Scientists Believe They've Discovered Location Of 'Eighth Wonder Of The World'
A 19th century diary and some hand-drawn maps have helped scientists pinpoint the former site of the lost, majestic Pink and White Terraces of Lake Rotomahana.
Possibly the largest silica sinter deposits on the planet, they occur when chemical reactions including silica combine with high temperature waters from hot springs.
They are thought to have been destroyed in the massive eruption of Mount Tarawera in the central North Island in 1886.
Although the formation of cascading staircases was a major tourist attraction in its day, with reports of visitors from around the world, the eruption has meant their actual location is a matter of long-time and conflicting investigations.
Researchers from New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research now say they believe they've confirmed the spot, thanks to a map published in 1862 and sketches by geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who conducted the only formal survey of the lake.
Combining that information with modern remote sensing technology, Andrew Lorrey and John-Mark Woolley say they're confident the former site is under modern Lake Rotomahana.
"Our research agrees with previous findings," Dr Lorrey said.
But their study, published in the scientific journal Frontiers of Earth Science on Thursday, doesn't cover whether the terraces are still intact.
"There is a lot more science that is yet to be done to see what's down there."
The terraces formed over thousands of years from silica-rich water from springs and geysers, and were used for bathing at the lower levels.
The Mount Tarawera eruption was the most destructive eruption in New Zealand since European arrival in the early 19th century, killing as many as 120 people.