The Eighth Natural Wonder of the World - Rediscovered.
The 10th of June, 1886 saw the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces of Lake Rotomahana in a devastating volcanic eruption which also destroyed a small village occupied by Maori and Europeans. Mount Tarawera wiped out the Pink Terraces located on the west banks of Lake Rotomohana, and the White Terraces located on the north bank. The eruption created a 100 metre deep crater, leaving the possibility of ruined or non-existent Terraces which were believed to be the Eighth Natural Wonder of the Natural World.
November 15th, 2010 saw the introduction to New Zealanders of hopes and plans to rediscover any segments of the Terraces. The Marine Scientists and Geologists had aims to discover how much the eruption altered the landscape, what happened during the 1886 eruption, if the Terraces survived, and if there was still any geothermal activity in the area, as Rotorua, 29.9km away, is host to geothermal mud pools.
Today, the 2nd of February 2011, it has been announced that the lower two tiers of the Pink Terraces are in the approximate position they had been prior to the 1886 eruption, that is, 60 metres under what is now the new Lake Rotomahana. There were added bonuses to the discovery; “We've found part of the existing lake shore that was not known to exist before,” says Project Leader Cornel de Ronde. They also discovered that the hot pools and the hydrothermal system that fed them [-] is still intact.
While there is an excitement surrounding the rediscovery of a natural wonder thought to have been destroyed over a century ago, there is still the wonder lying behind the White Terraces and whether or not there are any remnants left of them. The team of Marine Scientists and Geologists were not expecting to find any parts of the Pink Terraces as it was believed that, the Pinks were probably destroyed because they were in the line of the lava flow of the Mount Tarawera eruption.
The White Terraces were thought to be the more beautiful of the two, the Pink Terraces a lot smaller and used for bathing purposes. With an expanse, covering 3 hectares and descending 30 metres , it seems surprising that the White Terraces have not yet been sighted by the underwater robot equipped with sonar and imaging technology. However, with the success of the Pink Terraces, the Scientists do hope to continue searching for any other remnants of the Terraces, whether they be Pink or White.
The rediscovery of the Pink Terraces serves as a bar of excitement for the people of New Zealand, especially due to the fact that over a century ago, the Terraces were the main attraction of the North Island. The early 1880’s saw tourists venturing over the seas to look upon the Terraces in all their magnificence, and this was only forty years after the country was settled by the English. Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters hopes the discovery will be just as popular today, this rings true in regards to the descendents of the Maori and Europeans who once lived in the area of 1886 Lake Rotomahana. While scientists revel in the discovery of something hidden underwater for over a century, others remember their ancestors who were killed and buried. Local iwi (tribe) are currently building a walking track to around the lake and are keen to see the scientific work continue.
While the 10th June 1886 saw the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces, the 2nd February 2011 saw the discovery of two tiers, an elation of success via scientists and geologists, and the hopes that all was not lost on such a devastating day. Most of all, these tiers reconnect the people to the natural beauty that once was.
Pink and White Terraces wiki page
"Scientists find Pink Terraces on lake floor," - stuff.co.nz article.
"Long-lost Terraces believed found," - 3 News article
"Scientists Discover Natural Treasure," - TVNZ article
"Scientists search for Pink and White Terraces treasure," - TVNZ article