'I've got to get out of here': Rotorua mud pool alarms local residents

A Rotorua resident awoke to what she thought was a rumbling earthquake - but was, in fact, an erupting mud pool in her backyard.

The violent mud pool erupted in a residential backyard in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

Resident Susan Gedye has taken her two children to stay with family while Rotorua's newest natural attraction is being assessed.

"I got woken up at about 2am with shaking and jolting, thinking it was an earthquake. It lasted about 3 minutes, and I thought 'oh, something's not right here'," Gedye told Newshub.

Gedye says she went to the kitchen to see mud splattered over the windows and a jet of steam coming from a hole outside.

"I kind of panicked a little bit and thought 'gosh I've got to get out of here'," she said.

"There's a sinkhole under the kitchen and the house could subside at any time."

She packed up some things and took her children with her to her father's house after reporting it to the council.

"What you're seeing is the steam coming out through the ground and forcing the mud up over the lip," Rotorua Lakes Council geothermal safety officer, Peter Brownbridge, told Newshub.

The mud pool is on a faultline, just a stone's throw from a geothermal tourist attraction.

Brownbridge says a similar event in the area most recently occurred in 2016.

"It was ten weeks between starting and stopping, it's just got to wait for mother nature to sort out when she's finished," says Brownbridge.

At about six metres long and two metres wide, it has more than doubled in size in as many days.

GNS says the mud spurting out of the cavity will be at a temperature of up to 90 degrees.

The attraction is likely to stick around.

"It'll cool down, slow down and go away after two or three weeks to a month; it'll establish itself as a permanent feature, in which case it'll stay there forever; or activity could increase, which is the least likely possibility," says GNS scientist Brad Scott.

It's been fenced off in the meantime, with a close eye being kept on power lines overhead and a nearby shed which could become a casualty.

"You're used to seeing this type of geothermal activity, just not this close to home," says Gedye.

It's not known if the landlord has insurance, but Susan Gedye says she won't be returning to her rental.

"Mother nature at its finest."