cal·​de·​ra | \ kal-ˈder-ə How to pronounce caldera (audio) , kȯl-, -ˈdir- How to pronounce caldera (audio) \

Definition of caldera

: a volcanic crater that has a diameter many times that of the vent and is formed by collapse of the central part of a volcano or by explosions of extraordinary violence

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A large, bowl-shaped volcanic depression, a caldera forms when the top of a volcanic cone collapses into the space left after magma is ejected during a violent volcanic eruption. Its diameter is many times that of the original vent. The term is Spanish for "caldron." Subsequent minor eruptions may build small cones on the floor of the caldera, and the caldera may still later fill up with water; an example of this is Crater Lake in Oregon.

Examples of caldera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Your Instagram photo of the day The glow at night: A glow from the world's largest lava lake mixes with moonlit clouds above the caldera of Mount Nyiragongo, an active stratovolcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. National Geographic, "How did coronavirus spread so far, so fast?," 22 Jan. 2020 Located within the caldera of the devastating 1883 Krakatau volcano, Anak Krakatau’s collapse left massive chunks of rock lying on the seafloor, according to scientists. Fox News, "Huge blocks from Anak Krakatau volcano discovered on ocean floor," 17 Dec. 2019 The valley was wide and flat, pocked with gaping calderas that blew enormous plumes of steam into the air, like sideways clouds drifting into the sky. Adrian Chen, New York Times, "Hideo Kojima’s Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds," 3 Mar. 2020 One of these areas, Norris Geyser Basin to the northwest of the caldera, contains more than 500 hydrothermal features. National Geographic, "See the Full Archive," 19 Mar. 2020 Thousands living around the caldera were evacuated and N95 face masks were sold out for weeks in pharmacies as far south as Zamboanga, 500 miles away. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 Visitors can explore the cinder cones, caldera, and lava flows on foot and by car or helicopter. Katie Knorovsky, National Geographic, "Discover the best places to witness the wonder of volcanoes," 23 Apr. 2019 These lava floods resulted from pressure pulses created by the collapsing caldera, Patrick says. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, "A Tiny Leak Led to a Massive, Unexpected Collapse at Kilauea Volcano," 5 Dec. 2019 In an opening act, Erendira performed graceful yoga in mid-air above the caldera, pulling upside down toe hangs from her aerial hoop, or lyra. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'Volcano Live!' Daredevil Nik Wallenda defies gravity, lava with wirewalk over volcano," 5 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caldera.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caldera

1667, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caldera

Spanish, literally, cauldron, from Late Latin caldaria — more at cauldron

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Time Traveler for caldera

Time Traveler

The first known use of caldera was in 1667

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Statistics for caldera

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caldera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on caldera

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caldera

Spanish Central: Translation of caldera Encyclopedia article about caldera

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