Kerid Crater Lake, Southwest Iceland, Iceland

Lake Locations:

Iceland - Southwest Iceland -

Also known as:  Kerio, Kerith Lake

Kerid Crater Lake proves that Southern Iceland isn’t all ‘fire and ice’ as many people believe. Located near the capital city of Reykjavik, Kerid is a regular stop for tourists along the Golden Circle sightseeing route and one of the most-photographed features in an amazing landscape. A product of the volcanic past that continues to form the island of Iceland, the collapsed volcano which created the caldera that holds the little lake has been extinct for at least 3500 years. Kerid is one of several volcanic craters in the area. Known as Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone, the area includes the Reykjanes peninsula and the Langjokull Glacier. Two other volcanic craters lie nearby but are hardly recognizable due to weathering as they are considerably older. And it is the unusual red-hued volcanic rock that forms the caldera reflected in the beautiful blue of the lake that makes Kerid Crater Lake so memorable.

Coming upon Kerid Crater Lake could be most unexpected; only a small sign marks the turn-off from the main road, and the rim is nearly the same elevation as the surrounding landscape. Scientists puzzled over Kerid for years until they decided that eruptions of the original volcano had, over a long period of time, undermined the volcanic dome which finally collapsed, forming a 180-foot caldera below the surface. The crater is less than 900 feet across at its widest point, offering some shelter to the unusual red rock walls of the caldera. Protected from weathering, the jagged rocks and fissures of the walls stand in sharp contrast to the gentle rolling landscape nearby.

Small Kerid Crater Lake is unusual in that it doesn’t gain water from rainfall or inflows but is at the same elevation as the ground water in the area. Kerid Crater Lake thus varies in size and depth as ground water in the area changes and is the perfect indicator of the water table. The small size of the caldera makes the majesty of the towering walls much more vivid than would a larger crater. The caldera is a natural amphitheater; several performance artists have performed from a floating platform in the middle of Kerid Crater Lake.

The majority of the caldera walls that surround Kerid Crater Lake are quite steep, but can be navigated on foot in some areas. One small area of the slope is far more gradual and offers an easier way down to the shore of the blue-colored lake. That gradual slope has a thick covering of moss, creating a patch of green against the startling red walls. Few visitors can walk away without taking a large number of pictures, hoping to capture the colors and textures surrounding their vantage point. In winter, the lake freezes, losing much of its unusual color. Nearly all tours in this area of Iceland make a stop at Kerid Crater Lake, but there are no services in the area. A large sign at the rim explains the formation and current condition of the lake in several languages. A few ambitious visitors, usually those with their own transportation, hike all the way around the crater rim. The tour buses seldom stay long enough to allow for an extended walk.

Although the earth at Kerid Crater Lake is quiet and serene, evidence of geothermal activity below the surface is not far away. The Golden Circle loop makes stops at several places where nature’s power is on display. Many tours make a stop at a nearby hydrothermal farm, where greenhouses are heated by geothermal activity. And every tour makes a mandatory stop at the Geysir hot springs. First described in the 14th century, the large Geysir water eruption is the largest erupting spring at the site, but sometimes doesn’t perform as well as visitors would hope. When Geysir goes thru a ‘dry spell’, it may only erupt once a day or so. Fortunately, the Strokker geyser is usually more cooperative, sending its spout of water and steam 25 feet into the air every few minutes.

As geysers are only found in active volcanic zones and usually along fault lines, the geology of Iceland’s southern region is on full display. It is clearly seen at one of the nearby attractions called Gulfoss Falls. These spectacular falls feature a two-stage waterfall that makes two 250-foot drops with a horseshoe bend between. The wide falls empty into a deep gorge with tremendous force, sending water spray hundreds of feet into the air. The faulting of the earth’s crust is on display here. Not far away, another large waterfall called Horse Mane Falls provides yet another impressive and powerful show.

Thingvellir National Park is nearly always a key stop on any tour of Southern Iceland. This massive park is the spot at which the two tectonic plates, North American and Eurasian, come together and one of the few places the massive Mid-Atlantic Ridge comes to the surface. . A huge rift valley has been created here as the two plates move apart. Accompanied by volcanic action, new land is being formed between rift walls that move at about three-quarters of an inch a year. Here lies Iceland’s largest natural lake, Lake Thingvallavatn, and the spectacular cliffs marking the rift walls.

From Kerid Crater Lake to Thingvellir National Park, every geological feature that is Iceland is in evidence. Iceland’s second-largest glacier can even be glimpsed along the route. Visitors can rent a car and drive the route themselves, but the convenient tour buses usually contain a guide with a wealth of knowledge involving Icelandic history, geology, plate tectonics and local lore. Most organized tours start from Reykjavik, a modern city with a large number of hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, inns, restaurants and evening entertainment. Guest cottages are dotted along the roads in the tour area, often with pastoral scenic views featuring the beautiful Icelandic horses bred in the area. Small hotels and inns can be found in the larger villages. Tours into the mountains can be arranged, and fishing on many of the lakes is available. Jeep tours can be arranged that cover not only the features listed but visits to glaciers and many areas inaccessible by passenger car. There is plenty to see and do in Iceland. If you’re longing for a different type of vacation, schedule your flight to Iceland soon and book your tour to Kerid Crater Lake.

*Few statistics are available for Kerid Crater Lake.

Things to do at Kerid Crater Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • National Park

Kerid Crater Lake Photo Gallery

Kerid Crater Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 75 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 34 feet

Spread the word! Share our Kerid Crater Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.