Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/182

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
114
PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

first object shown me here was a deep sulphur pit, a recent collapse that revealed the dangerous nature of the surface. Near this were the Twin Craters, immense cavities formed by sinking. The peculiar action of steam at the bottom of one had gained for it the name of the Paddle Wheel. Close at hand were heated sulphur beds, perforated by steaming apertures with sulphur-discolored mouths. Early in the morning volumes of steam poured from them, but during the day the emissions were small.

Just beyond the Devil's Bridge, a shelf of silica spanning steaming cavities, were the sinter terraces of Champagne Pool, which are rivaled only by the terraces of Orakei-Korako. Of unknown depth, this pool is the largest basin of water of its kind in New Zealand, being, to quote a native guide, "two acres around." Its mineralized waters had formed a white and grayish-white rippled slope several hundred feet long and containing basins of yellow water holding solutions of sulphur and selenium. The precipitations of the pool had for many years added an inch to the surface of the terrace every twelvemonth. In all that time the pool had been covered with steam, and its waters, disturbed probably by gas, had never been quiet. The shores were encircled by a hard, narrow sinter rim built by its ebullitions, which, when combined with a stiff breeze, made the contents look like a choppy sea.

To amuse me my guide, Kiritapu, threw a shovelful of sand into the pool, and almost immediately it began