Rotorua’s geothermal activity

By Pippa

If you ever visit Rotorua one of the first things you’ll noticed is the strange smell that will appear in random places. You could be walking down the street looking in shops and then suddenly, this stink forces its way up your nose. Then you might look at the person next to you like, ‘man, what did you eat for breakfast?’. I later learned that this is from the sulfur gas that is rising to the surface. This can occur wherever and whenever the earth feels like it. Also, when it gets colder or starts raining you will probably notice little puffs of steam rising in random places, or the big billowing cloud rising from the water. This happens when the heat coming off the thermal pool connects with the cold air.

There are many benefits from these pools, like helping people with arthritis. The thermal pools can be found at all sorts of places, such as homes, private land or in the middle of farm land. The eruption of the Tarawera and Haroharo volcanoes was so hot that there is still some leftover heat today! This heat is what causes the more than six hundred geothermal features that exist throughout the Rotorua basin. The geothermal energy resource is there because New Zealand is located on an active plate boundary, between the Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates. When cool ground water from rain, snow melt, rivers or lakes meet the hot rocks underground, geothermal features are created. For this to happen, the rock must be heated to temperatures hotter than the surrounding areas.

  • I got this information from: Geothermal Treasures _Maori Living with Heat and Steam; c 

    ontributing writers: Vanessa Bidois, Cherie Taylor and Robyn Bargh.                  


2 Replies to “Rotorua’s geothermal activity”

  1. Interesting, Pippa! I do like how you tell the story/information. I especially like that you indicate that sulphur-type smells can be deceiving— or used for deceptive purposes! Be wary of those close to you who might try to conveniently blame such things on the earth! Lol.


  2. thank you Jill!
    also that is so true! you’ve got to keep an eye out for that ’cause its only in certain places. like when someone blames it on the smell, and you could’ve sworn it didn’t smell that bad there yesterday. hmmm…


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