Rainforest Crater Lakes
- Lakes Eacham and Barrine are explosion craters, known as a maars created when rising lava came into contact with ground water. The resulting steam caused a violent explosion as it burst through the rocks on the surface producing a crater. Little volcanic material is produced by this sort of explosion. It forms a low ridge around the crater.
- The craters of Lakes Eacham and Barrine may have been formed as recently as 10,000 years ago- their explosive creation are remembered in the stories of local indigenous people.
- After the explosion. water collected in the craters forming the lakes, which are up to 65m deep. The weight of this water has caused the surrounding rocks to sag, creating a much larger crater and lake. Wherever the water is able to drain out of an explosion crater, a swamp, rather than a lake, forms.
- Other maars - Lake Euramo. Bromfield Swamp and Lynch's Crater -- are up to 200,000 years old.
Script: Courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency
- The Crater Lakes and the Atherton Tablelands area has a range of endemic reptile and mammal species.
- The Crater Lakes are currently facing environmental concern due to strains caused partly by the tourism industry, such as runoff from car-parks potentially increasing salinity of the water, as well as pollution from car fumes. This effects the water quality and the organisms that rely on it.
- Threats also include weeds and other introduced species, and unregulated visitation can cause trampling of flora and fauna and erosion. As well as tourism and recreation, infrastructure development, mining and quarrying, land clearing, grazing, feral animals and inappropriate fire regimes.
- The introduction of aquatic species not native to the area and non-native species can affect water quality, impact wildlife habitat, and cause the local extinction of some species. A well known pest is the Cane Toad which was introduced as a means of eradicating the Cane Beetle, however it was unsuccessful and the toads have now been located as far out as northern WA.
- A Ngadjonji story describes the creation of three volcanic crater lakes- Yidam (Lake Eacham), Barany (Lake Barrine) and Ngimun (Lake Euramoo).
- 'Two men broke a taboo and angered the rainbow serpent, a major spirit of the area. The earth roared like thunder and the winds blew like a cyclone. The ground began to twist and crack and there were red clouds in the sky that had never been seen before. People ran from side to side but were swallowed by a crack which opened in the earth.'
- Interestingly, in the course of this story, the country is described not as rainforest but as open scrub. This observation is supported by pollen records.