Scientists keep White Island's Dino secret
As state secrets go, this is an enduring one, and the people in the know are not giving it away easily.
The question: who put Dino, the pink dinosaur in front of the White Island web-camera?
"We do know, but we are not saying," volcanologist Michael Rosenberg says.
"I will let it out that he was found in a garage sale."
The alert level was raised on the island yesterday after the crater lake began to re-fill quickly and the number of tremors began to increase.
Dino has been on the volcanic island since May 2004 and Rosenberg swears that it is the same plastic toy.
"I would absolutely love to know who manufactured the thing. It still hasn't perished. It is the same one."
He says it has been a tribute to its material that it is still there.
"It is nasty, you have high levels of UV, you have hydrochloric and sulphuric acids, you have ash and high winds."
In fact when he first appeared he was super glued onto a concrete wall at the old sulphur works, but they collapsed.
So scientists had to move the camera - and Dino.
"It was a bit of a joke and we didn't expect him to stay long."
Every time the alert levels rise on White Island, hundreds check the web camera - and then write to GNS Science asking what the deal is.
When, in 2004, Dino was noticed, GNS was forced to reduce the size of the volcano-cam images on the website.
GNS has received emails from all over the world, some from people who had not heard of New Zealand before. CNN and The New York Times are among a long list of media to have chased the Dino story.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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