15 of the Most Beautiful Crater Lakes in the World
A crater lake is a lake that forms in a volcanic crater or caldera, such as a maar; less commonly and with lower association to the term a lake may form in an impact crater caused by a meteorite, or in an artificial explosion caused by humans.
Sometimes lakes which form inside calderas are called caldera lakes, but often this distinction is not made. Crater lakes covering active (fumarolic) volcanic vents are sometimes known as volcanic lakes, and the water within them is often acidic, saturated with volcanic gases, and cloudy with a strong greenish color. Lakes located in dormant or extinct volcanoes tend to have fresh water, and the water clarity in such lakes can be exceptional due to the lack of inflowing streams and sediment.
Crater lakes form as precipitation within the rim fills the created depression. The water level rises until an equilibrium is reached between the rate of incoming and outgoing water. Sources of water loss singly or together, may include evaporation, subsurface seepage, and in places, surface leakage or overflow when the lake level reaches the lowest point on its rim. [Source: Wikipedia]
Below you will find a gallery of some of the most beautiful looking crater lakes in the world. Knowing these were all created and formed by volcanoes only adds to their mystique. Enjoy!
1. Crater Lake, Mount Mazama – Oregon, USA
A well-known crater lake, which bears the same name as the geological feature, is Crater Lake in Oregon, USA. It is located in the caldera of Mount Mazama. It is the deepest lake in the United States with a depth of 594 m (1,949 ft). Crater Lake is fed solely by falling rain and snow, with no inflow or outflow at the surface, and hence is one of the clearest lakes in the world. [Source]
2. Quilotoa Crater Lake – Ecuador
Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3 kilometres (2 mi) wide caldera was formed by the collapse of this dacite volcano following a catastrophic VEI-6 eruption about 800 years ago, which produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean, and spread an airborne deposit of volcanic ash throughout the northern Andes. The caldera has since accumulated a 250 m (820 ft) deep crater lake, which has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals. Fumaroles are found on the lake floor and hot springs occur on the eastern flank of the volcano. [Source]
3. Crater Lakes in the Albertine Rift – Africa
In a region bursting with people, a few big open spaces remain—like the Rift floor in Queen Elizabeth Park, pocked with crater lakes formed by volcanic explosions. If protected areas hadn’t been set aside in the Albertine Rift from the 1920s to the 1960s, conservationists doubt any large wilderness areas would exist today. [Source]
The Western Rift, also called the Albertine Rift, is edged by some of the highest mountains in Africa, including the Virunga Mountains, Mitumba Mountains, and Ruwenzori Range. It contains the Rift Valley lakes, which include some of the deepest lakes in the world (up to 1,470 metres (4,800 ft) deep at Lake Tanganyika). Much of this area lies within the boundaries of national parks such as Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Lake Victoria is considered to be part of the rift valley system although it actually lies between the two branches. All of the African Great Lakes were formed as the result of the rift, and most lie within its rift valley. [Source]
4. Kelimutu Crater Lake – Flores Island, Indonesia
Kelimutu volcano contains three striking summit crater lakes of varying colors. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue and is the westernmost of the three lakes. The other two lakes, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) are separated by a shared crater wall and are typically green or red respectively. Kelimutu is of interest to geologists because the three lakes are different colors yet are at the crest of the same volcano. [Source]
5. Crater Lake, Mount Pinabuto – Luzon, Philippines
Lake Pinatubo is the summit crater lake of Mount Pinatubo formed after its climactic eruption on June 15, 1991. The lake is located near the boundaries of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales provinces in the Philippines and is the deepest lake in the country at 800 m (2,600 ft). It is about 90 km (56 mi) northwest of the capital city of Manila. [Source]
6. Crater Lake (Okama), Mt. Zao – Honshu, Japan
