Geothermal Chemistry

The Taupō Volcanic Zone, in the middle of the North Island, is rich in geothermal features, including hot pools, geysers and mud pools. They originate underground when heat from volcanic activity heats up water

Geothermal resources have soothed bodies, warmed homes and hotels and supplied heat for commercial and industrial applications. They supply an expanding base of electricity generation. There are potentially new applications in terms of minerals carried with the fluids and the extreme life forms that survive in the boiling water

This trip is a rare opportunity for year 12 and 13 chemistry students to use practical chemical techniques outside the classroom


Guided Tour of thermal site; Qualitative analysis of water from hot pools (samples collected under careful supervision); Quantitative analysis of spa and thermal pool water samples; Test gas content of steam from fumaroles; Discuss properties of geothermal mud in relation to cosmetic medical uses; Analysis of mud samples; Discuss park management and safety issues

Curriculum and assessment:

Material World

AS 90930, AS 90944, AS 91910, AS91911, AS91387

Geothermal Chemistry


The word ‘geothermal’ comes from the Greek and means ‘heat from the earth’. Deep inside the earth heat is released by the decay of radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium. Geothermal systems occur where circulating groundwater is heated and rises as a column of hot water to the surface.

Although a small amount of geothermal water may be derived from gases that were originally dissolved in magmas (molten rocks that are the source of volcanic eruptions and intrusive rocks), most is recycled rainwater. The water descends through faults to considerable depths, and the water is stored in suitably porous and permeable rocks called aquifers.

A variety of chemical reactions occur within geothermal waters. These are mostly associated with interactions between the water and the rock of the chambers in which it is located. Within the waters many other reactions occur, and these typically involve sulfur and / ormetal cations.

Choice of activities

  • Guided Tour of thermal site
  • Qualitative analysis of water from hot pools (samples collected under careful supervision)
  • Quantitative analysis of spa and thermal pool water samples
  • Test gas content of steam from fumaroles
  • Discuss properties of geothermal mud in relation to cosmetic medical uses
  • Analysis of mud samples
  • Discuss park management and safety issues

Curriculum and assessment:

Material World

AS90930       1.1 Carry out a practical chemistry investigation, with direction

AS90944       1.5 Demonstrate understanding of aspects of acids and bases

AS91910       2.1 Carry out quantitative analysis.

AS91911       2.2 Carry out procedures to identify ions present in solution.

AS91387       3.1 Carry out an investigation in chemistry involving quantitative analysis.

Geothermal Chemistry

2020 Prices from

Number of Students
Cost per head

This includes

  • Research, planning, bookings and organisation
  • Facilitation
  • Activities as specified in ininerary
  • Letter to parents
  • RAMS form
  • Gear list
  • A master copy of worksheets
  • Use of specialized equipment
  • GST
  • Saving you a great deal of time and hassle

Not included:

  • Transport (bus, to and from school). Ask us to quote if you don’t have access to your own.
  • Class set of worksheets – it’s more cost effective for you to copy these at school.


Q1. Why do teachers choose to tour with Learning Journeys?

Using an outside provider like Learning Journeys allows you to avoid stress and save time to focus on the core demands of teaching and have more time with your family and friends.
  • Trips are well tried and tested and our local knowledge, New Zealand-wide, is extensive. • We’ll facilitate your trip as well as planning, recce-ing AND booking it (including transport, food and accommodation). Have as much or as little input as you want.
  • Our facilitators are secondary geography or science teachers with years of classroom as well as EOTC experience.
  • Trips are curriculum linked and can include NCEA assessment tasks.
  • RAMS forms, parents letters, gear lists and worksheets developed and provided for you.
  • We’re Qualmarked (Tourism New Zealand has checked us out as a safe, professional, company) and Dept. of Conservation approved.

Q2. Does it cost more for Learning Journeys to organise and run my school's science and geography trips?

Yes it does cost a little more per student. However, you need to factor in the time you'll save by using Learning Journeys. You will also save the cost of relief for staff who would otherwise have come from your school, since Learning Journeys will provide one or more facilitators who will contribute to staff-student ratios.

Q3. What about risk management?

Safety is always paramount in our trip planning and delivery. We are acutely aware of the responsibility of being entrusted with other people’s children. We will provide you with RAMS forms for all activities included in your programme.

Our Health and Safety Plan deals with every aspect of our operations and training. Hazard identification is carried out for every new activity and a RAMS (Risk Analysis and Management System) form is prepared. This process has been audited both by a Department of Conservation approved Safety Auditor and as part of our Qualmark® accreditation

Our teacher-facilitators are trained in safe practice and all have First Aid qualifications. The suppliers we use are fully qualified and experienced in their specialist areas and where available we choose to work with Qualmarked® operators. Their sound safety records are further guaranteed by the Qualmark®, accreditation process.
Qualmark® is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. All accommodation and tourism businesses carrying the Qualmark® have been independently assessed as professional and trustworthy, so you can book and buy with confidence.

Q4. Who are your facilitators?

Our trips are managed and facilitated by qualified science or social science secondary teachers with classroom experience as well as many years’ experience in the field.

Q5. How long have you been running field trips for New Zealand secondary students?

Since 2001. Our oldest client did 12 consecutive yearly 3 day trips to Goat Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Most other schools repeat trips year after year.
Make a booking Contact us
Tour Length
1 day
Years 7 - 11
Thames, Waihi, Coromandel Peninsula
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 35+ students
From $50 incl. GST
Valid until December 2020
Make a booking Contact us