Friday, June 25, 2021

It is not Photoshop: this is Lonar lake

It's not Photoshop or anything like that; the colors of this photo have not been changed: this lake is really pink!

Even more surprising is that this lake has not always been of this color: until just over a year ago its waters had in fact a common brackish color. The color change is also evident from the photos obtained from satellite: in the first one dating back to May 25, 2020, the lake appeared normal, but just a few days later, on June 10, its color had totally changed!

This very special lake is found in India and it is known as Lonar Lake. It has a diameter of 1.8 km and a maximum depth of 170 meters. The lake is located on a plain of basalt rock and for this reason it has very particular characteristics: it is in fact a salty and alkaline lake.

Its waters are therefore the ideal habitat for various species of micro organisms and algae. When the salinity of the lake becomes too high it is believed that these life forms produce compounds that have, among other effects, that of changing the color of the lake!

The peculiarities of Lonar Lake do not end there! Being located on a basaltic plain it was long believed that it was of volcanic origin. This until the 70s, when the presence of material whose origin could only be explained by a meteoritic impact was confirmed. Further studies have therefore made it possible to determine the age of the crater, formed between 35 and 55 thousand years ago.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS.

 

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