When good lakes go bad
Crater Lakes are an extremely rare phenomenon and many of them have caused a lot of death and heartache over the years.
Let’s define a ‘crater lake’. A cap of meteoric water covering the main vent of a volcano. The rainwater which falls in the area above the main vent of the volcano, is evaporated by heat and the quickly condenses, forming a lake. Volcanic lakes often have Sulphur floating on their surface.
One of the biggest disasters regarding a Crater Lake was the incident at Lake Nyos, Cameroon. In 1986 there was a massive release of Cardon Monoxide which killed more than 2000 people. Shortly after this eruption, the lake turned bright orange in color for a few months.
The most photographed crater lake series in the world is ‘Tiwo Nua Muri Koohi Fah’ which is located atop the Keli Mutu Volcano, in Flores, Indonesia. The series of these crater lakes mean ‘the lake of young men and maidens’. This is a very interesting area, as there are three crater lakes all in a very small area, two of which are connected. All have a different color and pH.
Lake Taal is situated in the caldera of the Taal volcano in the Philippines. It almost fills the 18-mile diameter of the caldera, but what is unusual is that it contains a small island, which itself has a crater lake. It last erupted in 1965, causing large explosion craters to form around its base.
Laguna Calientes, as known by the locals, is one of only two crater lakes in Costa Rica, and they both sit atop the same volcano: Poas. It has erupted 39 times since 1828,and is constant source of mild volcanic activity. The lakes are incredible acidic, with a pH that is less that one.
Ruapehu or ‘weeping waters’ located in New Zealand was a major disaster, when a lahar from the volcano swept a train off its tracks, killing around 170 people. It erupts frequently with the large major eruption occurring in 1999.
Crater lakes have certain features, which mean they can be classified. The 6 classifications are: Hot-acid hyperbrine, acid-brine, acid-saline, bicarbonate, acid-sulphate and neutral-dilute. The most dangerous are the hot-acid hyperbrine lakes, where the geothermal and volcanic activity is so great that no stable state can ever achieved by the lake. Neutral-dilute lakes have no volcanic or geo thermal input, and are therefore safe.
A lake, which goes by the name of ‘Crater Lake’ and is located atop Mount Mazama, Oregon, is one of the few crater lakes in the USA and due to its neutral-dilute status, is one of the world’s largest fresh water sources.
Most of the world’s crater lakes are found in Indonesia, which makes sense as Indonesia also have more volcanoes than any other country in the world.
There are many volcanoes in the Caribbean that are named ‘Soufriere’. Only one of the ‘Soufriere’ volcanoes has a crater lake and that is in St.Vincent. The most serious eruption was in 1902, killed more than 1600 people.
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