Kelimutu Volcano – Kelimutu, Indonesia - Atlas Obscura

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Kelimutu Volcano

Kelimutu, Indonesia

Three wildly colorful calderas top this otherworldly volcano chain. 


Lakes, volcanoes, and colors are all on impressive display at the Kelimutu Volcano, an otherworldly series of geologic cauldrons that hold lakes of startling brilliance.

50 miles from the town of Moni on the Indonesian Island of Flores is Kelimutu Volcano and its three summit craters containing their three lakes. The westernmost of the lakes, Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), is blue, while Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) is green, and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanged Lake) is red, the latter two separated only by a crater wall.

Historically, the lakes have been the source of minor phreatic eruptions from the 1639 meter high Kelimutu volcano. In addition to being three different colors, the lakes’ color varies on a periodic basis, likely due to chemical reactions from the minerals in the lake triggered by volcanic gas activity, but no thorough studies have as yet been performed. That the three lakes are of the same volcano and are at the same crest, yet have different colors, is incredibly rare and of extreme interest to geologists.

The Kelimutu Volcano is one of nature’s most stunning displays of color and chemistry and has attracted a number of photographers and tourists over the years. So long as it never erupts, this candy-colored mountain is just a gentle giant. 

Know Before You Go

Moni is a four-hour drive from the Maumere airport or a three-hour drive from the Ende airport.

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