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Boiling Lake, Dominica

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 15.3184 N 61.2941 W
No:353        (list of all attractions)
Category:Geothermal features, Fumaroles and solfataras
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:North America, Caribbean, Dominica, Saint Patrick, in Morne Trois Pitons National Park
Boiling Lake, Dominica
Boiling Lake / Jean & Nathallie, / CC BY 2.0

The second largest hot lake in the world is Boiling Lake in Dominica - only the Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand is larger.

Boiling Lake, Dominica
Boiling Lake / Titanium The Dog, / CC BY 2.0

Creation of phreatic eruption

Boiling Lake is located on the flanks of Morne Watt volcano (1 224 m tall). This lake is found in a lush tropical forest, some 780 - 800 m above the sea level.

Boiling Lake has formed in an explosion crater - here groundwater reached overheated rocks and the pressure of steam caused a spectacular explosion, leaving a deep and wide scar in the ground. Such event is called - phreatic eruption.

The crater of Boiling lake is 85 by 75 m large. Information about the depth is contradicting (or - may be changing?). In 1875 the measured depth exceeded 59 m, but now the reported depth is 10 - 15 m.

Boiling Lake, Dominica
Boiling Lake / Jean & Nathallie, / CC BY 2.0

Underwater fumarole

The mountains of Dominica are shrouded in clouds for most of the time - climate here is very wet. Soon after the eruption the crater was filled with rainwater and several small streams.

At the bottom of this lake is located fumarole - a vent which emits hot steam and gases with high content of sulphur and arsenic.

As a result the lake is constantly bubbling: it emits gases and is roughly 90 °C hot in the middle. Bubbles of boiling groundwater rise up through the lake and heat the lake water.

Water of this weird lake is greyish-blue, acidic. Whole area is shrouded in an eternal cloud of vapour.

Recent history

Latest eruption of Morne Watt volcano took place around 640 AD - thus it is possible that Boiling Lake is not much older.

This crater lake is constantly changing. Thus - in 1870, when it was discovered by first Europeans - Mr. Watt and Dr. Nicholls - the lake was large and deep.

Soon after there happened a phreatic eruption near the lake (in Valley of Desolation) and around 1880 this lake became almost empty. In the centre of former lake formed a fountain of hot water, similar to a geyser. It was up to 18 m high. Later, as the water filled the grater, it disappeared.

In December 2004 there was another phreatic explosion nearby and level of Boiling Lake fell again for some 10 m - until the April 2005. Now it is filled with boiling water again.

Today Boiling Lake is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Dominica. In order to access it tourists are walking 13 km along a spectacular path through the rainforest.

Lake has tall, steep banks and it is dangerous to walk too near to it.


See Boiling Lake on the map of Dominica!


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