Guess who it is again? Yep, it's Elias. I'm here today to talk to you about volcanic activity in our area in New Zealand. We have visited three major geothermal areas close by. Craters of the Moon in Taupo, the Waimangu Volcanic Valley outside Rotorua, and The Buried Village in Rotorua.
My favorite part is that these places have big craters and steam vents. A steam vent is when there is water underground that is heated by magma deeper underground. The steam gets trapped and builds up pressure underground. Then it finds a way to burst through rocks and comes out hissing and sometimes shoots up pretty high. You can see lots of steam in these photos. It's so thick it starts to look like smoke. There were signs posted around to not get too close because the steam can cause burns. While we were at the Volcanic Valley, one tourist didn't pay attention to the barriers and slipped in the mud and received really bad burns on his leg! I like to read all the signs we pass, including caution signs. My mom says I pay better attention than she does.
One of the streams we passed in the Volcanic Valley was so hot it was boiling and there was a lot of steam coming off it. In some places we had to walk on a boardwalk. We also saw boiling and bubbling mud pools. Craters were formed when steam made the ground unstable and it caved in, NOT by asteroids like on the moon.
In 1886 Mt. Tarawera erupted and destroyed nearby villages and buried a town called Te Wairoa about 5 kilometers away in 10-15 feet of hot heavy ash and mud. It destroyed a beautiful natural wonder called the Pink and White terraces. There were formed by geothermal silica build up. We visited some of the original buildings that had been buried for decades. Over 100 people died in the eruption. Although volcanoes and geysers can be awesome, they are also extremely dangerous so we have to be careful and respect them.