, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 225–233 | Cite as

A photographic method for detailing the morphology of the floor of a dynamic crater lake: the El Chichón case (Chiapas, Mexico)

  • Dmitri Rouwet
Research paper


The active volcano El Chichón (Chiapas, Mexico) hosts a shallow acidic crater lake. During the period 2001–2007, 26 photographs of the crater lake were taken from the same spot at the eastern crater rim, ~160 m above the crater floor. The size of the lake was extremely variable. Using a GPS track from around the lake shore as a reference, 26 digitized lake outlines were corrected simultaneously for the perspective angle. The corrected lake outlines were superposed, leading to a “morphological map” of a large section of the lake bottom. This map provides insight into the erosive–sedimentary regime of the lake floor. The inner section of the lake is more stable due to the precipitation of sealing clays. This is probably one of the reasons why the El Chichón crater lake has never disappeared during the past 28 years. The sealing clays at the lake bottom can be considered the superficial analog of impermeable clay caps at the depths of hydrothermal systems. The photographic procedure presented here may be useful for other limnological and (volcanic) lake studies aimed at describing lake morphology, and for eventually deducing the surface area and volume of the lake.


El Chichón volcano Crater lake Photographic method Geomorphology 



The author wishes to thank the reviewers and the editor for insightful revision of the manuscript. The author is indebted to K. Freeland, Y. Taran, T. Scolamacchia, J.C. Mora, M. Jutzeler, N. Varley, A. Mazot and L. Serrano for additional photographs, and is grateful to Y. Taran, M. Jutzeler, P. Madonia, J.C. Varekamp, and G. Chiodini for nourishing comments on the early version of this manuscript. Financial support for D.R. during the period 2006–2007 came from Belgische Stichting Roeping.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Limnology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di PalermoPalermoItaly

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