Caldera Lakes in Hokkaido, Japan

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During volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago, volcanic cones collapsed to create calderas, bowl-shaped basics that eventually filled with water. 

  • 2001 NASA Earth Observatory image by the MODIS Rapid Response team 
  • 2019 NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey Image of the Day story by Adam Voiland, NASA Earth Observatory: 
  • Adaptation to ViewSpace by Claire Blome,  Margaret W. Carruthers, and Dani Player 
  • Music from Music for Nonprofits

Text, Earth Watch, Exploring the Blue Planet by Satellite
An aerial view of Caldera Lakes, Japan on May 30, 2001
Text, volcanic eruptions have shaped the landscape of Japan for millenia.
These features are particularly evident on the northern island of Hokkaido.
An image from the Landsat 8 satellite shows two large caldera lakes, which formed thousands of years ago.
As a result of major eruptions between 340,000 and 30,000 years ago, a volcanic cone collapsed, leaving behind a bowl-shaped basin.
This basin, known as the Kussharo caldera, eventually collected enough water to become a lake.
Following another major eruption about 7,000 years ago, another volcanic cone collapse created the Mashu caldera.
Over time, this bowl-shaped basin, which also has no outlet, collected water, forming Lake Mashu, the clearest lake in Japan.
A series of eruptions that began about 4,000 years ago built up the lava dome that became Mount Kamui.
These features are part of Akan-Mashu National Park, which is one of Japan's oldest national parks.
To learn more, go to: earth observatory dot nasa dot gov