Lake Rotomahana, New Zealand’s first tourist attraction and dubbed the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, has been rediscovered 125 years after it was buried by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions.
According to Yahoo! News, scientists found the Pink and White Terraces 60 metres below the 800-hectare lake in northern New Zealand, located 25 kilometres to the east of Rotorua. The terraces disappeared when ash and lava from an eruption from nearby Mount Tarawera in 1886 completely buried three villages and killed about 150 people.
As a result, Lake Rotomahana was emptied. But it was later enlarged many times when it refilled, with hot springs bubbling up from up its shoreline and steam issuing from its banks. However, the terraces had disappeared.
Scientists from the state GNS Science organization and America’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, found the part of the terraces while they were mapping the floor of the eight-square kilometer lake and investigating its geothermal system. Sonar images were taken, showing a pink-coloured, crescent-shaped staircase rising 1-2 metres from the lake floor for about 70 metres.
The local Maoris were apparently stunned by this news. Their ancestors lived near the terraces and died in the eruption.