Mount Zao is a complex volcano on the border between Yamagata Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture in Japan. It consists of a cluster of stratovolcanoes and is the most active volcano in northern Honsh?. The central volcano of the group includes several lava domes and a tuff cone, Goshiki-dake, which contains a crater lake named Okama. Also known as the ‘Five Color Pond’ because it changes color depending on the weather, it lies in a crater formed by a volcanic eruption in the 1720s. The lake is 360 metres (1,200 ft) in diameter and 60 m (200 ft) deep, and is one of the main tourist attractions in the area. [Source]
7. Crater Lake, Mount Katmai – Alaska, USA
Mount Katmai is a large stratovolcano (composite volcano) on the Alaska Peninsula in southern Alaska, located within Katmai National Park and Preserve. It is about 6.3 miles (10 km) in diameter with a central lake-filled caldera about 3 by 2 mi (4.5 by 3 km) in area, formed during the Novarupta eruption of 1912. The caldera rim reaches a maximum elevation of 6,716 feet (2,047 m). In 1975 the surface of the crater lake was at an elevation of about 4,220 feet (1,286 m), and the estimated elevation of the caldera floor is about 3,400 ft (1,040 m). The mountain is located in Kodiak Island Borough, very close to its border with Lake and Peninsula Borough. [Source]
8. Vulcan Point within Crater Lake, Taal Volcano – Luzon, Philippines
Taal Volcano is a complex volcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Historical eruptions are concentrated on Volcano Island, an island near the middle of Lake Taal. The lake partially fills Taal Caldera, which was formed by powerful prehistoric eruptions between 140,000 to 5,380 BP. Viewed from Tagaytay Ridge, Taal Volcano and Lake presents one of the most picturesque and attractive views in the Philippines. It is located about 50 km (31 mi) south of the capital of the country, the city of Manila.
One large rock, now called Vulcan Point that projects from the surface of the crater lake was the remnant of the old crater floor that is now surrounded by the 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide lake, now referred to as the Main Crater Lake. Vulcan Point is cited as the world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island, i.e., Vulcan Point within Crater Lake, on Taal Island within Lake Taal, on the island of Luzon. [Source]
9. Deriba Crater Lake, Jebel Marra – Darfur, Sudan
Deriba Crater is at the highest point of Jebel Marra at an elevation of 3,042 m (9,980 ft), in Darfur in the western part of Sudan. The caldera rim became Sudan’s new highest point, after the independence of South Sudan. It is between 5 km and 8 km in diameter across the outer crater. The inner crater is filled by a crater lake. The 5-kilometer-wide Deriba Caldera was formed by explosive eruption of the Jebel Marra Volcano approximately 3,500 years ago. The volcano is considered dormant, rather than extinct, as hot springs and fumaroles (gas and steam vents) are still present. [Source]
10. Crater Lake, Mount Ruapehu – New Zealand
Mount Ruapehu, or just Ruapehu, is an active stratovolcano at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand. It is 23 kilometres northeast of Ohakune and 40 kilometres southwest of the southern shore of Lake Taupo, within Tongariro National Park. The North Island’s major skifields and only glaciers are on its slopes.
Ruapehu is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the largest active volcano in New Zealand. It is the highest point in the North Island and includes three major peaks: Tahurangi (2,797 m), Te Heuheu (2,755 m) and Paretetaitonga (2,751 m). The deep, active crater is between the peaks and fills with a crater lake between major eruptions. [Source]
11.Yak Loum Crater Lake – Ratanakiri, Cambodia
Yak Loum is a lake and a popular tourist destination in the Ratanakiri province of northeastern Cambodia. Located approximately 3 miles (5 km) from the provincial capital, Banlung, the beautiful lake occupies a 4,000-year-old volcanic crater. Due to the lake’s tremendous depth (157 ft or 48 m), its water is exceptionally clean and clear. The lake is almost perfectly round and measures 0.45 miles (0.72 km) in diameter. Large trees and rich, lush rain forest, the home of many exotic birds and parrots, surround the lake. [Source]
12. Kerid Crater Lake, Iceland
Kerid is a volcanic crater lake located in the Grímsnes area in south Iceland, on the popular tourist route known as the Golden Circle. It is one of several crater lakes in the area, known as Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone, which includes the Reykjanes peninsula and the Langjökull Glacier, created as the land moved over a localized hotspot, but it is the one that has the most visually recognizable caldera still intact.
