Earth is absolutely heaving with bizarre geological formations, but nothing has us exclaiming “what in the turducken?” quite like Vulcan Point. This unique little island lies within a lake, within another island, within a lake, within another island, within an archipelago, within the Pacific.
It’s a rather tongue-twisting concoction of concentric lakes and islands, and while it may defy belief, it is in fact real and can be found in the Philippines.
We love an Inception-worthy anomaly at IFLScience and Vulcan Point is no exception. It joins a long list of unexpected things found within other things, which are themselves inside other things (the parasitized parasite inside a caterpillar or the fish that ate a frog that had eaten a fish, for example).
What is Vulcan Point?
Vulcan Point is an island, or more specifically the tip of a volcano's cone, found within Main Crater Lake, which has formed inside Taal Volcano. The volcano itself can be found within Lake Taal on Luzon Island in the Philippines.
So, an island in a lake, in the middle of a volcano, in the middle of another, bigger lake, in the middle of a third and final island. This phenomenon is also known as a third-order island and is not unique to Vulcan Point: another such island, believed to be the largest of its kind, can be found on Victoria Island in Canada.
Vulcan Point was formed when the main caldera – or crater – of Taal Volcano filled with water, creating Main Crater Lake. Out of its turquoise waters peaks the tip of one of the volcano’s cinder cones, creating the tiny island, Vulcan Point.
Main Crater Lake itself was formed in 1911 when an eruption lowered the elevation of the island by 1-3 meters (3-10 feet). It is nestled in the caldera of Taal Volcano, which has erupted numerous times, dating back to 3580 BCE, and is the second most active volcano in the Philippines.
In January 2020, the volcano erupted again, causing Main Crater Lake to dry up and disappear, temporarily disrupting the whole island-within-a-lake-within-an-island-within-a-lake-within-an-island thing. Fortunately for Vulcan Point fans, the lake soon refilled.
Where is Vulcan Point?
Taal Volcano, and therefore Vulcan Point, are found on Luzon Island in the province of Batangas in the Philippines. The volcano is located around 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital, Manila.
It is surrounded by Lake Taal, which is the only place in the world you can find tawilis, the world’s only freshwater sardine, and the freshwater Garman's sea snake.
The turducken of islands/lakes really is the gift that keeps on giving.