Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Photo by Pseudopanax on Wikimedia

Top 10 Fascinating Facts about Frying Pan Lake


Frying Pan Lake which was renamed Waimangu Cauldron in 1863 is the world’s largest hot spring. The Frying Pan Lake is located in the Echo Crater of Waimangu Volcanic Rift, New Zealand.

Its acidic water maintains a temperature of around 50 to 60 degrees Celsius (122-140⁰F). This Lake covers about thirty-eight thousand (38,000) square metres in part of the volcanic crater.

The shallow Lake is approximately 5.5 metres deep while the vents can go up to 18.3 metres deep. It is believed that earthquakes rocked the Rotorua area which made Mt Tarawera explode. The earthquake and eruption came to be known as the largest volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

This disastrous occurrence at this mountain led to the formation of the Frying Pan Lake. Several villages were destroyed, more than one hundred people were killed and the islands of Pink and White Terraces disappeared under the waters.

Here are the top 10 Fascinating Facts about Frying Pan Lake:

1. The Lake is the World’s Largest Hot Spring

There are several hot springs across the world which are more extensive than the others. However, Frying Pan Lake is claimed to be the largest of all hot springs in the world.

Frying Pan Lake is located in the Echo Crater of the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley. The spring has acidic water created after the largest volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

The acidity of the water is maintained at the temperature of about 50 to 60 degrees Celsius (122 to 140 ⁰F). This is one of the largest hot springs in the world.

2. It Covers a Large Part of A Volcanic Crater with both Deep and Shallow Ends

View over Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Photo by Pseudopanax on Wikimedia

Frying Pan Lake was formed on the Echo Crater of Waimangu Volcanic Rift in New Zealand. This Lake was formed several years ago and is among the most popular hot springs in the world.

Frying Pan Lake covers thirty-eight thousand square metres. It has both shallow and deep ends.

The shallow end of the lake is five point five metres deep. The lake also goes into the vents of the Echo Crater. At this end, it goes as deep as eighteen point three metres deep.

3. Frying Pan Lake is Bounded by the Steaming Cathedral Rocks

During the eruption of the Waimangu Volcanic Rift, several other features were formed alongside the Frying Pan Lake. Some of these features are very impressive and create great scenes.

One of the features to the north of Frying Pan Lake is the Cathedral Rocks. The lake is bounded by these steaming Rocks.

This monolithic rock structure is believed to be composed of rhyolitic lava. The rhyolitic lava, composed of silica-rich and has a glassy and fine texture, is at least sixty thousand years old.

It was named Gibraltar Rock but the name was later on changed. In 1917, Gibraltar Rock was renamed after the Echo Crater eruption completely its shape.

4. There’s an Area of Colourful Sinter Terrace on the Lake

View over Frying Pan Lake towards terraces on the western shore (Waimangu Volcanic Valley). Photo by Pseudopanax on Wikimedia

Before the eruption that formed the Frying Pan Lake, there were several beautiful natural environments in this area. There were the Trinity Terrace area and the Pink and White Terraces in this area before the eruption.

The first eruption destroyed the terraces. During the second eruption on 22nd February 1973, the Trinity Terrace area was destroyed.

The Trinity Terrace area was lying in the southeastern zone. Currently, an area of colourful sinter terraces is visible on this shore of the lake.

5. Water of Frying Pan Lake Typically Steams and Appears Boiling

Being the world’s largest hot spring, there are some things which are obvious with Frying Pan Lake. The temperatures of this lake are always that high.

The water of Frying Pan Lake is typically steaming at any time of the day. On close observation, the water appears to be boiling.

This phenomenon is due to the carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide gases which bubble to the surface. The average temperature of the lake is 55 degrees celsius even though it seems to be boiling.

6. pH Levels of the Lakes Water Vary at Different Points

Frying Pan Lake – 2013.04. Photo by rheins on Wikimedia

Frying Pan Lake water produces different types of gases which give it different types of pH levels. The lake has a point of outflow known as the Waimangu stream.

This point has an average level of pH of 3.8 making it more acidic. Some of the boiling hot springs and vents of Frying Pan Lake feed this stream water with a pH of 8.2 to 8.7.

The mixture and various pH gradients govern the type of algae that grows in the lake’s waters. There are the blue-green algae and the eukaryotic algae.

7. Frying Pan Lake is Interconnected to nearby Inferno Crater Lake

It seems like Frying Pan Lake is not the only water body on Waimangu Volcanic Rift. There is a nearby Inferno Crater Lake which is interconnected to the Frying Pan Lake.

These two lakes have a unique cyclic nature of the hydrothermal system. This system has put the two lakes into study since 1970.

Frying Pan Lake and Inferno Crater Lake water levels and overflow volumes usually follow a certain complicated rhythm. This cycle repeats itself after every 38 days.

The phenomenon is that when the water level and temperature of Inferno Crater Lake increase, the water level and outflow of Frying Pan Lake decreases. The opposite also happens later.

8. The Lake is First Encountered while on Waimangu Walking Track

View over Echo Crater and Frying Pan Lake in Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Photo by Pseudopanax on Wikimedia

Along the Waimangu Volcanic Rift, there is a walking track that is frequented by several tourists every year. This track leads to beautiful scenes in the Rift.

Tourists taking the Waimangu walking track encounter the Frying Pan Lake first before heading to the next stop. It is one of the major attractions along this track.

9. Extinct Site of Waimangu Geyser is on North-Eastern Shore of the Lake

The Waimangu Volcanic Rift has several other attraction sites. The Frying Pan Lake is the major attraction site in this region.

Around this major hot spring are several other sites which make it a serene environment. On the far northeast shore of Frying Pan Lake is the extinct Waimangu Geyser. This was the most powerful Geyser in the world which attracted several tourists.

10. Frying Pan Lake has a Hot Water Creek

The outflow of the Waimangu stream out of Frying pan lake in Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rotorua, New Zealand, shows vivid colours from minerals and algae. Photo by Andy king50 on Wikimedia

The water of the Frying Pan Lake is not stagnated in that area. There is an outflow of the water from the Frying Pan Lake.

It is known as Waimangu Stream and is famously referred to as the Hot Water Creek in the Waimangu Wanderer Guide. This stream is fed by the alkaline water of the lake and drains it out of an acidic nature.



This region might seem to be unfriendly to humans but it is one of the major tourist attractions destinations. Frying Pan Lake will always be one of the areas to visit, enjoy the scenes and learn more.

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