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Massive Sinkhole In New Zealand Reveals Ancient Soil With Deposits From Supervolcano Eruption

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An enormous sinkhole has just opened up in a local farm in New Zealand, revealing ancient soil that included volcanic deposits from the Taupo supervolcano.

The hollow created by the sinkhole measures 200 meters long and 20 meters deep and was likened to a length of two whole football fields.

The giant sinkhole also exposes ancient soil of approximately 60,000 years old. A local volcanologist said the soil contains sedimentary deposit from the most recent eruption at the Lake Taupo which dates to about 1,800 years ago.

Biggest Sinkhole Seen In New Zealand

Volcanologist Brad Scott said the sinkhole, which cracked opened in a farm on Bay of Plenty, is the largest he has ever seen in New Zealand.

"The largest I've seen prior to this would be about a third of the size of this, so this is really big," described Scott.

The sinkhole was discovered at New Zealand's Earthquake Flat which is 15 kilometers (9 miles) southeast of Rotorua on the country's North Island.

Scott's initial analysis suggests that the sinkhole's underground cavity would have been caused by accumulated rainwater over the last 40, 50, to 100 years. However, it would have taken more than 10 years before it could collapse. The crumble might have been hastened by the high-intensity rainfall that the region experienced over the weekend.

He estimates that the crack can get bigger in time. Scott predicts that with further erosions, the sinkhole's sides will continue to collapse, and the hollow will continue to open over the next 10 years.

Colin Tremain, the farm manager, could not believe how colossal the sinkhole was. He shared that there had been some sinkholes which opened in the area because of eroding limestone rock beneath the ground. Their sizes, however, are incomparable to this one.

Taupo Supervolcano

Lake Taupo is a body of water in the North Island of New Zealand which sits in the caldera of the Taupo volcano which is known to be the most active rhyolite caldera in the world.

Taupo eruption was the most destructive natural explosions in the world in the last 5,000 years. The plumes from the eruption reached 50 kilometers (31miles) into the stratosphere. The majority of New Zealand was covered by a layer of ash measuring at least 1 centimeter. It was hypothesized that ashes from the explosion caused the red sunsets recorded by the Romans and Chinese at the time of the Taupo eruption.

Sinkholes usually opened in areas where the land surface is consist of limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks and in areas where there has no natural rainwater drainage.

Sinkholes have commonly acquired considerable attention for their dramatic effect. The lands with which the collapse happens are normally intact and are locations of usual human activities.

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