Congrats! You’ve correctly guessed my chosen MW!
As stated in the OP, you’ll become the GM for the next round.
It’s time to provide the decryption method to you all and a short story about how I chose the MW for my round.
I used the online tool provided by @SeekerSupreme in the OP with the following settings:
Mode: ECB (electronic codebook)
Encrypted Mystery Word: t+xE+gs554ZH5KbH32ALLKLsvlbj8LhFKPVGkygseKc=
Decrypting it will give you the following: sinkhole
If you follow all of that, you’ll get the same result.
When I found out I was chosen to host Round #1 of this thread, I immediately began to think of a couple of words to pick my Mystery Word from. In the end, I had decided on five words (though I can’t recall what 3 of them were atm) and put them into random.org’s List Randomizer. Two of these words were donut and sinkhole. Whichever word ended on the first slot when randomized would be the one I’d choose for my round. I didn’t expect it to end up on the first slot and now we’re here.
As for the certain website, like many of Professor Layton’s puzzles, the answer was hidden in plain sight. The only place where I could find sinkholes listed as a Natural Disaster was on Wikipedia (some of the cases from the List of Sinkholes page also had them listed/tagged as such). Not only that, but the MW is sandwiched between two of the things that had been discussed in this thread:
- The guess made by @Pylinaer , which was Avalanche
- The question made by @YQMaoski, which was “Is it a volcanic eruption?”
Going by how geological disasters (the type/category of natural disaster the MW and the aforementioned belong to) are grouped there, there were only 2-3 guesses left that could be made to reach the correct answer. I wasn’t just making a pun when I said you were getting warmer, haha.
And finally, one last look at all the questions you made before my GM role is over. I can finally answer them in full:
Questions with answers
- It’s not a living thing that can die
It goes without saying.
I doubt you’d want to stick around long enough to touch it, unless it’s not too severe or you’re a worker who has to help fill it back up.
- It’s not something you have in your house
Of course you wouldn’t have it in your house. It’d be under your house or anywhere else underground for that matter. If it became big enough to do some serious damage to your house that you can see an actual hole/pit swallowing everything up, you probably wouldn’t even be here.
- It can’t be carried by a person
Not unless you’re a cartoon character, haha.
- It can either be made by man or nature
As stated on the National Geographic website:
Sinkholes have both natural and human causes. Land made of a soft underground rock layer, such as rock salt around the Dead Sea or limestone in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, are often riddled with sinkholes, since the rock layer is easily dissolved.
Manmade sinkholes are created when city development compromises the structural integrity of underlying rock. Roads, buildings, and other types of construction may cause water to collect in certain areas and wash away the supporting rock layer (especially at low sea levels and after a heavy rainfall).
There are various sounds that can indicate sinkhole activity.
- It’s not used to make other things (ie. a machine, etc.)
You can’t use it to make/create things; it only brings unwanted destruction.
- A model of it can be made in a laboratory
A small yet very detailed model of it can be made in a lab. You can also make one yourself at home if you know what you’re doing too. Not too surprising since there’s plenty of science projects based around natural disasters.
- It’s registered/listed as a natural disaster on a certain website
As stated earlier in this post, sinkholes are registered/listed as a natural disaster on Wikipedia’s Natural disaster page.
- Once its occurred, it can either end quickly or take a long time to do so
It’s stated in various sources that the expansion of a sinkhole can last from a couple of minutes to hours or worse case scenario, several days.
- It’s not a volcanic eruption
Your typical sinkhole doesn’t involve volcanic eruptions. On the other hand, if the MW had been caldera (which is classified as a type of sinkhole, apparently; I just found this out) it would be the by-product of a volcanic eruption.
Hope you all enjoyed my round; it was fun while it lasted. I can’t wait to see what kinds of Mystery Words will be chosen in the future.