Waimangu Geyser

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Waimangu Geyser
Waimangu geyser.jpg
Eruption of Waimangu Geyser
Location near Rotorua, New Zealand
Coordinates 38°17′S 176°24′E / 38.283°S 176.400°E / -38.283; 176.400Coordinates: 38°17′S 176°24′E / 38.283°S 176.400°E / -38.283; 176.400
Eruption height up to 1,500 feet (460 m)
Waimangu Geyser around 1910
Geyser site in 2011

The Waimangu Geyser, located near Rotorua in New Zealand, was the most powerful geyser in the world. Its workings were apparently created by the great 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption, which opened a 14 km-long (8.75 miles) fissure down the mountain, through Lake Rotomahana and the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.[1]

The geyser was first seen erupting in 1900. Its eruptions were observed reaching up to 460 metres (1,500 ft) in height, and it excited worldwide interest. As a result of a landslide which changed the water table, the geyser became extinct on November 1, 1904.[2]

The water expelled by the geyser was black with rocks and mud from the surrounding terrain, so the indigenous Māori people named the geyser Waimangu, meaning 'Black Waters'. The geyser gave its name to the surrounding geothermal region, the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.

On August 31, 1903, David McNaughton, Joseph Warbrick, and sisters Ruby and Catherine Nicholls were killed after ignoring requests from Warbrick's brother Alfred to return to a safe distance, after venturing close to the edge of the geyser. The four were swept away in a sudden violent eruption.[3]


  1. ^ Moore, E. S. (November–December 1917). "The Active Volcanoes of New Zealand". The Journal of Geology (University of Chicago Press) 25 (8): 708. doi:10.1086/622540. 
  2. ^ MacLaren, J. Malcolm (November 1906). "The Source of the Waters of Geysers'". The Geological Magazine (Cambridge University Press) 3 (11): 512. doi:10.1017/s0016756800118898. 
  3. ^ "Waimangu Geyser - 1903". New Zealand Disasters and Tragedies. United Press Association. August 31, 1903. Retrieved January 21, 2007. 

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