Sunday, 10 November 2013

Lake turns animals into petrified statues

Greek mythology will tell you that Medusa was beheaded a long time ago, so those of you rooting for a supernatural or spiritual explanation I am sorry to disappoint. The real cause of this mummification is no less fascinating. Lake Natron, a vast death swamp located in northern Tanzania gets its name from Natron which is a naturally occurring sodium carbonate compound. The compound is sourced from volcanic ash which when collected by surface runoff, flows into the lake and provides the lake with an unnaturally high alkaline content.

Calcium is more readily precipitated from alkaline solutions so over time high amounts of calcium can be precipitated along the shoreline. When animals die and are immersed in the deadly waters of the lake they become petrified and turn into a bizarre and horrific spectacle. Oddly, the lake isn't completely lethal and is home to flocks of daredevil flamingos that return to nest on an annual basis. I should point out that the poses in the photographs are artificially created by photographer Nick Brandt.

by Danny Stubbs