Here’s an interesting fact for you: Did you know that Albert Park is a volcanic vent?
While on holiday for Easter Break I came across an article in the New Zealand Geographic magazine about Auckland’s volcanic field, which consists of over 50 individual volcanoes. Most of these volcanoes are well known to me, as I run up One Tree Hill every day, and often Mt St John and Mt Hobson as well (great views by the way, 10/10 would recommend). What surprised me was the number of volcanoes that I didn’t know existed.
I couldn’t help but feel unsettled after reading this. While I was in my lecture on Wednesday it lingered in the back of my mind- what if somewhere, far below the surface, hot magma was just waiting to erupt out of Albert Park in the next 10 seconds, destroying everything in a 3km radius- university included? Would I be buried in this lecture hall, under layers of ash, with nothing but my course books and purple Jansport bag? Would an archaeologist find our ash-preserved fossils, years into the future, like they did with the victims of Mt Vesuvius in Pompeii?
It did, of course, occur to me that these thoughts were irrational. The chance of an eruption in those 10 seconds was ridiculously small. Plus, Albert Park has been dormant for millions of years. But once you read something that, you start to see it everywhere.
During Easter Break I happened to be holidaying in Taupo at the time, which was fitting, as Lake Taupo is the crater of a giant Caldera volcano- the largest eruption in New Zealand history. Standing at the crater of a giant caldera volcano really helps to put everything into perspective, I’ve found. I walked down to the lake and thought to myself “My life is a tiny speck of a speck of a speck on the spectrum of the Earth’s history”. And then I felt quite small. It’s weird to think that Dad and I were literally kayaking on the crater of a giant volcano (see photo).
Finding out fun facts about a new place is like getting on the next bus you see- you never know where it might take you. While doing a bit of background research on Albert Park, I found out about the Albert Park tunnels- which are a network of 3.5 km air raid tunnels underneath the Park. How cool is that?! There’s actually a petition online to get these tunnels reopened. Not sure I’d like too spend too long in there though….
Stumbling upon this article has really made me start to realise how wonderful and fascinating the earth is. It occurred to me that there are so many things we don’t know. And so many things I would like to find out. Thanks to university, I’m learning new things every day, and I couldn’t be more grateful.