Thursday, August 27, 2015


Executive summary by darmansjah

BUILT by 250,000 years of volcanism

NEW ZEALAND’s Maori people say their legenday ancestor Ngatoroirangi was caught in a blizzard while exploring the North island. Close to death, he called to his sisters to send him the sacred fire of their homeland. A blazing trail burst forth from under the island as volcanoes. Three of these peaks. Tongariro, Nagurhoe, and Ruapehu (a location for Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films), now form the heart of Tongariro National Park, a natural wonder with spiritual significance for the Maori. The park includes waterfalls, emerald lakes, and misty fern-filled tracks. It provides shelter for native kakas (parrots), kererus (pigeons), and New Zealand’s national symbol, the kiwi.

Volcanic Emeralds

Smoth jewels in a gritty landscape, explosive craters atop Mount Tongariro hold emeralds-green water, curtesy of minerals that leach in from surrounding thermal areas.

On Top of Middle Earth

A skier enjoys the pristine conditions of Mount Ruapehu. One of three andesitic volcanoes that make up Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu is still active, periodically covering the snow with a thick layer of ash.

Standing on Thin Ice

Born on land, polar bears-like this one in the Svalbard archipelago in Norway-spend most of their lives at sea. Like almost all life on Earth, they depend upon the delicate balance between ice and water, now threatened by a changing climate.

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