42 of the World’s Most Beautiful Crater Lakes

December 22nd, 2012 Permalink

If you approached the rim of a volcano and looked down into it, you might expect to see a lava pool, but if the volcano previously erupted and then the top of it collapsed into a huge bowl-shaped crater, or caldera, then what you might see when you peer over the rim is a beautiful crater lake. Sometimes the water is acidic and the lake has a bright greenish hue. Other times the water is a cloudy turquoise color, yet other times the lake may appear to be a very deep shade of blue. Crater Lake, Oregon, is one of the most well known, but crater lakes can be found all over the globe. If the volcano has been dormant for a long time, the water can be extremely clear because no river or streams flow into with sediment deposits. In some cases, water may have filled up an impact crater to form a lake, but this is less common. A few crater lakes were created by man via an atomic blast, but an artificially-created crater lake is the least common of all. All crater lakes were once a place where the earth experienced great violence, but now are a place of great beauty . . . even though the volcano can become active and violent again. Here are 44 photos of 42 of the world’s most beautiful crater lakes. [44 Photos]

Lake Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the westernmost volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes

Lake Quilotoa is a water-filled caldera and the western most volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The crater is about 2 miles wide and the lake is about 820 feet deep. It is tinted green by dissolved minerals. Photo #1 by Kevin Labianco

Deepest crater lake in the Uintas Mountains of Utah

Deepest crater lake in the Uintas Mountains of Utah. Photo #2 by Cordell Mandersen


Monsoon rains filled the crater lake, Lake Pinatubo in the Philippines

Lake Pinatubo, Philippines, formed after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo has filled with water from monsoon rains. At 800 m (2,600 ft), it is the deepest lake in the Philippines. Photo #3 by monggoy

Crater Lake at the Mouth of Taal Volcano in Luzon, Philippines

Lake Pinatubo is not the only such lake in the Philippines. This is the Crater Lake at the Mouth of Taal Volcano in Luzon. Photo #4 by Deck Chua

The Okama Crater Lake at Mount Zaō, Japan

The Okama Crater Lake at Mount Zaō, Japan. According to Wikipedia, it is “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 meters (1,200 ft) in diameter and 60 m (200 ft) deep, and is one of the main tourist attractions in the area.” Photo #5 by Laurenz Bobke

Lake Marjorie, Kings Canyon National Park

Lake Marjorie, Kings Canyon National Park. The photographer wrote, “Lakes in the High Sierra come in a number of colors. Lake Marjorie, at 11,132′ has an aquamarine ‘swimming pool’ tint. Crater Mountain dominates the skyline, with Pinchot Pass to the south. I was happy to see clouds at dawn, but by noon a fast moving storm was spitting hail, thunder, and lightning as we cleared Mather Pass. Damn, this spot is gorgeous.” Photo #6 by Steve Dunleavy

'An Infernal Bath', New Zealand, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Inferno Crater Lake

‘An Infernal Bath’, New Zealand, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Inferno Crater Lake. Photo #7 by Christopher Schoenbohm

Celestial Equator over Patagonia crater lake

154 square miles (400 sq kms) of volcanic area called Devil’s Slope, Argentina, is home to the world’s largest crater field. The Bajada del Diablo field is pocked with at least 100 depressions left by meteorite or comet collisions about 130,000 to 780,000 years ago. After capturing this image of a crater lake there, the photographer wrote, “The Celestial Equator: At the Celestial equator the stars are almost at the same distance from both celestial poles so they seem to travel in a straight line. The South Celestial pole is towards the top left of the photo. The North Celestial pole is below the horizon towards the bottom-right.” Photo #8 by Luis Argerich

Panoramic photo of Kerið crater lake, Iceland

Iceland, Klausturhólar- Kerið, a volcanic crater lake in the southwestern part of Iceland, “is approximately 55 m (180 ft) deep, 170 m (560 ft) wide, and 270 m (890 ft) across. Kerið’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.” Photo #9 by Progresschrome

