Do you like exploring the world? Well, let us take you on a trip to some of the largest volcanic lakes across the globe. Also known as crater lakes, these are water bodies formed as a result of volcanic activities. Some are lakes atop an inactive crater while others constitute molten lava on an active volcanic surface.
Inasmuch as these lakes can be exciting places to visit, they can be more dangerous than you think. As such, it might not be a great idea to visit these areas, especially those lying on top of active volcanoes. That said, let us have a look at some of the largest and famous volcanic lakes on earth.
List of World’s Largest Volcanic Lakes
1. Lake Toba, Indonesia
Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world, covering an area of about 440 square miles and is at least 505 meters deep. It is located in the northern part of Sumatra island, Indonesia. The lake is a result of a supervolcano eruption that occurred more than 70,000 years ago.
The volcanic activity has been recorded as the largest one in the last 25 million years. Many humans are believed to have died at the time, with Central East Africa and India being the primary victims. Due to its fame, lake Toba attracts many tourists annually.
2. Lake Taupo, New Zealand
Lake Taupo is another lake worth mentioning because of its size. The New Zealand-based lake covers an area of about 616 square kilometers or 237 square miles. It is the largest lake in New Zealand. Besides, Lake Murray (in Papua New Guinea) is the only larger freshwater body in geopolitical Oceania.
It is quite a risky adventure when exploring this lake due to the deep waters. However, there are six designated areas where you can swim and enjoy yourself without risking your life. In order to prevent flooding, the lake’s volume is maintained at a certain level by some Mercury Energy mechanism, which was built in 1940.
3. Taal Lake, Philippines
Taal Lake is located in Luzon, Philippine and is the third largest volcanic lake in the world. It covers an area of 94 square miles, which makes it one of the largest in the world. Another amazing fact about this lake is that it has an island within its boundaries.
Volcano Island is elevated 300 meters above sea level. Amazingly enough, it is reported that the island, which contains a small crater, has erupted more than 34 times. The first eruption was witnessed in 1572, and the most recent one was in the year 2020.
4. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Next in line is a crater lake based in the southwestern highlands of Guatemala. With a surface area of 50 square miles, it is more than eight times smaller than Lake Toba. Nonetheless, it is still one of the largest water bodies in the country and across the globe.
In fact, research shows that it is the deepest lake in Central America with a depth of about 340 meters. It is among the biggest tourist attractions in the region because of its beautiful site. It is a result of the Chocoyos Eruption, which is believed to have taken place 85,000 years ago. As such, this is one of the oldest crater lakes in the world.
5. Lake Bolsena, Italy
Europe, especially Italy, is known for its prehistoric features and sites. Well, Lake Bolsena is one of them. The lake is located in the Province of Viterbo (Central Italy) and has been around since time immemorial. Although the records show a lot of activities in its early stages, the last one known to man was in 104BC.
This oval-shaped lake is supplied mainly by runoffs, aquifer, and rainfall. It, however, has only one outlet situated at the southern end. The purity of the water is maintained by a sewage treatment plant constructed to handle all wastes from the surrounding residents. Here is a fun fact! The noble family Alberci of Orvieto donated a third of this lake to the Catholic church.
6. Lake Maninjau, Indonesia
Covering an area of about 38.4 square miles, Lake Maninjau is the 6th largest crater lake in our list. If you are planning to visit this natural feature, then you’ll need to plan yourself for a journey to West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is the second-largest volcanic lake in the country after Lake Toba.
Lake Maninjau has a maximum depth of about 165 meters. The level of water in this lake is maintained by the Antokan River, which is its natural outlet on the western side. By estimation, the lake has been around for over 52,000 years, having been formed from a volcanic eruption around the same time.
7. Lake Rotorua, New Zealand
Lake Rotorua is the second largest lake in New Zealand and one of the largest by surface area in the world. It covers about 30 square miles with an average depth of 10 meters. As such, it is by far the most shallow lake in our list, but that doesn’t make it less amazing. The surrounding community boasts of one of the most famous water bodies in the world.
Can you swim in Lake Rotorua? Well, at the moment, it is not safe to do so, given the state of the water. It has a lot of nutrients that support the growth of algae in the water. However, the government is working towards restoring the quality of water in the lake.
8. Lake Kussharo
Another caldera lake worth mentioning is Lake Kussharo, which is located in Akan National Park, Japan. It is the largest volcanic lake in the country with a surface area of about 30 square miles. Another amazing fact about this lake is that it freezes completely during winter, making it the largest water body to do so in Japan.
The only drawback, at least for the marine life, is the fact that the water is acidic due to volcanic gases. As such, very few fish species are supported except for the entrance points of in-streams.
I hope that this article on the biggest volcanic lakes in the world was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Geographical Rankings Page!