Photo blog Love These Pics has compiled an impressive gallery of 42 of the world's most beautiful crater lakes.
Typically formed inside the cone of an extinct volcano, crater lakes are unusually gorgeous, mostly on account of their remarkable circular symmetry and often stunning environmental backdrops. They often feature water that is at times a cloudy turquoise color, or a deep shade of blue. And of course, craters can also form from celestial impacts — and even atomic explosions. Here are 10 of our favorite photos from the gallery.
Photo credits and descriptions:
1. 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 by monggoy.
2. 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 by Kevin Labianco.
3. Crater Lake at the Mouth of Taal Volcano in Luzon. Photo by Deck Chua.
4. The Okama Crater Lake at Mount Zaō, Japan, "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 by Laurenz Bobke.
5. 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 by Progresschrome.
6. Lonar Crater Lake at Aurangabad, India. Lonar crater lake was formed by a meteor strike about 50,000 years ago. Photo by Akshay Charegaonkar.
7. 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 by Dennis Stauffer.
8. Katmai Crater on Mount Katmai, Alaska. Photo by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps.
9. Heaven Lake, a crater lake at Tianchi at the border of China and North Korea. Photo by Globe Images.
10. The Pingualuit Crater is an impact crater filled with water. Photo by Denis Sarrazin / NASA / Earth Observatory.
See all 42 of the crater lakes here.