Ljótipollur, Landmannalaugar

Also in Iceland is Ljótipollur, Landmannalaugar. “The Ljótipollur is an explosion crater in Iceland in the Landmannalaugar area. Ljótipollur means something like Ugly modderpot, but it has really nice red colored walls and is filled with greenish water that contains many trout. A short side road from the intersection of the Fjallabaksleið and Landmannaleið leads to the top.” Photo #10 by µµ

White Island Crater Lake

Whakaari/White Island Crater Lake in New Zealand. Photo #11 by x-oph

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, Crater Lake and Wizard Island

Top: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, panorama. Bottom: Crater lake, Wizard Island. Photo #12 by Curtis Perry & #13 by Tim Hamilton

Lago Biao, Crater Lake

Lago Biao. “Wow. It was worth the 2+ hour uphill hike to this crater lake, which is at about 2000m elevation and situated in the southern half of the island of Bioko.” Photo #14 by John and Melanie (Illingworth) Kotsopoulos

Lonar Crater Lake at Aurangabad, India

Lonar Crater Lake at Aurangabad, India. Lonar crater lake was formed by a meteor strike about 50,000 years ago. Photo #15 by Akshay Charegaonkar

Kelimutu Colored Lakes - Komodo, Indonesia

Kelimutu Colored Lakes – Komodo, Indonesia. Home to Komodo National Park: Where Dragons Still Rule. Photo #16 by whl.travel

Mt.Shirane, crater lake in Japan

Mt. Shirane, crater lake in Japan. Photo #17 by digicacy

La Cumbre volcano, Fernandina Island, Galapagos

La Cumbre volcano, Fernandina Island, Galapagos. To illustrate how quickly a crater lake can change, this was photographed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station in 2002. But this crater lake has returned to its explosive beginnings. Wikipedia stated that it began erupting again in April 2009. It’s now the most active volcano of the Galapagos Islands. Photo #18 by ISS / NASA

Maly Semiachik volcano - crater lake. Kamchatka Peninsula, Far East Russia. Pale blue water fills the lake. The colour may be due to fine silica particles

Maly Semiachik volcano – crater lake. Kamchatka Peninsula, Far East Russia. “Pale blue water fills the lake. The color may be due to fine silica particles.” Russia has several crater lakes, including two that are artificial since they were created by atomic testing. Photo #19 by MOBmole

Deriba Crater Lake at Jebel Marra – Darfur, Sudan

Deriba Crater Lake at Jebel Marra – Darfur, Sudan. “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.” Photo #20 by J Williams

The Hnausapollur Bláhylur lake in a deep, volcanic crater

The Hnausapollur Bláhylur lake in a deep, volcanic crater. Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland. Photo #21 by Michał Sacharewicz

Gunug Rinjani Summit, crater lake

“After 3 hours of painstaking clambering up loose scree, I could see the whole of Lomok a volcanic island. The triangle shadow on the horizon is the shadow of Rinjani herself at sunrise. To the right of the shadow on the horizon is Bali again (very small). In the middle of the crater (which measures 20Km across) is the newer Gunug Baru on the lake (Danau Segara Anak),” wrote the photographer. Photo #22 by NeilsPhotography

Rano Kau has a crater lake which is one of Easter Island's only three natural bodies of fresh water

Rano Kau is a crater lake which is on mysterious and hauntingly beautiful Easter Island. This lake is one of only three natural bodies of fresh water on the island. Photo #23 by Eduardo Llanquileo

Askja, Iceland. View of Viti and Öskjuvatn

Askja, Iceland. View of Viti and Öskjuvatn. Photo #24 by Lev Glick

Lake Toba, North Sumatra, World's Largest Caldera Lake & the Site of the Toba Supervolcano that created the Ice Age

Lake Toba, North Sumatra, World’s Largest Caldera Lake & the Site of the Toba Supervolcano that created the Ice Age. It is “the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world.” Photo #25 by Desktop Nexus

In Indonesia, Lake Segara Anak, Mount Rinjani, Lombok

In Indonesia, Lake Segara Anak, Mount Rinjani, Lombok. Photo #26 by Thorsten Peters

