Wednesday, 21 January 2015

More Rocks... An Amazing Geological Wonderland...

 One of the biggest attractions in Golden Bay would have to be
all the amazing rock structures. This place is another
great place to explore on a hot day... It's well signposted on the
road from Takaka to Pohara... There is parking and entry
is free although donations to 'Friends of Labyrinth Rocks'
are gratefully received as is volunteer help to keep this place going.

 This is the map inside the free brochure available at the entrance.
As you can see there are two parts that are like a maze
and as I walked along the 3km of paths I really felt I could get lost,
but eventually they all come back to the main path.

The Labyrinth is a  two hectares (five acres) wonderland
of limestone rock formations and regenerating
native bush. Limestone is a sedimentary rock made
by the accumulation and consolidation of the remains of shells
plankton and other organisms that lived in the sea and
on the sea floor. The limestone in the Labyrinth
originated in the Oligocene geological era some
30 million years ago. About 25 million years ago
earthquakes and ruptures lifted this land out of the
sea and exposed it to the effects of weather and erosion.

The tremendous tectonic forces that caused this upheaval produced 
a series of cracks through the rock. This allowed rain,
 always slightly acidic, to percolate through and slowly dissolve
 the limestone (alkaline calcium carbonate). 
After millions of years the small cracks widened to become 
the 'canyons' that now form the Labyrinth.

Rain falling on bare rock surfaces continues the same
dissolving process and has produced these
incredible natural sculptures.

Water entering the vertical cracks escapes by finding its way through
horizontal weaknesses in the rock strata and in a similar fashion
produces undercuts, tunnels and caves. The maze area is a
spectacular example of this...

Silt from a nearby flooding river have filled the
deep canyons and made the paths to walk on
around this amazing natural phenomenon
which has taken millions of years to create.

It is  fascinating and awesome to explore... I highly recommend...

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting to read about this natural wonderland - we had never even hear of it!
    Thanks for the recommendation, very handy as we are planning a South Island trip later in the year.
    Robin and Jenny from Romany Rambler