After more than 130 years, researchers have ‘Rediscovered’ the 8th wonder of the world

After remaining buried more than 130 years, experts believe they just might have rediscovered the eighth wonder of the world, thought to have been lost forever. Fully Awesome!

Image Credit: J. C. Hoyte

The story goes like this… Once upon a time—or in the year 1886—a powerful, cataclysmic volcanic eruption took place at Lake Rotomahana on New Zealand’s North Island. This volcanic eruption set in motion a chain reaction of countless explosions and lava flows. By the end of the eruption, experts estimate that it released as much energy as the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated—the Tsar Bomba.

But not only that, this catastrophic—natural event also wiped from the face of the Earth a heavenly natural formation referred to as the Pink And White terraces, aka the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The terraces were considered as a global attraction in the mid-19th century and tourists from all over the world traveled to New Zealand to take a peek at this beautiful natural formation. In fact, the terraces were so sought for, that researchers note that shiploads of tourists made the voyage from the UK, Europe, and America to see the terraces and bathe in the springs.

The Pink and White Terraces were thought to have been about 1,000 years old. The hydrothermal system which powered them may be up to 7,000 years old. (Source)

“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,” said Rex Bunn, one of the researchers.

“But they were never surveyed by the government of the time, so there was no record of their latitude or longitude.”

The terraces are—were?—the largest silica deposits of their kind. But experts now believe the incredible terraces may not be lost after all. According to scientists, the terraces were not destroyed nor pushed to the bottom of the lake but were buried on the foreshore of the lake.

Pink and White Terraces (1886) by Charles Blomfield. Photograph: Alamy

In order to establish an approximate resting place of the terraces, scientists used the field diaries of German-Austrian Geologist Ferdinand Von Hochstetter which happen to contain detailed descriptions of the terraces’ location prior to the cataclysmic eruption of 1886.

“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 wrote.

“Hochstetter was a very competent cartographer.”

“We want to undertake this work in the public interest. And I have been closely liaising with the ancestral owners of the land, the Tuhourangi Tribal Authority, and they are supportive and delighted with the work,” he added.

Place some water above a magma source and you can get some rather spectacular surface activity! Smit/Shutterstock

According to scientific analysis, the terraces were in fact split into three parts and were not found at Lake Rotomahana but near other geothermal springs.

Bunn believes that the terraces are not completely destroyed, and may in fact be in reasonable condition and that with some work, the terraces could be restored to their former glory once again.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time researchers claimed to have discovered the terraces. In a 2011 study, scientists used unmanned submarines to explore the bottom of the lake saying that they had found the remnants of the terraces on the floor of the lake.

However, in 2016, GNS Science New Zealand said that after five years of research, a team of New Zealand and international scientists had come to the “inescapable conclusion” that most of the terraces had been destroyed by the eruption.

However, Bunn believes that the previous studies were undertaken in an area which was explored based on 130 years of inaccurate cartographical data.

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