We are taking a guided tour around Whakarewarewa Village in Rotorua, in the the centre of New Zealand’s North Island.
It’s an inhabited geothermal area and living side by side with steam, boiling mud, water and geysers has both positive and negative aspects.
This is a look around at some of the pools, vents and formations around here… by chance I realised that the house (with the red roof) in the background of the first photo is the one that’s soon to be demolished because Mother Nature opened up a steam vent under the kitchen floorboards and not the building is no longer structurally sound or inhabitable.
In other photos different minerals in various quantities within the boiling water springs produce a startling array of colours via built up mineral deposits.
Our guide points to a very solidly fenced enclosure where an incongruous looking small hole is near the centre.. we are told that there is water in the hole… but getting close to this particular hole in the earth would be way too risky. We are told that the solid looking crust here is deceptive… in fact it’s so thin that it wouldn’t support a person’s weight, hence the sturdy fencing around the area.
Various New Zealand scientists came and studied this new fissure when it opened up and found that it posed more questions than they could find answers for. They subsequently called upon the services of geological colleagues from the United States and together carried out some tests using a long armed crane.
Findings so far are have been that there is boiling water in the hole… measurements to find out how deep the hole was stopped at some approximately 220 meters (721 feet) only because that’s how far the specialist measuring equipment reached.
The hole is most certainly far deeper, but until more advanced equipment that can can reach further is invented, it will remain a little mystery as to just how far down into the earth this hole reaches. The temperature is boiling and constant and so naturally they are keeping an eye on it to see if this dangerously thin area of the earth’s crust is growing or changing in any way.
Luckily people are well protected from this fragile and dangerous spot… had it not been, then quite literally, a wrong turn off the path here would land you both in a very deep hole and get you into some seriously hot water.
… a very very deep hole, one that would get you into very hot water…