeii's interest scale, but still interesting.

Whether anyone will ever excavate the odd million tonne of dirt remains to be seen for the terraces. As an aside, Nik, I am now walking nicely, but not interested in digging up the Terraces 😀

message 4: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments Eek. Silica I should have looked up, but I always thought the terraces were buried in the mudslides from the earthquakes coincident with the eruption. On the other hand, it's about 30 years since I last thought very hard about it, but mea culpa for not checking my (clearly failing) memory.

The two paintings above btw, are by an artist named Charles Blomfield. He had made a couple of paintings of them on site in 1883-1885. He snuck in to the site to paint, the local Maori tribe demanded payment from anyone drawing/photographing and few were willing to pay the for the time pretty steep price of £5, another reason there are few images. But after the eruption he did quite well copying his own earlier works and selling them - in the absence of photos and with few other paintings his pictures were quite in demand.

message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14909 comments Ian wrote: "As an aside, Nik, I am now walking nicely..."

Really glad to hear!

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