Sunday, July 25, 2021

Eye of the world volcanic crater lake

IN ICELAND, YOU CAN’T JUST have a stunning lake. No, it also has to be inside of a volcanic caldera. And sometimes that’s not even enough, so the showiest country in the world provides something like Kerid Crater Lake, which is a nearly neon blue lake sitting in a volcano surrounded by rare red volcanic rock.

Located in southern Iceland along the so-called Golden Circle, Kerid is unique among crater lakes in that its caldera likely didn’t form from an explosion as most do. The Kerid volcano is thought to have formed when the magma in the center simply depleted itself, and the empty chamber beneath caved in. Regardless of the geological minutia that led to the lake’s creation, its bright rainbow of colors look unearthly.

In addition to the bright, sapphire-colored waters, the steep slopes of the caldera’s bowl are almost entirely covered in red volcanic rock. There is one, less-steep side of the slope that is covered in rich green moss, as though the lake weren’t colorful enough.

During winter, however, Kerid transforms from a vibrant place to a hotspot of Icelandic desolation and starkness. In truth, it’s no less beautiful or impressive in winter, just different.

The lake itself freezes over and becomes a giant ice rink for the most adventurous tourists. The rest of the crater, like the surrounding landscape, is caked in ice and snow. Though bleak, it’s perhaps easier to feel the vastness and raw power of the natural forces that govern Iceland.

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