A range of silica deposits that formed terraces was once the pride of New Zealand. It was, in fact, one of the contenders of the title eight wonder of the world. A volcanic eruption that took place in 1886 were believed to have wiped the beautiful formation. Two scientists say they have discovered the exact location of the Pink and White Terraces by studying the handwritten journal of a 19th century geologist.
According to a study by Rex Bunn and Sascha Nolden which was recently published in Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the terraces are not at the bottom of Lake Rotomahana, as previously believed. Their findings say that they are located 10-15 meters beneath the surface of the lake, very close to its shoreline.
The basis of their claims are the handwritten notes of German-Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter. At the behest of the country’s government, he had conducted a detailed geological survey of the area in 1859. Nolden got hold of the field notebooks from the surveyor’s expedition. Along with Bunn, he reverse engineered the texts to find out the location.
Similar claims were also made by researchers in 2011 and 2012. However, in 2016, New Zealand’s official geological research organization GNS Science announced that their subsequent research led to the conclusion that the terraces were destroyed by the volcanic eruption in 1886.
These discrepancies are attributed to the fact that eruption of Mount Tarawera, which completely wiped away several Maori villages, changed the shape of Lake Rotomohana drastically. Not only did the surface of the lake rise after the incident, but its shoreline also changed.
GNS is still conducting their official research to confirm the findings made by Bunn and Nolden.