Pink and White Terraces
The Pink Terraces, or Otukapuarangi ("fountain of the clouded sky") in Māori, and the White Terraces, also known as Te Tarata ("the tattooed rock"), were natural wonders of New Zealand. They were thought to have been completely destroyed by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera,  being replaced by the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.
The Terraces were formed by geothermally heated water containing large amounts of silicic acid and sodium chloride from two large geysers. These geysers were part of a group of 40 geysers in the nearby area.
The Pink and the White Terraces were 800 metres apart. The White Terraces were at the north end of Lake Rotomahana and faced away from the lake at the entrance to the Kaiwaka stream. They descended to the lake edge 40 metres below. The extra sunlight they received from facing north gave them a more bleached or white appearance. The Pink Terraces were about two thirds of the way down the lake sheltered from the harsh sun on the western shores, facing south-east. Their pink appearance (near the colour of a rainbow trout) was largely due to less sunlight reaching them and therefore less bleaching.
The foundations for both terraces were formed from alternate layers of volcanic fallout over a long period of time. The volcanic debris layers, alternating between rhyolitic and sedimentary stone, formed the base for precipitation of silica.
The precipitation formed many pools and steps over time. Precipitation occurred by two methods. The ascending foundation over time formed a lip which would trap the descending flow and become level again. This process formed attractive swimming places, both for the shape and for the warm water. When the thermal layers sloped in the other direction away from the geyser, then silica steps formed on the surface. Both types of formation grew as silica-laden water cascaded over them, and the water also enhanced the spectacle. Geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter wrote after his visit in 1859 that "doubtless thousands of years were required" for their formation.
The White Terraces were the larger formation, covering 3 hectares and descending over approximately 50 layers and a drop in height of 40 metres. The Pink Terraces descended 30 metres over a distance of 75 metres. The converging Pink Terraces started at the top with a width of 75–100 metres and the bottom layers were approximately 27 metres wide. The Pink Terraces were where people preferred to bathe due to the more suitable pools.
One of the first Europeans to visit Rotomahana was Ernst Dieffenbach. He briefly visited Rotomahana and the terraces while on a survey for the New Zealand Company in early June 1841. The description of his visit in his book "Travels in New Zealand"  inspired an interest in the Pink and White Terraces by the outside world.
The terraces were New Zealand's most famous tourist attraction, sometimes referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. New Zealand was still relatively inaccessible and passage took several months by ship. The journey from Auckland was typically by steamer to Tauranga, the bridle track to Ohinemutu on Lake Rotorua, by coach to Te Wairoa (the home of the missionary the Reverend Seymour Mills Spencer), by canoe across lake Tarawera, and then on foot over the hill to the swampy shores of Lake Rotomahana and the terraces.
Those that made the journey to the terraces were most frequently well to do overseas tourists or officers from the British forces in New Zealand. The list of notable tourists included Sir George Grey in 1849, Alfred Duke of Edinburgh in 1869, and Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope in 1874.
Sophia Hinerangi, sometimes known as Te Paea (Tepaea), became recognised as the principal tourist guide of the Pink and White Terraces and guided the tourists in the whale boats from Te Wairoa to Te Ariki near Lake Rotomahana. Sophia took over as principal guide from the older Kate Middlemass in the early 1880s. Both guides are well documented for their involvement in guiding tourists to the terraces. Kate Middlemass was instrumental in guiding Seelhorst to the alleged fallen star. Sophia Hinerangi was the last guide to take tourists to the Terraces before the eruption. Sophia observed the pre eruption violence in the thermal wonderland and the disturbances to Lake Tarawera water levels days before the eruption.
Lead up to destruction 
Ferdinand von Hochstetter carried out a geographic and geological survey of the Rotomahana lake and area from 28 to 30 April 1859 producing his Geographic and Geological survey This gave enough data to form the first map of the area.
This map, although not favoured by early scholars, has proven to be more accurate than several later attempts, although, as with other maps of the lake, the height above sea level was significantly incorrect in many locations . The relevant heights between lake levels and mountain peaks were in proportion, but varied as distance between reference points increased. Hochstetter was aware of this problem with using an aneroid device, and he advised several times in his original book Geology of New Zealand that the heights above sea level that he quoted were only as far he could measure due to variation in barometric preasures.
Hochstetter's studies and reports on terrace structuring in the Waipa and Rotorua areas reveal how the Terraces were formed, and he also made comments on the commercial possibilities of Rotomahana.
Around 1873 Stephenson Percy Smith gave the impression that the mountain top was rough but showed no sign of volcanic vents in 1873 when he reported on his findings.
