Lake Natron – An Alkaline Lake in Tanzania

Lake Natron is a fascinating natural wonder located in the Arusha Region of Tanzania. The crimson waters of this alkaline lake look surreal and are indeed mesmerizing, but not enticing enough to force people to take a dip in it. The lake has become a centre of attraction for experts and analysts due to its unique features and mysterious history. In this article, we will delve deeper into the mysteries surrounding Lake Natron and explore some interesting facts about this unusual body of water.

What Makes Lake Natron So Unique?

Lake Natron is unique due to its hostile conditions that make it difficult for most animals to survive. The lake contains salt, soda, and magnesite deposits, which contribute to its alkaline nature. The deposits of sodium carbonate found in the surrounding hills make the water extremely caustic, with a pH of over 10.5. This hostile environment is due to the active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai, which emits rare natrocarbonatites – a carbonatite lava found only in this volcano.

The Myth of “Stoned” Animals

One of the most intriguing aspects of Lake Natron is the myth that the lake turns animals that touch it into “stone.” While several media reports suggest this, there is no scientific proof to support this claim. In fact, the same water supports a thriving ecosystem of salt marshes, freshwater wetlands, and flamingos. The flamingoes, in particular, thrive in this hostile environment, making it their breeding ground.

Nick Brandt’s Images

In 2013, English photographer Nick Brandt published a book titled “Across the Ravaged Land,” which documented the disappearing animals of Eastern Africa. In the book, Brandt published a series of haunting images of Lake Natron and its surroundings, showing dead animals washed up on its shoreline. While the book does not provide a definitive answer to the myth of “stoned” animals, it raises some important questions about the lake’s role in the ecosystem.




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