Unique Views of the World - Haunting Creatures of Lake Natron

Oct. 6, 2013

Extreme Alkalinity Preserves Creatures For Eternity

Ohio has many interesting and unique natural environments, but nothing to compare with the unique environment of Lake Natron in Northen Tanzania.  Unlucky creatures caught up in it's lethal waters are preserved for eternity creating some haunting images.

According to Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, alkaline preserved creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its extremely basic alkalinity of a constant pH of 9.0-10.5.

He unexpectedly found the creatures - all manner of birds and bats - washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. 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. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off his Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to solidify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.

He took these creatures as he found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.

Haunting Creature Images - http://gizmodo.com/any-animal-that-touches-this-lethal-lake-turns-to-stone-1436606506

For more information on Lake Natron - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Natron

Lake Natron is a salt lake located in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border, in the eastern branch of the East African Rift. The lake is fed by the Southern Ewaso Ng'iro River and also by mineral-rich hot springs. It is quite shallow, less than three metres (9.8 ft) deep, and varies in width depending on its water level, which changes due to high levels of evaporation, leaving behind a mixture of salts and minerals called natron. The surrounding country is dry and receives irregular seasonal rainfall. The lake falls within the Lake Natron Basin Wetlands of International Importance Ramsar Site. Temperatures in the lake can reach 60 °C (140 °F), and depending on rainfall, the alkalinity can reach a pH of 9 to 10.5 (almost as alkaline as ammonia).