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The Doomed Fate Of The Long-Lost Eighth Wonder Of The World

Aug 08, 2018 01:06 PM EDT
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New Zealand's stunning Pink and White Terraces was once called the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Travelers used to flock to the expansive silica terraces where water cascades into natural pools. Once upon a time, these rocks that make a pretty tableau in hues of pink and white were a famed destination in the Rotorua region of New Zealand until its mysterious disappearance.

Researchers Argue On The Terraces' Fate

In a paper published in the Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand this week, researchers from GNS Science reiterated their previous findings of the White Terraces getting obliterated in the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera. They also confirmed that whatever fragments that are left of the Pink Terraces have likely been swallowed by the lake water rise and now lie in the depths of Lake Rotomahana.

One of the reasons behind the paper's publication is to counter research in the past few years claiming that the long-lost Terraces survived the eruption and has been found underground in the land surrounding the lake. Using reverse engineering and surveying works of 19th-century geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter to reach their conclusion, researchers even say that part of the Pink and White Terraces may be revived.

Long-Gone Wonder Is Actually Gone Forever

In the new paper, lead author Cornel de Ronde and his team quash the hopes of the Terraces' return with the results of their reexamination of data they collected between 2011 and 2014.

"We've re-examined all of our findings from several years ago and have concluded that it is untenable that the Terraces could be buried on land next to Lake Rotomahana," De Ronde says in a release from GNS Science.

The team used advanced techniques to "find" the legendary site including high-resolution bathymetry, magnetics, measurements of the water column, side-scan sonar, seismic surveys, underwater photography, and surveys. Their findings are also reportedly consistent with historic photographs, as well as published maps by Hochstetter.

The comprehensive research paints a picture of what brought the destruction of the New Zealand treasure. An eruption destroyed most of the Pink and White Terraces, then the lake's water level rose and its area expanded to submerge all remaining traces of the landmark.

De Ronde points out that given the strength of the 1886 eruption, it is not at all surprising that the Terraces were wiped out entirely.

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