Dormant geysers spring back into life

For the second time in less than six months, a previously dormant geyser has bubbled back into life at Te Puia|New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) in Rotorua’s Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.

Located near the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, Te Puia|NZMACI guides recently noticed the Puapua Geyser has started filling and bubbling, with a nearby vent spurting a substantial amount of steam and water into the air.

The regeneration of Puapua Geyser is yet another significant geothermal development in the Valley, following Papakura Geyser’s revival in September last year.

The regeneration has been attributed to Rotorua’s bore closure programme which was implemented between 1986 and 1992.

Papakura had been a consistently active geyser until March 1979. The failure of Papakura marked a turning point in the understanding of the damage that the bore use was having on springs and geysers. 

GNS Science Volcanologist Brad Scott says the recent changes in geothermal activity are a continuation of the recovery since the bore closures.

“The geyser feature associated with Puapua has been known to intermittently erupt often over the last decade, but the current eruptions are coupled with the highest observed water levels for over a decade. The nearby Wairoa Geyser also has the highest observed water levels in over 30 years."

Te Puia Chief Executive, Tim Cossar, says the recent activity is an exciting development for Te Puia|NZMACI staff and visitors, as well as for the local iwi (tribe) who have made the Valley their home for hundreds of years.

“It is rewarding for everyone involved that the measures that were taken 30 years ago are starting to pay off with some of our natural features starting to come back to life.

“While we can’t make any promises about any significant additional activity, visitors will still have a unique experience if they choose to visit.”