Travelogues: Janice >> Rangitoto, NZ's newest volcano

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New Zealand
Rangitoto Red Earth
Rangitoto Red Earth (16)
Trip Information
Trip Date:2005-02-22
# Photos:17 [View]
Countries visited:New Zealand
Viewed: 6550
by Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 6163 N: 148] (18832)
RANGITOTO
Maori ‘TE RANGI I TOTONGIA A TAMATEKAPUA – THE DAY THE BLOOD OF TAMATEKAPUA WAS SHED’.

On 22 February I visited Rangitoto Island...

Rangitoto, the largest and youngest of Auckland’s volcanoes, emerged from the sea around 600 years ago in a series of fiery volcanic explosions. Imagine it: fire and steam started erupting from the sea on 8 km northeast of where the city of Auckland now is. Further eruptions sent red-hot lava flows down the sides of the volcano forming the black basaltic rock that now makes up much of the island. The birth of Rangitoto Island took about 200 years from the beginning to the end (there is a debate about this). When it was over, layer of layer of LAVA had built Rangitoto’s symmetrical cone. It was an island of bare jagged rock. It is now considered a dead volcano – I do hope so!

Rangitoto's lava rock seems an inhospitable environment for plant life, yet the island hosts over 200 species of native trees and flowering plants, more than 40 kinds of fern and several species of orchid. Many plants form unusual hybrids or adopt strange behaviours because of the unusual conditions.