Crater lakes are formed in volcanic craters, also called calderas. After major eruptions groundwater circulation, rain or melted ice fill the craters with water.
Sometimes crater lakes are also referred to as volcanic lakes. Their color depends on the temperature and chemical properties of the water. They may have a beautiful greenish color, but they are extremely acidic, due to a high concentration of acid and volcanic gases in the water. On the other hand, lakes that cover inactive volcanoes have fresh water. The clarity of the water in such lakes is exceptional. It is because no river or streams with sediment deposits flow into the lakes.
A few different things may also cause the formation of crater lakes, including a meteorite or an artificial explosion caused by humans. They are called impact crater lakes and are less common.
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Here are 15 most incredible crater lakes on earth.
1. Kelimutu Crater Lake – Flores Island, Indonesia
Kelimutu volcano consists of three lakes with a varying color. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue. But the other two, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) which are separated by a shared wall have a green and red color.
2. Lake Quilotoa, Ecuador
Lake Quilotoa is the most western crater lake in the Ecuadorian Andes. It was formed after a violent eruption 800 years ago. The crater is about 2 mi wide and 820 ft deep. Lake Quilotoa is situated at 12,841 ft above sea level and has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals.
3. Heaven Lake, Baekdu Mountain – China, North Korea
Heaven lake is one of the most incredible crater lakes on earth. It is situated on top of the volcanic Baekdu Mountain, on the border between China and North Korea. The lake has a surface elevation of 7,182 ft and covers an area of 3,79 sq mi.
4. Lake Pinatubo, Luzon, The Philippines
Back in 1991, a major eruption occurred on the Mount Pinatubo. A large crater was soon filled with water from monsoon rains. Before ’91 explosion, the volcano was dormant for almost 400 years. However, it is believed that a much larger eruption which happened 35,000 years ago is the one responsible for the crater lake.
5. Crater Lake Mount Mazama, Oregon USA
This crater lake is one of the deepest in the Unites States with a depth of 1,949 ft. Being filled solely by falling rain and snow, it’s one of the clearest crater lakes in the world.
6. Okama Crater Lake, Mt. Zao–Honshu, Japan
Because of the constant change in the weather affecting the color of the lake, it is also called “Five Color Pond.” It was formed after the eruption in the 1720 s.
7. Waimangu Volcanic Alley, New Zealand
Waimangu volcanic alley was formed after a big eruption of Mountain Tarawera in 1886. It now boils and steams with various geysers and vents, releasing sulphuric vapor into the air. It is one of the most weird and wonderful ecosystems in the nation and one of the most visited spots in New Zealand.
8. Viti Geothermal Crater Lake, Askja – Iceland
Viti crater lake is situated in Iceland’s remote central highlands. The name Askja refers to the calderas found in this area. The lake behind the crater is called Oskjuvatn, formed after a very large eruption in 1875. As the second deepest lake in Iceland, the lake and surrounding craters are frozen most of the year.
9. Lake Guatavita, Colombia
No one knows for sure how the lake was formed. It looks like a meteor crater, but its origin is still unclear. The lake is steeped in legends and myths, including that a ritual conducted there is widely thought to be the basis for the legend of El Dorado.
10. La Cumbre Crater Lake, Galapagos
This photograph was taken by the astronauts from the International Space Station in 2002. Since then the crater has changed a lot. Today La Cumbre is one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos.
11. Rano Kau, Easter Islands, Chile
Rano Kau is one of very few natural bodies filled with fresh water. This extinct volcano was formed by basaltic lava and has some of the oldest rocks, dating from 210,000 years ago.
12. Irazu Crater Lake, Costa Rica
The first eruption of Irazu happened in 1723. After that it erupted over 20 times. It is Costa Rica’s highest active volcano although it is has been dormant since 1965. There are several craters at Irazu, one of which has a beautiful green color.
13. Katmai Crater Lake, Alaska
Katmai crater lake was formed after the Novarupta eruption in 1912. The elevation of the lake surface reaches a maximum height of 4,220 ft.
14. Whakaari Crater Lake, New Zealand
Whakaari is a living volcano that can erupt at any time. It stands right where the two plates collide: the Pacific and Indian-Australian plate. The altitude of the boiling caldera is very close to the sea level. Daring visitors can reach the volcano easily, without much effort.
15. Lonar Crater Lake, India
Lonar lake is a saline soda lake located at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra, India. It was created by a meteor impact about 50,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene Epoch.