The next step in my retro tour of our recent trip to New Zealand is a look at the Prince of Wales Feather Geyser and the others close to it within the geothermal village of Whakarewarewa.
The area that it is possible to walk around the geothermal features is huge, and of course you can get a lot closer to the geysers, but the kids weren’t interested in doing so since the rain was now heavy enough to start soaking through their rain jackets and they were starting to resemble little drowned rats.
I had reached my limit on crutches and let the zoom lens on my camera do the close up looking for me.It would definitely be well worth a return visit on a dry day at a time when walking wasn’t a problem so that I could explore the whole place properly.
I was surprised to learn from our guide that some of the pools and geysers appear to erupt in harmony or in a chain reaction effect due to a complex array of interconnected subterranean water systems…
… but that some other pools and geysers are supplied by entirely independant water supplies, underground ducts and chambers which is amazing considering that some of these interconnected and independent systems operate just meters away from each other.
Mother Nature’s underground plumbing system here must be a very complex piece of natural machinery indeed.
If you look closely you’ll be able to make out small figures in raincoats and with umbrellas close to the Prince of Wales Feathers geyser featured in some of the photos… today’s rough weather makes them looked less neat and groomed than usual we are told.
In the meantime Wikipedia gives better information than I accumulated for this part of the tour so I’ll leave you a quote and a link to the page should you wish to read more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whakarewarewa
Most of the currently active geysers at Whakarewarewa are located on Geyser Flat and aligned on a common fissure. This is a highly complex system, with the activity of one geyser affecting another.
Kereru Geyser, about 2 m above Puarenga Stream, located at the head of a small apron of blackish sinter, erupts every few days or weeks, in a fan-shaped jet 15 m high. No large eruptions occurred between 1972-1988, and it seems its recovery was directly linked to the sudden reduction of well drawoff in 1987. Kereru Geyser is probably independent of other springs on the fissure.
Geyser Flat : The Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser, Pohutu Geyser, Te Horu Geyser (The Cauldron) and Waikorohihi Geyser are on a sinter plateau about 6 m above Puarenga Stream.
Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser, Pohutu Geyser’s closest neighbour, always precedes Pohutu, a feeble jet at first but gradually increasing in power until a continuous 9 m high column is ejected on a dramatic angle, when Pohutu usually erupts also.
Sometimes Waikorohihi Geyser erupts a discontinuous 5 m high jet, then Prince of Wales Feathers will commence, later followed by Pohutu.
Until 1972, Te Horu Geyser erupted 2–7 m high as often as 10-15 times each day, but after that time eruptions and even boiling ceased. The water in Te Horu’s vent began to overflow again in 1998. A very direct connection exists between Te Horu and Pohutu, with air-cooled water erupted from Pohutu largely falling in Te Horu’s vent.
This may explain the popular belief that Pohutu is more active when there is a south wind, because most erupted water is then blown away to the north, whereas with a north wind much is returned to cool the system and delay the next eruption.