Any volcanic crater or “caldera” that is filled with water is called a volcano lake. How could something so beautiful emerge from a natural catastrophe? With the aquamarine to azure waters surrounded by volcanic walls or lush forests, volcano lakes are nothing short of amazing.
Here are some of the most stunning volcano lakes in the world:
Crater Lake, Mount Mazama, Oregon
A volcanic lake in Oregon also happens to be the deepest lake in the United States. Simply named Crater Lake after its geological feature, it has a depth of 594 meters (1,949 feet).
Lake Towada, Honshu Island, Japan
From the deepest, let’s go to the largest. Lake Towada is Japan’s largest crater lake and 12th largest lake overall, lying 400 meters (1,800 feet) above sea level and having a depth of 327 meters (1,073 feet). The lake is found in a caldera of an active volcano, whose last big eruption occurred about 13,000 years ago.
The Quilotoa is the name of both, the crater lake and the westernmost volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes, spanning three kilometers wide. The caldera was formed after the collapse of the volcano due to an eruption, some 800 years ago. The catastrophic eruption caused volcanic flows and lahars that even crept down towards the Pacific Ocean.
Heaven Lake – At the Border of China and North Korea
Located in the Chinese-North Korean border, this gorgeous volcano lake sits on top of the Paektu Mountain. The legendary Lake Tianchi Monster is also alleged to have resided at the lake — sort of like the Loch Ness monster legend. The first reported sighting was in 1903, and the second was in 1962. The last one was in 2007 when a Chinese journalist took pictures of six strange unidentified creatures at the lake, who frolicked and swam until they finally submerged into the water.
Kelimutu Crater Lake, Indonesia
What’s so striking about Kelimutu Volcano is that it boasts three crater lakes on the same peak — not only that, they also have different colors! The Tiwu Ata Bupu (“Lake of Old People”) is mostly blue, the Tiwu Ko’o Nuwa Muri (“Lake of Young Men and Maidens”) is usually green, and the Tiwu Ata Polo (“Enchanted Lake”) changes its color from olive green to even a blood red color. The last two volcanic lakes are divided by one crater wall.
For centuries, the locals believe that the three lakes are the resting place of their ancestors, and the colors of the waters change depending on the mood of their spirits.
Taal Volcano, Philippines
Apologies in advance, but the Taal Volcano will bend your mind if not blow it. In this picture, the rock protruding on the lake’s surface is the Vulcan Point, the remainder of what was once a crater floor is now surrounded by a lake that’s two kilometers (1.2 miles) wide.
The Vulcan Point is often considered as the biggest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island. To clear the confusion, the Vulcan Point is within the crater lake of the Taal Volcano within the Taal Lake on the island of Luzon (the biggest island of the Philippines). Confusing, right? Anyway, this complex volcano (and we really mean a type of volcano) is very much active, with its last eruption in 1977.
Lake Yeak Laom, Cambodia
Lake Yeak Laom is also known as Yak Loum crater lake. This almost-perfectly round, 4,000-year-old crater lake is located in the province of Ratanakiri on the north-easternmost part of Cambodia. It is 157 feet (48 meters) deep, which is quite tremendous for a crater lake. This partly explains why the Yak Loum crater lake is exceptionally clean and clear. It is surrounded by a lush rainforest teeming with many exotic animals, particularly birds. The lake is one of Cambodia’s popular tourist destinations.
Licancabur Crater Lake sits on the summit of the perfectly conical Lincancabur volcano which is located on the border of Chile and Bolivia. This crater lake is one of the highest of its kind in the world, sitting at 19,420 feet (5,920 meters) above sea level. Despite being covered in ice almost all year round, the crater lake is the home to several types of plankton.
Lake Taupo, New Zealand
The biggest lake in New Zealand also happens to be a crater lake, the Lake Taupo, on the summit of the Taupo Volcano on North Island. The lake is believed to have formed about 26,500 years ago. The Taupo Volcano is seen as dormant but experts predict it will spew once more over a few hundred years from now. The lake is also a popular fishing area as it’s stocked with brown trout and rainbow trout.
Listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most dangerous lake (we’ll get to that later), the Lake Nyos is a crater lake in northwestern Cameroon. Even though the volcano is inactive, there is a pocket of magma underneath the lake that seeps carbon dioxide (CO2) into the water, which turns into carbonic acid. Lake Nyos is one of the three known exploding lakes whose water abounds with carbon dioxide.
On August 21, 1986, probably due to a landslide, Lake Nyos suddenly went into an immense CO2 cloud belching. About 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in surrounding towns and villages suffocated from the effects of carbon dioxide. This is the reason why Lake Nyos is known as the most dangerous lake.
Due to the extent of the damage, scientists are still making efforts to de-gas the lake to make it safer.
Aerial Geology is a good read that contains important information regarding North America’s amazing volcanoes, lakes, craters, peaks, canyons, and glaciers. It is something if you want to know more about volcano lakes in detail.