What Is A Maar Volcano?

A maar volcano, also known as a maar-diatreme volcano, is a type of volcanic crater that is formed by explosive eruptions triggered by the interaction of magma with groundwater. These unique volcanic features are characterized by a shallow, broad crater with steep walls and a flat or shallow basin at the bottom.

Formation of Maar Volcanoes

Maar volcanoes are formed when magma rises to the surface and comes into contact with groundwater or surface water. The heat from the magma causes the water to rapidly boil, creating steam and pressure that leads to a sudden and explosive eruption. The explosion blasts out a crater, leaving behind a shallow depression with steep walls.

Characteristics of Maar Volcanoes

Maar volcanoes are typically found in areas with abundant groundwater or surface water, such as low-lying regions or coastal areas. The craters of maar volcanoes can vary in size, ranging from a few hundred meters to several kilometers in diameter. The walls of the crater are usually steep and may be lined with layers of volcanic ash, cinders, and other debris ejected during the eruption.

Examples of Maar Volcanoes

One of the most famous examples of a maar volcano is Lake Maar, located in Germany. This maar crater lake is approximately 3,500 years old and is a popular tourist destination. Another well-known maar volcano is the Laacher See in Germany, which last erupted around 12,900 years ago.


Maar volcanoes are fascinating geological features that provide valuable insights into the complex processes that shape our planet. These explosive craters serve as reminders of the powerful forces at work beneath the Earth’s surface and the dynamic nature of volcanic activity. Studying maar volcanoes can help scientists better understand the mechanisms of volcanic eruptions and improve our ability to predict and mitigate the risks associated with volcanic hazards.

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