Frying Pan Lake – Waimangu, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

Frying Pan Lake

Deadly scalding and one of the largest hot springs in the world. 


In June of 1886, earthquakes rocked the Rotorua area in New Zealand, and Mount Tarawera exploded in what was to become known as New Zealand’s largest volcanic eruption.

The disaster was extensive: villages were destroyed, more than one hundred people were killed, and the island’s famed Pink and White Terraces disappeared beneath the waters of Lake Rotomahana.

Out of the destruction came the formation of the area now known as Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley, and one of the world’s largest hot springs. The simply-named Frying Pan Lake occupies 38,000 square meters in part of the volcanic crater. The shallow waters average a deadly 110-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the lake is only about 18 feet deep, but at vents parts of it plunge down to 60 feet.

Some sources claim that Frying Pan Lake is the largest hot spring in the world, while others favor Boiling Lake in Dominica, Lesser Antilles; Glenwood Springs in Colorado; or the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

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