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Medusa And The Lake

Medusa, the Greek mythological creature, would turn into stone whoever gazed into her eyes!

There is another place in the world, where this might happen, even if in a slightly changed way….

Lake Natron is a salt lake in Northern Tanzania, Africa. The lake takes its name from the natron: a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in.

The temperature there might go up to 60ºC; the lake is also very alkaline (pH between 9 and 10.5). It is the habitat for some algae, some invertebrates and some fish (close to the shore where the water is less salty). Above all, it is a safe breeding location for flamingoes because its caustic environment is a barrier against predators, who may try to reach their nests on seasonally-forming evaporite islands.

These species have developed some kind of resistance and adaptation to these extreme conditions, but other animals would be killed by simply submerging in the lake! Actually, the dead bodies of such animals get quickly calcified and covered by natron: they seem petrified! Photographer Nick Brand – who directed Michael Jackson’s video Earth Song there in 1995 – has published suggestive pictures….

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