This week’s mega short-story challenge

This week’s writing challenge revolves around a photo I took of Lake Taupo, in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island.

Use the photo to inspire a 150-200 word super-short story – a proper one, with beginning, middle, end and punchline (all super-short stories gotta have a punchline) – and post it on your blog, with the prompt photo and a link back to this blog for others to pick up and join in the fun. of course the story can be about anything.

Lake Taupo, central North Island, New Zealand, 2015.
Lake Taupo, central North Island, New Zealand, 2015.

The thing about this lake is that it’s actually a caldera. Taupo volcano is one of the world’s biggest – a supervolcano on the same scale as Yellowstone or Toba. It’s been active for the last 300,000 years, and the current lake was formed about 26,000 years ago when the volcano “blew” with apocalyptic effects not just on New Zealand – but the world. There is good evidence that this ‘Oruanui’ eruption precipitated our planet into a new ice age.

Taupo went on to erupt a further 26 times until the last explosion, 1800 years ago, which turned Roman sunset skies orange.

Will Taupo blow again? You betcha. US author Piper Bayard envisaged just that happening as the setting for her post-apocalyptic novel Firelands.

So should I be worried standing on the edge like this…? New Zealand’s seismologists are monitoring it and there’s apparently no danger this week. Next week? Who knows…

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015


9 thoughts on “This week’s mega short-story challenge

  1. I find participating in photo prompts like this difficult because I can’t see the photo, but it sounds interesting and I could try with the description you give here. Anything involving NZ is inspiration enough.

    1. Great story! Yep, two this week. It’s kind of funny, most of my posts get quite a few hits, and my story challenges get plenty of reads. But hardly anybody actually joins the fun on those ones…

        1. I certainly hope so!:-) I meant to add, Rotokawa is a curious lake – I wasn’t far from it a few weeks back. It’s the rump of the old Lake Huka, which was the caldera before the VEI 8 Oruanui eruption of c26,000 years ago. The blast threw around 2000 cubic kilometres of stuff out, much of it skywards, destroyed the old lake and blew out a new one, just to the south of it, then changed the course of the Waikato river. Oh, and triggered a world climate catastrophe and ice age. Just saying. Not that there’s one due now. Well, not really. A bit…

          There’s a paper on it here: – Lake Huka map p. 527. The other map, p. 532 uses the exact same 3d texture from a NZ mapping company that I used in one of my books on the NZ Wars…

          1. Yeah, that’s petty interesting stuff. I knew there are other super-volcanoes beside Yellowstone. I just didn’t know where. Now I know of another one. Super-volcanoes aren’t talked about much, but they are true monsters. Just one erupting can change the climate of the whole planet. Mind-blowing stuff that isn’t science fiction, it;s science fact. I didn’t know where to gowith with a story for the prompt and then I did some research. I learned our most recent ice age was caused by the Oruanui eruption. I wanted a site for an extremeophile and Rotokawa fit the bill. It’s funny how I can have a blank for a story, but research produces one.

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