In March 1881 Dr. G. Seelhorst climbed Wahanga dome and the northern end of Ruawhai dome in search of a presumed falling star followed by reports of glowing and smoke from an area behind Wahanga. This ties in with reports of the first explosion at about 2:15 in the morning of the 10th June 1886, and lends credibility to the claim that Wahanga erupted first as suggested by Alfred Warbrick. Alfred Warbrick viewed the same event at the same time from the top of the adjacent hills.
In 1884 a surveyor named Charles Clayton was surveying for work in the Kawerau area and described the top of Wahanga dome as volcanic with several depressions, one being approximately 200 feet deep. This is proven true by recent semifluid magma flows consolidating on top of older scoria in the same area. Stephenson Percy Smith was involved in a pre-eruption survey of Mount Tarawera which was never finalised.
Later revelations were to prove that both were correct although Clayton's report showed that Smith had not investigated the top of Wahanga to the same degree as Clayton. It is known that there were caves on the south west edge of Wahanga and that the symmetry of the Wahanga peak was upset by the 1886 rift.
On 9–10 June 1886 Mount Tarawera erupted. The eruption spread from west of Wahanga dome, five kilometres to the north, down to Lake Rotomahana. The volcano belched out hot mud, red hot boulders, and immense clouds of black ash from a 17-kilometre rift that crossed the mountain, passed through the lake, and extended beyond into the Waimangu valley.
After the eruption, a crater over 100 metres deep encompassed the former site of the terraces. After some years this filled with water to form a new Lake Rotomahana, 30 metres higher and much larger than the old lake.
Alfred Patchet Warbrick, a boat builder at Te Wairoa, witnessed the eruption of Mount Tarawera from Maunga Makatiti to the north of Lake Tarawera. Warbrick soon had whale boats on lake Tarawera investigating the new landscape; he in time became a significant tourist guide to the post eruption attractions. Warbrick never accepted that the Pink and White Terraces had been totally destroyed.
The terraces were long thought to have been destroyed around 3 a.m. on 10 June 1886 during the eruption. However, a team including researchers from GNS Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Waikato University were mapping the lake floor when they discovered part of the Pink Terraces in February 2011. The lowest two tiers of the terraces were found in their original place at 60 metres (200 ft) deep (too deep for easy scuba diving ). A part of the White Terraces was rediscovered in June 2011. The announcement of the rediscovery of the White Terraces coincided with the 125th Anniversary of the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886. It is thought that the rest of the terraces may be buried in sediment rather than having been destroyed.
Similar places 
- Badab-e Surt in Iran
- Geothermal areas of Yellowstone in the United States
- Pamukkale in Turkey
- Terme di Saturnia in Italy
See also 
- "Pink and White Terraces - Rotorua Museum". Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Grantham House Publishing, Wellington, 1985 ISBN 1-86934-096-5. Geoff Conly
- Hochstetter, Ferdinand von (1867). New Zealand : its physical geography, geology, and natural history. Stuttgart: J G Cotta. p. 412.
- Ferdinand von Hochstetter. Geology of New Zealand(1864). R. E. Owen, Government Printer, Wellington New Zealand. Translated by Flemming, C. A.(1959)
- "DIFFENBACH, Ernst". Te Ara. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Dieffenbach, Ernest (1843). Travels in New Zealand. John Murray. pp. 382, 383.
- Andrews,Philip.(1995). Rotorua Tarawera and The Terraces (Bibliophil and the buried village ISBN 0-473-03177-9)
- Bag, Terry (17). "Strange Days on Lake Rotomahana: The End of the Pink and White Terraces". White Fungus (7). Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Sophia Hinerangi biography from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
- The Eruption of Tarawera. Report to The Surveyor General (page 43 footnote.).Smith Stephenson Percy (1986)
- Eileen McSaveney, Carol Stewart and Graham Leonard. 'Historic volcanic activity: Tarawera', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Updated 2007-11-05. Accessed 2008-03-19.
- Mount Tarawera, New Zealand Disasters, Christchurch City Libraries.
- "The search for the Pink and White Terraces". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Keam, R F. "Warbrick, Alfred Patchett 1860–1940". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 3 Aug 1012.
- Donnell, Hayden (2 February 2011). "Remains of Pink Terraces discovered". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- GNS Science.  Scientists find part of Pink and White Terraces under Lake Rotomahana, 2 February 2011.
- "Terrace discovery most surprising yet". One News. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Images and Paintings of the Pink and White Terraces in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
- Photos of the Pink & White Terraces
- Map of the Terraces on Te Ara
- The pink and white Terraces 2011