Lost and found: Eighth natural wonder of the world ‘rediscovered’ in New Zealand
The terraces were a hotspot destination for tourists before being buried in an eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1889.world Updated: Jun 16, 2017 13:19 IST
Two scientists have claimed they have found the location of the Pink and White Terraces of Lake Rotomahana in New Zealand – known as the ‘eighth natural wonder of the world’ - 131 years after they were buried under the ashes of a violent volcanic eruption.
The terraces were the world’s largest silica sinter deposits on earth and were formed by geothermal springs containing a combination of silica and chloride water.
In a paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, researchers Rex Bunn and Sascha Nolden reported the terraces may be buried on the shores of the lake in reasonable condition and could be restored.
They say the terraces were covered by ash during the eruption and are located 10 metres below the surface of the ground next to the lake.
Bunn and Nolden relied on a long-lost diary of German-Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter to “plot the lost terrace locations.” Discovered in 2010, the handwritten document is believed to contain crucial drawings of the Lake Rotomahana area from Hochstetter’s field expedition in 1859.
“Our research relied on the only survey ever made of that part of New Zealand and therefore we are confident the cartography is sound,” Bunn told the Guardian.
He added the terraces were a hotspot destination for tourists before being buried in an eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1889.
“They [the terraces] became the greatest tourist attraction in the southern hemisphere and the British empire, and shiploads of tourists made the dangerous visit down from the UK, Europe and America to see them,” he said.
They believe their finding holds key to uncovering one of the world’s oldest scientific enigmas.
“We’re confident, to the best of our ability, we have identified the terrace locations. We’re closer than anyone has ever been in the last 130 years,” Bunn said, according to The Sun Times.
The researchers said they are in connection with the local authority to organise an excavation of the site, reports said.
However, in 2011, scientists said they had found remnants of the terraces on the floor of the lake, buried by silt and debris, using an unmanned submarine. And last year, researchers said they had come to the ‘inescapable conclusion’ that the terraces had been destroyed by the eruption.