cal·​de·​ra kal-ˈder-ə How to pronounce caldera (audio)
-ˈdir- How to pronounce caldera (audio)
: 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

Did you know?

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 Santorini is romantic and luxurious, beloved by honeymooners lounging in their private pools overlooking the caldera. Eleni N. Gage, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2024 Courtesy Gibb's Farm Courtesy Gibb's Farm Our first stop after the draining overnight flight from Dubai is Gibb’s Farm near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the planet’s largest inactive-yet-intact caldera. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Jan. 2024 And one of the most famous calderas in the world, at Yellowstone National Park, measures 30 miles by 45 miles, according to the U.S. National Park Service. Denise Chow, NBC News, 1 Nov. 2023 Beckman, a stalwart of D.C. theater, especially finds pockets of pathos in a largely static pageant by striding purposefully to a caldera of despair without falling in. Rhoda Feng, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 De Natale led efforts to drill a 500-meter pilot borehole in 2012 that provided scientists with more precise stratigraphical information about the origins and boundaries of the caldera. Alessio Perrone, Scientific American, 4 Dec. 2023 The plan called for a five-hour sail inside the island’s famed caldera, the volcanic bay ringed by steep cliffs. Samantha Falewée, Travel + Leisure, 19 Jan. 2024 The sweeping views of the caldera are like watching a moving postcard in slow motion. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Dec. 2023 Just looking at the geography of Montagu Island betrays its violent past, with the outline of a caldera showing on its icy surface. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 30 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caldera.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caldera was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near caldera

Cite this Entry

“Caldera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


cal·​de·​ra kal-ˈder-ə How to pronounce caldera (audio) kȯl- How to pronounce caldera (audio)
: a large crater formed by the collapse of a volcanic cone or by an explosion

More from Merriam-Webster on caldera

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!