January 30, 2011

World's Tallest Geyser Discovered – 1901

Just in the nick of time, Dr. Humphrey Haines discovered the world's tallest and most powerful geyser. Called Waimangu Geyser, it was located on the North Island of New Zealand. Every 36 hours, this geyser hurled up water, black mud, and rocks as high as 600 to 1,500 feet into the air. This is between 5 to 10 times the height of Old Faithful!

It's higher than the Empire State Building!

Why did I say “just in the nick of time”? Well, this geyser went extinct in 1904 when a landslide changed the local water table.

People worldwide were interested in the find, and many tourists visited the geyser in the three years between discovery and extinction. Three of the tourists disregarded the repeated warnings of their guide to keep back at a safe distance, and unfortunately all four of them (even the guide) died in a sudden, violent eruption.

To learn more about geysers, check out this and also that earlier posts.

The Youngest Country on Earth

New Zealand calls itself the youngest country on earth because it was the last major landmass to be discovered and settled by humans. About 1,000 years ago, Polynesian people arrived by canoes. By 1250 A.D. (or C.E.), during a period known as the Middle Ages in Europe, and almost a half century after the Magna Carta was signed in England, these Polynesians had made permanent settlements on New Zealand.

Just a few hundred years later, European explorers reached New Zealand.

Learn more about New Zealand and the Maori.

(The Maori are New Zealand's indigenous people.)

Here is a lesson on making Maori Koru art. 

Here and here are two videos advertising New Zealand as a great place to visit. Okay, I admit it, they worked—I really want to go now! 

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