The caldera, like the other volcanic rock in the area, is composed of a red (rather than black) volcanic rock. The caldera itself is approximately 55 m (180 ft) deep, 170 m (560 ft) wide, and 270 m (890 ft) across. Kerid’s caldera is one of the three most recognizable volcanic craters because at approximately 3,000 years old, it is only half the age of most of the surrounding volcanic features. While most of the crater is steep-walled with little vegetation, one wall is sloped more gently and blanketed with a deep moss, and can be descended fairly easily. The lake itself is fairly shallow (7–14 metres, depending on rainfall and other factors), but due to minerals from the soil, is an opaque and strikingly vivid aquamarine. [Source]
13. Crater Lake, Licancabur – Chile
Licancabur is a highly symmetrical stratovolcano on the southernmost part of the border between Chile and Bolivia. It is located just southwest of Laguna Verde in Bolivia. The volcano dominates the landscape of the Salar de Atacama area. The lower two thirds of the northeastern slope of the volcano belong to Bolivia, 5,400 m (17,717 ft) from the foot at 4,360 m (14,304 ft), while the rest and biggest part, including the higher third of the northeastern slope, the crater and summit, belong to Chile.
The summit and the crater are located entirely in Chile, slightly over 1 km (3,281 ft) to the south west of the international borders, it is about 400 m (1,312 ft) wide and contains a 70 m (230 ft) by 90 m (295 ft) crater lake, Licancabur Lake, which is ice-covered most of the year. This is one of the highest lakes in the world, and despite air temperatures which can drop to -30 °C, it contains planktonic fauna. [Source]
14. Viti Geothermal Crater Lake, Askja – Iceland
Askja is a stratovolcano situated in a remote part of the central highlands of Iceland. The name Askja refers to a complex of nested calderas within the surrounding Dyngjufjoll mountains, which rise to 1,510 m (4,954 ft), askja meaning box or caldera in Icelandic. The region is only accessible for a few months of the year. Being situated in the rain-shadow to the NE of the Vatnajökull icecap, the area receives only about 450 mm of rainfall annually. The area was used during training for the Apollo program to prepare astronauts for the lunar missions, their main objective in Askja was to study geology.
Oskjuvatn is a large lake that fills much of the smaller caldera resulting from the 1875 eruption. Its surface lies about 50 m below the level of the main crater floor and covers about 12 km². When the lake originally formed it was warm, but today it is frozen over for most of the year. Oskjuvatn is the second deepest lake in Iceland at 220 m deep. Viti is a smaller explosion crater on the north east shore of Oskjuvatn, approximately 150 metres diameter. It contains a geothermal lake of mineral-rich, sulphurous, opaque blue water. [Source]
15. Heaven Lake, Baekdu Mountain – China, North Korea
Heaven Lake is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcanic Baekdu Mountain, a part of the Baekdudaegan mountain range and the Changbai mountain range. It is located partly in Ryanggang Province, North Korea, at 42.006°N 128.057°E, and partly in Jilin Province, northeastern China.
The caldera which contains Heaven Lake was created by a major eruption in 969 CE (± 20 years). The lake has a surface elevation of 2,189.1 m (7,182 ft). The lake covers an area of 9.82 km² (3.79 sq mi) with a south-north length of 4.85 km (3.01 mi) and east-west length of 3.35 kilometres (2.08 mi). The average depth of the lake is 213 m (699 ft) and maximum depth of 384 m (1,260 ft). From mid-October to mid-June, it is typically covered with ice. [Source]
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