THE long-lost eighth natural wonder of the world may have been rediscovered by researchers, 131 years after it was buried by a volcanic eruption.
New Zealand’s Pink and White Terraces of Lake Rotomahana attracted tourists from around the globe in the mid-1800s, until they were wiped from the map following a June 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera.
Now, two researchers believe the formations may well have survived the disaster and remain preserved 10-15 metres under layers of mud and ash.
Rex Bunn said he strongly believes to know the precise location of the natural wonder, despite little information being known about the terraces.
“They [the terraces] became the greatest tourist attraction in the southern hemisphere and the British Empire, and shiploads of tourists made the dangerous visit down from the UK, Europe and America to see them,” he told The Guardian.
“But they were never surveyed by the government of the time, so there was no record of their latitude or longitude.”
Using field diaries of the German-Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter, Bunn and Dr Sascha Nolden were able to speculate the terraces were not destroyed or pushed to the bottom of the lake, rather buried on the foreshore.
“Our research relied on the only survey ever made of that part of New Zealand and therefore we are confident the cartography is sound,” he said. “Hochstetter was a very competent cartographer.”
After publishing their findings in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the researchers are now attempting to raise $A66,500 to conduct a survey of the area.
“We want to undertake this work in the public interest. And I have been closely liaising with the ancestral owners of the land, the Tuhourangi Tribal Authority, and they are supportive and delighted with the work,” he said.
This isn’t the first time researchers have claimed to located the lost terraces, with an unmanned submarine finding remnants of them on the floor of the lake.