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Further geothermal recovery at Whakarewarewa

Further geothermal recovery at Whakarewarewa

For the second time in six months, a previously dormant geothermal feature has bubbled back into life at Te Puia|New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) in Rotorua’s Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.

Located near the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, Te Puia|NZMACI guides recently noticed the Puapua hot spring had a nearby vent spurting a substantial amount of steam and water into the air.

The regeneration of this geyser like feature is yet another significant geothermal development in the valley, following Papakura Geyser’s revival in September last year.

The regeneration of both features has been attributed to Rotorua’s bore closure programme which was implemented between 1986 and 1992.

Papakura had been a consistently active geyser until March 1979 and its failure marked a turning point in the understanding of the damage that the bore use was having on geothermal springs and geysers.

GNS Science volcanologist, Brad Scott, says the recent changes at Te Puia are a continuation of the recovery that is being seen in Rotorua since the bore closure programme and is a sign that the decisions made then are having a positive impact on the geothermal activity in the area.

“The geyser feature associated with Puapua has been known to intermittently erupt occasionally over the last decade, but the current eruptions are coupled with the highest observed water levels for more than a decade in Puapua spring.”

Mr Scott says the nearby Wairoa Geyser has also had the highest observed water levels in more than 30 years.

Te Puia Chief Executive, Tim Cossar, says the regeneration of geothermal activity at Te Puia is encouraging for staff and the local iwi (tribe), and creates a new level of interest that adds to the overall visitor experience.

“You can still see the black line where the Puapua water level once boiled rigorously. Puapua used to be a popular cooking pool in the valley and one of our team recalls the last time he used it was back in 1983.”

Mr Cossar says manuhiri (visitors) to Te Puia are able to view Papakura and Puapua from existing pathways.

“We hope to see more revitalisation in the valley in the near future, so we can share these unique experiences with our manuhiri.”


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