Thursday, 10 April 2014

Craters of the Moon (‘Karapiti’ geothermal site)

This is one spot that we usually drive past and never visit.  We were lucky to find one parking place large enough for Gypsy Rover as all the others were designed for the smaller tourist vans. 

Different soil colours at the Craters of the Moon.Different soil colours at the Craters of the Moon.

The Craters of the Moon Thermal Area (or Karapiti in Māori language) is a part of Wairakei, the largest geothermal field in New Zealand, with a surface area of about 25 km2, which lies in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.

Steam galore after last nights rain.Steam galore after last nights rain.

The name springs from the many hydrothermal eruption craters, which are mostly bare earth and which have bright colours due to the mineral deposits. Combined with the numerous steam vents, constantly shifting, and collapsing the walkways around the area are constantly being moved to avoid the hot areas.

Not cloud but steamNot clouds but steam.

In the 1950’s the Wairakei Power Station was built which reduced the pressure in the hot water systems below the earth surface. Since then much of the geothermal activity in the region has dramatically changed.  The geysers at Wairakei Geyser Valley totally disappeared.  Hydrothermal eruptions occur about once a year.

Bubbling mud pool at Craters of the Moon geothermal area.Bubbling mud pool at Craters of the Moon geothermal area.

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