Monday, January 25, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Christine MacDonald

Christine MacDonald
Hot Water Beach

Never in my life would I think that I would get the opportunity to stand on a fault line and feel the heat from molten rocks millions of years old beneath my feet. The first thing that hit me when I walked onto hot water beach was the beautiful rocky backing of the beach that abruptly ended on a sandy beach that lead to clear blue water. However, the real impact the beach had on me was that rock miles beneath the surface could warm my feet just inches beneath the surface. And not only was the water warm it was up to 58°C which would burn me! At first it was hard to wrap my mind around that I was feeling the affects of a volcano that erupted millions of years ago, but than the power and incredible characteristics of the earth (especially volcanoes) always seems to keep amazing me on this trip, its really just mind boggling.

Hot water beach is located on the northeast side of the North Island. The beach was intermediate with plunging waves. The wave height at 10:00 AM on 9/1/10 was about 1m and the wave period was approximately 8 seconds. The sand was tan, course, well sorted and composed mainly of shell hash. Also, the beach was about 50 paces wide and backed with cliffs and trees. The sea cliffs were situated behind ignimbrite rocks, which are composed of pummus and ash. Hot Water Beach was also a pocket beach which helped to protect it from harsh seas. Hot water Beach was a nearshore, intertidal zone with unconsolidated shore sands. The fauna found in the intertidal zone were fine dosinias, morning stars and pipis. Beach hoppers were also on Hot Water beach but were found on the berm of the beach. There were also lots of gulls on the beach, probably because it was a tourists attraction so they were guaranteed food. Pahutakawa trees made up most of the flora on Hot Water Beach and they were located in the rocks and on the cliff on back of the beach.

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