Thursday, August 28, 2014

Orakei Korako

Across Lake Ohakuri sits the largest silica terrace in New Zealand. Often mistaken for a lava flow, Kakariki or the Emerald Terrace varies from 20 mm to 20 metres and continues another 35 metres under the lake. The valley of Orakei Korako is virtually unchanged from what it was thousands of years ago. It was formed by hydrothermal eruptions between 8,000 and 14,000 B.C. Some areas of the park are extremely dangerous and unpredictable. The colors created by these forces of nature are surprisingly vibrant and varied. Where the thermal fluids have chemically decomposed the surface to form clay, mud pools are created. The clay is heated by the underground energy source, and boiling mud pools are the result. Ruatapu Cave is one of only two geothermally situated caves in the world; the other is in southern Italy. Waiwhakaata, the pool of mirrors, is seen at the bottom of the cave.

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