Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 58, Issue 7, pp 528–538

Volcanic lake systematics I. Physical constraints

  • Gregory B. Pasternack
  • Johan C. Varekamp

DOI: 10.1007/s004450050160

Cite this article as:
Pasternack, G. & Varekamp, J. Bull Volcanol (1997) 58: 528. doi:10.1007/s004450050160


 Volcanic lakes have a wide range of characteristics, and we make an attempt to delineate the limiting physical conditions for several lake classes. The ratio between heat input and heat dissipation capacity of a lake constrains the temperature for perfectly mixed steady-state volcanic lakes. Poorly mixed lakes are also conditioned by this ratio, but their temperature structure is also strongly influenced by the hydrodynamics resulting from different mechanisms of heat transfer. The steady-state temperatures of volcanic lakes are largely determined by the magnitude of the volcanic heat influx relative to the surface area of the lake. Small lakes have only a small capacity for heat dissipation and their temperature rises quickly with only small heat inputs; large lakes are buffered against variations in heat input. Both the heat dissipation and meteoric water input into a lake are functions of lake surface area and therefore each lake water temperature demands a certain precipitation rate for mass conservation, independent of lake size. The results of energy/mass-balance modeling shows that under common atmospheric conditions, most steady-state volcanic lakes are unlikely to maintain a temperature in excess of 45–50  °C. Validation of the volcanic lake model was performed using published data from Yugama Lake (Japan) and the Keli Mutu lakes (Indonesia). Also, the model was applied to 24 natural systems to provide a baseline assessment of energy fluxes under the model assumptions so future work on those systems can identify nuances in individual systems that deviate from the simple model conditions. We recommend the model for use in assessing temperature variations and volcanic lake stability in settings with known physical and atmospheric conditions. Application of the energy/mass balance calculations of model lakes provides a genetic classification scheme largely based on physical process parameters.

Key words Crater lakesHydrothermal systemsVolcanic degassingHeat flow

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory B. Pasternack
    • 1
  • Johan C. Varekamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459–0139, USAUS