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article imageTanzania's Lake Natron turns animals into statues

By Andrew Ellis     Oct 2, 2013 in Environment
Most bodies of water around the world won't cause a lot of harm to animals. Deer can drink from the edge of stream, and loons can peacefully swim in water looking for food. There is, however, one that literally turns animals into statues.
According to The New Scientist, the name of that body of water is Lake Natron, located in Tanzania, Africa.
The New Scientist reported that temperatures in the lake can reach 60 degrees Celsius, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5.
It takes it's name from a "naturally occurring compound" that's mostly made of sodium carbonate and a little bit of baking soda, according to MSN. MSN also reported that the lake's high level of natron came from the volcanic ash in the Great Rift Valley. The side affect is that when animals die in the lake they become calcified, and preserved.
The animals that turned to statue from contact with the lake were discovered in 2011, by photographer Nick Brandt while he was traveling in East Africa, according to Grist. He took photographs of several of them.
Grist reported that Ethan Kinsey, who was traveling with Brandt, remembered the experience:
"We scoured the shores picking up a variety of birds including hornbills, flamingoes, starlings, doves, bee-eaters, mouse-birds, and Quelea that had been mummified by the salts in the water. The small invertebrates, fish, and bats that stood frozen in their death pose were fascinating."
Nick Brandt told The New Scientist why he decided to photograph them:
"I could not help but photograph them. No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake's surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake."
So if you're going to go for a swim in Tanzania, then you'll want to cross this lake off the list.
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