The lakes have been a source of minor phreatic eruptions in historical time. The summit of the compound 1639-m-high Kelimutu volcano is elongated two km in a WNW-ESE direction; the older cones of Kelido and Kelibara are located respectively three km to the north and two km to the south. The scenic lakes are a popular tourist destination.
Kelimutu is also of interest to geologists because the three lakes have different colors yet are at the crest of the same volcano. According to Kelimutu National Park officials, the colour changes as a result of chemical reactions resulting from the minerals contained in the lake perhaps triggered by volcano gas activity. However, it is more accurate to refer to the color changes as being driven by oxidation-reduction chemical dynamics.
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