The Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu, New Zealand, is one of the largest hot pools in the world. Its acidic waters stay at about 50–60° centigrade all round the year, and its surface remains obscured by steam, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide gas bubbling to the surface.
The lake was born out of a large volcanic eruption in 1886, when Mount Tarawera erupted and formed several large craters in the area. It was the largest eruption in New Zealand since the arrival of Europeans. The eruption ripped through the valley destroying many precious geographic landmarks such as the renowned Pink and White Terraces, but also gave the Waimangu Valley its many hydrothermal and geothermal features.
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Within 15 years of the eruption, hot springs permanently established themselves in the Waimangu Valley. The world’s largest geyser, the Waimangu Geyser, shot water nearly half-a-kilometer into the air for four years. Newly formed craters filled with rainwater and heated groundwater to form hot pools. The Frying Pan Lake is one of them, and it’s located in the Echo Crater. But it was not until another large eruption in Echo Crater in 1917 that the lake reached its final shape and size.
Frying Pan Lake covers 38,000 square meters and has an average depth of 6 meters. On its western shore are colorful sinter terraces, and on its east is a large crater left after the Waimangu Geyser ceased activity. There are delicate silica formations and colorful mineral deposits all around the lake area.
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