The sinter terraces along Lake Rotomahana near Rotorua in New Zealand, were considered as the eighth wonder of the world and visited by many tourists in the 1880s, at a time when travel was still a still unattainable myth for most of people.
We have little visual evidence of the Pink and White Terraces, known in Maori Otukapuarangi (fountain of the clouded sky) and Te Tarata (the tattooed rock) ... separate by 800 meters, they were formed by two large geysers there are thousands of years, in a group of forty geysers along the Lake Rotomahana. They suddenly disappeared in June 1886, when Mount Tarawera erupted.
The paintings of Charles Blomfield (5 January 1848-15 March 1926), an English emigrated to New Zealand, and a few photo remain the only evidence of such splendor.
The white terraces descend over 40 meters to the lake ... facing north, the light gives them a white appearance. The pink terraces are about two-thirds of the way to the lake, facing southeast. The sun reaches less, which left them with a pink appearance, similar to that of the rainbow trout.
Blomfield has traveled much in New Zealand, with friends or alone, camping in the bush, carrying his painting and camping equipment. In December 1875, he reached the Lake Rotomahana and managed to paint some paintings without getting caught by the Maori, reluctant to find strangers on the roads leading to terraces. He returned a few years later, and pays a lump sum for him to stay as long as he wants. He painted for six weeks many aspects of the various terraces.
When in 1886 Mount Tarawera explodes, the villages of Te Ariki, Moura, and Te Wairoa are destroyed and the terraces are swallowed. (Details on this eruption tomorrow ) In their place, a deep crater redraw the contours of Lake Rotomahana.
When he learns the eruption, Blomfield has a broken heart and decided to return there to see the destruction of the terraces ... but realizing the value taken by the paintings of the site, he refused to sell them, and produces many copies for the sale. The original price would then tripled.
In 2011, part of the White Terraces is discovered by a team of scientists at 60 meters deep ... discovery challenged by many.
But this is another story !
- International Business time - Archaeology mystery: Did the pink and white terraces of Lake Rotomahana really disappear?
- MNN - New Zealand's '8th Wonder of the World' rediscovered