Unless Medusa is roaming the lakes of northern Tanzania, there has to be some reason for this phenomena. Animals on Lake Natron have literally been turning to stone.


Magic, of course!

Photographer Nick Brandt has created a new photo series that includes the bodies of animals that were calcified by Lake Natron in northern Tanzania.

How does this lake calcify animals? Well, because of volcanic ash that collected from the Great Rift Valley, the lake has a high alkalinity. (Alkalinity is the capacity for water to neutralize acid.) Lake Natron gets its name from the compound, natron. Natron is made up of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. This makes the alkalinity of the lake between a pH9 and a pH10.5. (Normal alkalinity is, like, you know, pH2.) As a result, if you want to take a dip in Lake Natron, you would immediately die and become calcified.

What’s interesting is that a few brave flamingos live near the lake, but none of them dare go near it.

Brandt’s pictures are pretty fascinating. Check ‘em out!

“I could not help but photograph them,” Brandt told ‘New Scientist’. “No one knows for sure 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.”

Source: New Scientist