Amazing Places

The World's Largest Hot Spring Is The Aptly Named Frying Pan Lake

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There are a lot of things a frying pan doesn't have in common with Frying Pan Lake. Its size, for example: one is the size of baseball glove and the other is the size of seven football fields put together. One thing they share? They're both too hot to handle.

Frying Pan Lake is the largest hot spring in the world.

Some Like It Huge

New Zealand's Frying Pan Lake doesn't get it name for its ability to whip up over-easy eggs. It's all about the heat. This lake is the largest natural hot spring in the world. Located in the Echo Crater in the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley, it's basically an enormous pool of naturally steaming hot water. Another similar phenomenon sits nearby in the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland: Champagne Pool, a naturally colorful hot spring. The biggest difference between these two Kiwi sites is their size. Frying Pan Lake stretches a staggering nine acres (38,000 square meters). The humble Champagne Pool is about the length of two basketball courts.

It's A Too-Hot Tub

Hot tubs are luxurious meccas of relaxation (Pamukkale, anyone?)—but only if it's not too hot. Make no mistake, Frying Pan Lake is not for swimming. The average temp of the water sits around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). That's hotter than a cup of coffee.

The origin story of Frying Pan Lake explains how it got to such scorching temps: this hot spring was born of a volcanic eruption. Earthquakes rumbled New Zealand's Rotorua area in June of 1886, causing Mount Tarawera to explode. The disastrous result became the country's largest volcanic eruption. In the wake of the destruction, the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley formed. Another volcanic eruption in Echo Crater in 1917 hammered Frying Pan Lake into its final form.

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Written by Joanie Faletto May 9, 2017

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