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Volume 14, 1881
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Art. LXXI.—Further Notes on the Thermal Springs in the Hanmar Plains, Provincial District of Nelson.

[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 4th August, 1881.]

In a paper read before the Nelson Association for the Promotion of Science and Industry, on the 4th May, 1870, and printed in the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,”* I gave the results of a short visit to these springs on 20th February of the same year. Since then, during a stay of a few weeks at the same locality, from the end of December, 1876, to middle of January, 1877, I had ample opportunity to verify not only the observations previously made, but to add considerably to the stock of our scanty information as to the temperature of these remarkable springs, by a series of carefully conducted observations during a number of days, and I now take the liberty to lay the results thus obtained before you.

The barometric readings were obtained with an aneroid of Negretti and Zambra, and those of the thermometer taken from a set of maximum and minimum thermometers of the same firm, the instruments before starting having been compared with the standard instruments of the meteorological

[Footnote] * “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. iii., p. 293.

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station in Christchurch. During my first visit to the Hanmer Plains I was informed by one of the residents that the temperature of these springs altered considerably according to the seasons and the state of the weather, a fact confirmed by a communication of Dr. Hector made to the Superintendent of Nelson in October, 1870, and printed in the same volume of the “Transactions,”* in which he gives the main results of his examinations of the same springs on 8th May, 1887. In comparing these observations it appears that the temperatures of the different springs recorded by Dr. Hector are much lower than those obtained by me, and although I am not able to recognize with certainty the different springs as indicated by him, there is evidently a great difference, his highest reading reaching only 90.5°. However, as his visit took place in the autumn, the temperature of the air being only 52°, it is possible that at least to some small extent this may account for his low readings. In order to obtain reliable results, my observations were always taken at the same spot, for maximum temperature of each spring the thermometer being lowered to the bottom, whence the bubbles of sulphurous steam rose up most conspicuously, and where, after several tests, I had found the water possessing the highest temperature. The surface temperature on the other hand was always taken in a similar manner, the instrument being immersed for five minutes at the same spot. In such a manner the readings were uniform throughout.

In case of a great difference of the readings with those previously noted, I always took a second observation in order to obviate any possible error. The appended list of thermometric readings of the thermal springs shows convincingly that even in not more than 24 hours the difference reached in some instances is as much as 13 degrees Fahr. The temperature of the springs was always highest during easterly weather. On the 2nd of January the centre of the principal pool used for bathing purposes reached 120 degrees; on the 5th of January, also, whilst a stronger easterly wind was blowing than on the 2nd of January, 116 degrees were recorded. The lowest reading, 93 degrees, was obtained on January 7th, when a strong north-wester was blowing.

These facts are in accordance with the experience of tlie inhabitants of the neighbourhood, who had previously informed me of this curious phenomenon.

It would be premature to attempt its explanation for the present, but the recorded facts point towards the necessity (if these springs are to be used for medicinal purposes for which, from the cures effected, they are qualified in a high degree), that at least the principal springs have to be

[Footnote] * i.e., p. 297.

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properly enclosed in tubes to a considerable depth. In such a manner the temperature will remain more uniform, the surface water, and the cold springs, which are now allowed to mix freely with those of a thermal character, becoming separated from them, and thus the curative properties will not only be secured in all seasons, but will actually be augmented.

This I presume can only be done, either by the Government of the Colony taking the matter in hand and spending a large amount of money on these springs for the benefit of suffering humanity, in the same manner as this is done by the Governments on the Continent of Europe with their thermal or mineral springs, or to give such facilities to a large company that it will be incumbent upon the promoters to devote a considerable amount of money to that purpose.

Besides the tubings and enclosing of the principal springs, proper houses for bathing, and accommodation for the visitors have to be built, and some amount of money ought to be spent towards embellishing that now rather dreary and bleak spot. Being surrounded by picturesque mountains, a delightful villegiatura would thus be created, equally welcome to the patient and to the resident of the town who seeks change of air and scene.

I have examined carefully the flora in the close vicinity of the springs, but have not found a single plant that has not been previously described, or does not occur in other localities in the Hanmer Plains where the ground is moist.

The most important inhabitant of the pools is a small water-beetle. It has several times given a small bite to my companion and myself when bathing. This was sufficiently acute to be as painful as the prick of a pin. Two were caught in the act and proved to be specimens of Colymbetes rufimanus, in no way different from those occurring in our small cold watercourses.

