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.


South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

Updated 25 May 2020

South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

  • It is believed the robots could help with social distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues
  • The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year

DAEJEON, South Korea: The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way toward customers.
“Here is your Rooibos almonds tea latte, please enjoy. It’s even better if you stir it,” it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.
After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules toward what the government calls “distancing in daily life.”
Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.
“Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits will with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” he said.
The system, which uses a coffee-making robotic arm and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serves the drinks to customers at their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices and contains self-driving technology to calculate the best routes around the cafe.
An order of six drinks, processed through a kiosk, took just seven minutes. The only human employee at the two-story cafe was a patissier who also has some cleaning duties and refills ingredients.
The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year.
“Robots are fun and it was easy because you don’t have to pick up your order,” said student Lee Chae-mi, 23. “But I’m also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans.”