Out of this world, surreal night at Ijen komplex crater

Out of this World: “I took this picture inside the crater of the Ijen komplex. I spent nearly the whole night in this unreal and beautiful place to shoot timelapse sequences for my new short,” noted the photographer. Photo #27 by Dennis Stauffer

View of the Tengger caldera crater from Penanjakan

View of the Tengger caldera crater from Penanjakan. Photo #28 by NeilsPhotography

Laguna Cuicocha in Ecuador

Laguna Cuicocha in Ecuador. The photographer explained, “Cuicocha is a three kilometre (1.9-mile) wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Ecuadorian Andes. Its name comes from the Kichwa Indigenous language and signifies: “Lago del Cuye” or Guinea Pig Laguna in English. It was given this name due to the shape of the largest Island located in the middle of the Laguna resembling a Guinea Pig.” Photo #29 by Kevin Labianco

Laguna de Guatavita in Columbia, crater lake

Laguna de Guatavita in Columbia is a crater lake that no one knows for sure how it was formed. “It is a circular lake in the mountains in what appears to be a meteor crater. However, the origins of the crater are 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.” Photo #30 by See Columbia

Aoba, also known as Ambae or Leper's Island, is an island in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu

Two crater lakes on Ambae island, Vanuatu, 3D image acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard Endeavour Shuttle. Photo #31 by NASA/JPL/NGA

Blue Lake, Mount Gambier, Australia

Blue Lake, Mount Gambier, Australia. Photo #32 by Mike Lehmann

Crater Lake at Irazu Volcano in Costa Rica

Crater Lake at Irazu Volcano in Costa Rica. Photo #33 by Rafael Golan

Kasatochi Island crater lake

Kasatochi Island crater lake in Alaska as seen prior to the eruption of August 7, 2008. Yet another example of how a beautiful crater lake that began with mass devastation and violence and seem peaceful, safe and lovely before the geology changes and it returns to the earth’s cycle of violence. Photo #34 by Brie Drummond

Lake Maninjau' is a crater lake in West Sumatra, Indonesia

Lake Maninjau’ is a crater lake in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo #35 by Indi and Rani Soemardjan

Katmai Crater - Mount Katmai, Alaska

Katmai Crater on Mount Katmai, Alaska. Photo #36 by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps

Winter Evening at Mount Ruapehu’s Crater Lake, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Winter Evening at Mount Ruapehu’s Crater Lake, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. Photo #37 by myheimu

Crater Heaven's Lake in China

Heaven Lake, a crater lake at Tianchi at the border of China and North Korea. Photo #38 by Globe Images

Arctic Volcanic Crater Lake

Arctic Volcanic Crater Lake. Photo #39 by High Definition Wallpapers

Pingualuit Crater

The Pingualuit Crater is an impact crater filled with water. Photo #40 by Denis Sarrazin / NASA / Earth Observatory

Lake Bullen Merri is a brackish crater lake near Camperdown in Victoria, Australia

Lake Bullen Merri is a brackish crater lake near Camperdown in Victoria, Australia. Photo #41 by AJG061

Niuafoʻou Island, Tonga, from space

Niuafoʻou Island, Tonga, from space. Photo #42 by NASA / ISS

Phantom II fighter flies over Crater Lake, Oregon

A U.S. Air Force McDonnell F-4D-25-MC Phantom II fighter (s/n 64-0956, c/n 1383) form the 119th Fighter Wing The Happy Hooligans, North Dakota Air National Guard, flies over Crater Lake, Oregon (USA). The gorgeous crater lake remains, but the aircraft has since been retired. USAF Photo #43 by Larry Harrington

Aerial view of Aogashima, a volcanic Japanese island

Small bodies of water inside a huge crater as seen in this aerial view of Aogashima, a volcanic Japanese island. In time, who knows? This entire island may eventually fill with water and become a crater lake. Photo #44 by imgur via Wikipedia


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