Kawah Putih Crater Lake

(background photo: J.C.M. de Hoog,
  in: Sriwana, 1998b)
Lake Diameter
Temp. (oC)
7.15o S
107.37o E
2359 m
300 m
<0.5 - 1.3

LOCATION: Patuha Volcano
West Java, Indonesia
VOLCANIC FORM:  Andesitic Stratovolcano

GEOLOGIC SETTING: Patuha volcano is part of the volcanically active Sunda Arc,  formed from the subduction of the Indian-Australian Plate beneath the Eurasian plate.  Volcanism in this area began during the Upper Pliocene-Lower Pleistocene, and has given rise to the unique system of volcanos and crater lakes present today.  The island of West Java alone is home to twenty-five (25) volcanos, five (5) of which contain crater lakes.

Kawah Putih: Two craters adorn the summit of Patuha Volcano.  The dry crater of Kawah Patuha lies 600 meters northwest of Kawah Putih, a crater lake with approximately 8 meters of water depth.  Kawah Putih crater lake represents a relatively stable volcanic system, with no records of magmatic or phreatic activity since A.D. 1600.  Nevertheless, magmatic activity manifests itself in Kawah Putih  as the hyperacid lakewater solution that results from condensation of SO2, H2S, and HCl gases near the lake bottom. 

Hydrothermal water-rock interactions in the Kawah Putih system constitute a present-day example of volcanic ore-deposit formation.  Precipitation of native sulfur and other sulfides from lake waters have accumulated as extensive sulfur-rich sediments on the lake bottom.   These sediments were mined during the first half of the 20th century and comprised 90% of Indonesia's sulfur production at that time.  Abundant seepage of Kawah Putih's lakewaters into fractures is another mechanism of hydrothermal ore formation in the volcano.

Seepage of lakewater from Kawah Putih is also a concern to human health.  This seepage acidifies the flank springs of Patuha volcano.  The flank springs feed the Ciwidey and Citarum Rivers, whose waters are used by local people for irrigation.

(Source: Sriwana, 1998b)




1. Title:Volcanogenic pollution by acid water discharges along Ciwidey River, West Java 
Authors: Sriwana, T; van Bergen, M.J; Sumarti, S; de Hoog, J.C.M.; van Os, B.J.H; Wahyuningsih, R; Dam, M..C.
Book Title:  Geochemical engineering; current applications and future trends
Editors: Vriend, Simon P; Zijlstra, Hans J.P.
Source: Journal of Geochemical Exploration v. 62 p. 161 182
Year: 1998a
Publisher: Elsevier.  Amsterdam, New York, International. 1998.

2. Title: Volcanogenic pollution: element accumulation and dispersal around Patuha Volcano and Ciwidey River, West Java, Indonesia.
Authors: Sriwana, T.
Book Title: unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Utrecht University, Faculty of Earth Sciences
Year: 1998b

3. Title: Status of geothermal resource development and future outlook in Indonesia
Authors: Aryawijaya, R.
Book Title: 1995 - 1996 APEC Energy R & D and technology trasfer and renewable energy resource assessment seminar proceedings.
Source: p. 214 - 226.
Year: 1996
Publisher: Information Research Institute, Ministry of Electric Power (China) Beijing, China.