In my first paper I calculated the altitude of the principal spring, from a single observation, to be 1,162 feet, whilst Dr. Hector's calculation, also from a single observation, places it at 1,360 feet.

Mr. W. Kitson informs me that there is a trig. station (F.) 18 chains north of the pools, which is 1,219 feet above the sea-level. He estimates this point at 20 feet higher than the springs, so that their real altitude would be about 1,200 feet.

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Haast.—On the Hot Sprins of Hanmer Plains.
Month. Day. Hour. Locality. Barometer. Thermometer. Wind and Weather. Spring No. 1 No. 2. Centre. No. 3 Centre. Spring No. 4. No. 5. Centre. No. 6. Centre. Spring No. 7. Spring No. 8. Spring No. 9.
Centre. Side. Centre. Side. Centre. Side. Centre. Side. Centre. Side.
1870, Feb. 20 11 a.m. Spring 29.01 70.3 S.W. 2, slight rain 104.0 97.2 78.3 106.8 103.0 98.1 68.9 102.2 110.6 94.6 99.7 97.8 99.8
1876. Dec. 30 9.45 " Jollie Pass Hotel 28.60 74.0 Slightly overcast
" " 2.30 p.m. Hotel. 28.54 75.0 Slightly overcast
" " 5.45 " Spring 28.65 74.0 Overcast 116.0 95.5 79.0 115.0 97.0 96.0 75.0 96.0 94.8 95.0 112.0 93.0
1877. Jan. 1 2.40 " Hotel 28.54 73.0 N.W. 2, fine
" 2 9 a.m. Hotel 28.48 65.0 Very fine, C.C. 1
" 2 11 " Spring 28.37 72.0 Light east'ly oppressive 120.0 96.5
" 3 9.30 " Hotel 28.71 70.5 Slightly overcast
" 3 4 p.m. Springs 28.63 73.3 Slightly overcast 114.0 97.0
" 4 9.45 a.m. Hotel 28.80 66.0 Very fine, C. 1
" 4 11.15 " Springs 28.97 68.0 97.5 82.0
" 4 6.30 p.m. Springs 28.89 63.0 98.0
" 4 7.45 " Hotel 28.72 62.0
" 5 9 a.m Hotel 28.70 72.0 Very fine, C.C.1, E. 2
" 5 5.45 p.m. Springs 28.86 76.0 " E. 3 116.0 103.0 78.0 117.0 102.0 84.0 96.5 95.0 102.0 106.0
" 6 9 a.m. Hotel 28.61 70.5 " N.W. 2
" 6 6.30 p.m. Springs 28.77 75.0 " N.W.3 107.0 94.5 97.0 75.5 92.2 91.5 98.0 101.5
" 7 9 a.m. Hotel 28.58 74.5 Boisterous
" 7 6.15 p.m. Springs 28.72 70.0 Boisterous N.W.4 93.0 90.25 69.5
" 8 9.15 a.m. Hotel 28.55 78.5 {Rain from N.W., clearing up.}
" 8 7 p.m. Springs 28.53 68.0 Fine, light, easterly 106.5 96.5 78.7
" 9 9.15 a.m. Hotel 28.20 68.5 Fine N.W. 2
" 9 1 p.m. Springs 28.36 81.0 Fine N.W.2 105.8 92.5 79.0
" 10 9.30 a.m. Hotel 28.18 64.0 Boisterous, N.W. 3
" 10 6 p.m. Springs 28.54 63.0 Fine, N.W. 1 105.0 93.0
" 11 9 a.m. Hotel 28.60 62.0 Fine light, easterly
" 11 5 p.m. Springs 28.62 58.5 Easterly 2 108.0 94.5 72.0 95.0 70.2
" 12 9.15 a.m. Hotel 28.33 65.2 Very fine, light easterly
" 12 6.45 p.m. Springs 28.41 68.1 Very fine, light easterly 106.0 100.5 81.0 100.0 78.0 96.2 96.5 101.5 103.5
" 13 9 a.m. Hotel 28.21 79.0 Fine, N.W.1
" 13 6 p.m. Springs 28.44 75.0 Light, N.W., oppressive 102.5 98.5 77.5 " 14 9.45 p.m. Hotel 28.20 62.0 Light, S.E., rain