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Photographer's Note

Taal Volcano (2˝ hours from Manila) is regarded the world’s smallest active volcano and one of its deadliest. It also has the unusual distinction of being the world's only volcano within a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano. The largest lake is inside a large volcanic caldera that was produced hundreds of thousands of years ago by a catastrophic eruption by a supervolcano that was thousands of times larger than Krakatua. Inside the lake is a smaller volcano and lake with a small island topped by a relatively new volcanic crater.

Taal is only 1,000 feet tall but don't let its small size deceive you. It has a deadly history. The worst of its numerous eruptions killed thousands of people in 1754. But as devastating as this eruption was it also provided nutrients for the region's fertile soil which today is ideal for raising sugar cane, coffee and cattle.

The main lake at Taal is 30 kilometers across and is filled with dugout canoes, small boats, and motor-powered outriggers. Once part of an the ocean channel in Balayan Bay in the South China Sea, the lake was created during the 1754 eruption, when a huge lava flow surged into the sea and transformed the channel into a lake. As the water in the lake rose entire towns were submerged and the water became less and less salty. Today it is a fresh water lake, even though it contains salt water species, such as sardines and highly venomous sea snakes that have adapted to the fresh water. Up until 70 years ago, there were even freshwater sharks in the lake.

Inside the small crater lake within Taal volcano is a tiny volcanic island that emits sulfur and steam. This island was immortalized by "Ripley's Believe It or Not" as the "amazing island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island." Steam and sulfur also rise from yellow furmoles on the slopes of Taal volcano and the cliffs on the interior of the crater.

According to volcanodiscovery.com: Taal volcano with its lake-filled 15-x-20 kilometers wide Talisay (Taal) caldera is a beautiful caldera volcano, but also one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes of the Philippines. The Taal caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 square kilometer surface lies only three meters m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 meters, and contains several eruptive centers submerged beneath the lake. [Source: volcanodiscovery.com ]

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Additional Photos by Ben Polon (polongi) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 27 W: 0 N: 35] (166)
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