July 17, 2024

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Rotorua – New Zealand

Rotorua – New Zealand

The city of Rotorua, with its ever present but soon forgotten odour of hydrogen sulphide, is at the heart of a region offering a range of sights. Ranging from the awe-inspiring volcanic craters, the tranquil lakes. The most famous sights, though, are probably the numerous hot springs, mud pools, and geysers.

The forests surrounding Rotorua are largely introduced. Within a 100 km radius of the city there are about 430,000 ha of forestry plantation, more than half of that government administered, which is being expanded to meet the needs of an growing population. Some of the most productive manmade forest in the world is centred to the east of the city. The climate and soil allow pine trees to reach maturity in only 25 to 30 years.

More than 500 hot springs bubble and spurt on the southern side of Rotorua city. Ranging from clear bubbling water to boiling mud, they occur in a zone only 1 km long by 500 m wide.

There are two main types of hot Springs, chloride and sulphate. In chloride springs the water runs clear and is discharged, usually near boiling point, containing high concentrations of silica and chloride. At the surface small amounts of silica in the water come out of solution and over a long time build up into a coloured terraces.

Chloride springs are formed when the water table, is at or near the surface. If the water table is below the surface, however, sulphate springs are formed. These are highly acidic and tend to form turbid water or pools of mud. Acid gases are given off and they alter the rocks to form clay, which is the grey material of mud pools. Sulphate springs occur particularly on the northern and southern sides of the thermal area.