New Zealand sinkhole reveals glimpse into 60,000-year-old volcano

The sinkhole on a dairy farm near Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island appeared after heavy rainfall. Above, a frame grab of the chasm from TVNZ video footage. (TVNZ via AFP)
Updated 07 May 2018

New Zealand sinkhole reveals glimpse into 60,000-year-old volcano

WELLINGTON: A new sinkhole on a North Island farm as deep as four double-decker buses and almost the length of two football fields has grabbed the attention of New Zealand volcanologists.
The chasm appeared after heavy rainfall near the town of Rotorua and left a jagged scar on the landscape, exposing rock deposits from 60,000 years ago.
Experts believe rain dissolved underground limestone over thousands of years, eventually causing the ground to collapse and create the canyon.
“This is pretty spectacular, it’s a lot bigger than the ones I’d normally see,” volcanologist Brad Scott said of the chasm measuring 20 meters (66 foot) deep and 200 meters (660 feet) long.
Scott said the dairy farm where the fissure appeared lay on the crater of a long-dormant volcano.

“What I see in the bottom of the hole is the original 60,000-year-old volcanic deposit that came out of this crater,” he told TVNZ.
Farmer Colin Tremain said the sinkhole appeared overnight last week and was spotted by one of his workers during an early morning round to attend the cows.
While such holes were common on the property, this was by far the largest he said, admitting there was little he could do to stop his land disappearing in such dramatic fashion.
“(I’ll) put a fence around it and forget about it, waste of time filling it in,” he told Radio NZ.


Keepers, animals keep each other company at Cairo’s shuttered zoo

Updated 03 April 2020

Keepers, animals keep each other company at Cairo’s shuttered zoo

  • The zoo in Giza, across the Nile from central Cairo, is one of the few green spaces in the usually bustling city of 23 million and is often crammed with families
  • Egypt, like other countries, is trying to curb the spread of coronavirus cases by restricting people’s movements

CAIRO: The chimpanzees, lions and hippos of Cairo’s zoo are getting a rare spell of peace and quiet alone with their keepers as a closure caused by the coronavirus outbreak keeps the public away.
The zoo in Giza, across the Nile from central Cairo, is one of the few green spaces in the usually bustling city of 23 million and is often crammed with families seeking diversion from the grind of daily life.
Now keepers do their rounds at the zoo along deserted pathways, feeding animals apples and bananas through the railings of their cages and bringing fresh hay to their enclosures.
Veteran keeper Mohamed Aly holds hands with 12-year-old chimpanzee Jolia in a gesture of friendship, while noting that keepers are careful about cleaning hands between rounds.
“I’ve been here about 25 years,” he said. “(I’ve spent) my whole life with them, they may not speak but they feel everything, and of course all of them are looking for people to play with.”
Egypt, like other countries, is trying to curb the spread of coronavirus cases by restricting people’s movements. It has imposed a night curfew and shut schools, mosques and tourist sites including the pyramids. It has so far confirmed more than 850 cases of the virus, including more than 50 deaths.
The zoo, which has been closed along with others in Egypt since March 18, is sprayed with disinfectant twice a week.

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