Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/176

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110
PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

Blowhole, a regulator that expelled great quantities of steam more than one hundred feet high. For three minutes it blew steadily, and then was quiet for four minutes. Like the tides, it flowed and ebbed; and, we were astonished to hear, its activity is indeed partly due to the tides, though they are thirty miles away at the nearest point!

Near the blowhole was ample evidence that any day this reserve may suddenly become shifting sand and flying stone. Waimangu Basin, an area of two and a half acres, affords a good illustration of the unstability of the earth's crust in New Zealand's thermal regions. Until a few years ago this depression did not exist, and then the cold waters of the creek caused a change. They penetrated to heated depths, and in 1901 there was a terrific explosion in the stream's bed. At that instant Waimangu, the greatest geyser New Zealand, and perhaps the world, has ever known, was born. The basin is still there, but Waimangu plays no more. On October 26, 1903, it made its last shot, unless, as Mr. Ingle predicts, it is born again. Now its vents are choked with sand, and where there was fifty feet of water there is now very nearly that depth of earth.

When Waimangu played, it sent an enormous quantity of water, sand, and stones from fifty to twelve hundred feet high, and once it threw a boulder weighing one hundred and fifty pounds a quarter of a mile. The black body it lifted was half the area of its basin. It had three vents, and when their expulsions met, the united