Waimangu is home to the World's youngest geothermal system. This geothermal system was formed as the result of a volcanic eruption on 10 June 1886. It features World unique geothermal features.
It is the only geothermal system in the World created within written history.
Therefore its creation can be pin-pointed to an exact time and event - the Tarawera Eruption of 10 June 1886. Everything we see at Waimangu is either a direct result of the 1886 eruption or, if it is alive, has arrived here since the Eruption.
The evolution of the Waimangu geothermal System has been monitored and recorded since it was formed, providing a unique record of the evolution of a new eco system. The Waimangu geothermal system is powered by a large magma dome (molten lava) that is only about 2 km below the Earth's surface and situated in the south west corner of Lake Rotomahana.
The surface features of the geothermal system include
- 200 large hot springs in the bottom of Lake Rotomahana.
- Frying Pan Lake, one of the World's largest hot water springs.
- Inferno Crater, the World's largest Crypto Geyser (geyser-like feature)
- Rare geothermal silica terraces
- Myriad hot springs and steaming vents throughout Waimangu Valley.
Waimangu is completely natural. It has not been altered by man and is protected from exploitation or development. Waimangu was the site of Waimangu Geyser, which played regularly between 1901 and 1904 and is the World's largest recorded geyser.