The planet is home to some of the most amazing natural wonders – shaped by Mother Earth over millions of years. Yet few natural formations are as close to the heart of the planet and undergo such vibrant changes as crater lakes. Being connected with the inner regions of the Earth, these lakes can contract, expand, appear and vanish all in the geological blink of an eye.
While popular belief is that crater lakes are formed after water fills up meteorite impact craters, very few such lakes actually exist. Most of them are formed in volcanic craters – but all offer spectacular sights for sore eyes!
Fascinating, spectacular, stunning and at times deadly, this is a trip into the extraordinary world of crater lakes.
12. Lake Atitlán
Known as one of the most beautiful and picturesque lakes on the planet, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala has a long geological and cultural history. Though its depths have not been completely explored even today, the lake is the deepest in Central America, going down to 340 meters at some points. The enormous caldera that is home to Lake Atitlan was formed 84,000 years ago due to volcanic activity, and the region is still known as a hotbed for volcanoes.
Maya culture is predominant in this region and the lake is one of the main reasons for the vast settlements since the Mayan culture started to take shape here. Mayan sites such as Sambaj and Chiutinamit – and even underwater cities – are being excavated around Lake Atitlan. The beautiful lake has borne witness to volcanic activity, civil war and deadly landslides, yet its scenic panorama attracts tourists from all across the globe.
11. Lake Taupo
With a perimeter of 193 kilometers, a deepest point of 186 meters and a surface area of 616 square kilometers, Lake Taupo is arguably the most famous crater lake on the planet. Drained by the Waikato River, it is the largest freshwater lake in Australasia and attracts over 1.5 million tourists each year with its vast magnificence, breathtaking sights and the sheer joy of basking in its calm tranquility. Lake Taupo is located in the North Island of New Zealand and was formed by a volcanic eruption around 27,000 years ago.
The lake offers a cool and soothing retreat for both locals and tourists in the summer season, with weather that is moderate. Grand and still bubbling with geothermal activity in its depths, the volcano the lake sits on is dormant rather than extinct, meaning that although the next big eruption here could come anytime, it’s not very likely to be soon.