8 unusual lakes that will blow your mind
Unique, fascinating, bizarre, mortal or surreal are some of the words that could describe the following eight lakes. You’ve probably heard that Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest, deepest and largest lake by volume. The Dead Sea is the lowest lake &place on Earth and Africa’s Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake. Getting bored of reading the same popular facts over and over again? Well, this list of extraordinary lakes with incredible features will surely blow your mind!
8. Hamilton Pool Preserve, USA
Hidden just 30 miles southwest of Austin, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a jade-green pool that formed naturally after a grotto collapsed. It was first discovered in the 1800s and is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve Conservation Plan since many years.
“Located 3/4 mile upstream from its confluence with the Pedernales River, Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50 foot waterfall as it plunges into the head of the box canyon,” Co.travis.tx.us. The beautiful waterfall and the limestone “canopy” give this place a unique touch. Swimming is allowed but only when the water quality meets safe standards.
7. Lake Vostok – Untouched for 20 million years, Antarctica
With −128.6 °F (−89.2 °C) officially recorded, Vostok holds the world’s record for lowest temperature on Earth. Exactly in this spot, a team of Russian scientists has reached a 160 miles long freshwater lake after 23 years of drilling through two miles of solid ice.
Lake Vostok is the only giant super-clean water system on the planet. „There is no other place on Earth that has been in isolation for more than 20 million years. It’s a meeting with the unknown,” declared AARI researcher Lev Savatyugin for Dailymail.co.uk.
Microbiologists and biochemists strongly believe the lake may reveal new forms of life.
NASA has been closely watching the Russian drilling project. The Agency’s chief scientists claim this achievement could transform the way we think about life.
The Russians extracted the longest ice core ever recovered. The cylinder of ice is 12,400 feet long and will help researchers better understand how the planet’s climate has changed throughout history.
6. Spotted Lake, Canada
This strangely-patterned lake is located on a private property near Osoyoos, British Columbia. It is known as the Spotted Lake due to its 365 pools of various sizes and depths. The lake is so massively saline that its salts – mostly magnesium sulfate and sodium sulphates – crystallize out in white-rimmed patches. The crystallization process is driven by the lake’s alternating cycles of flooding and evaporation. What is even more amazing is how Spotted Lake changes its colour. The explanation is quite simple. The colours of the 365 spots depend on the mineral content of each spot. Blue, white, green or yellow are some of the most common variations.
The Okanagan Indians took healing baths in Spotted Lake (Kliluk). It is considered to be of great spiritual and cultural importance to the Okanagan First Nations.
5. Five-Flower Lake – China
The Chinese Jiuzhai Valley is famous all over the world for its colourful lakes and spectacular waterfalls. Just take a look at these pictures and you will understand why it attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Twenty years ago, Jiuzhai Valley National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nine Tibetan villages are nestled in the valley that is home to over 200 bird species and threatened or endangered plant/animal species.
The pride of Jiuzhai, Five-Flower Lake, is located at an elevation of approximately 8,110 feet (above the Pearl Shoal Waterfall).
The crystal-clear waters make everything visible. Ancient fallen tree trunks rest on the bottom of the lake. It’s the deposition of travertine that makes Five-Flower such a spectacular lake.
At least five different colours (yellow, dark green, peak green, navy blue and diamond blue) results from the presence of mineral deposits, algae and other aquatic plants. Just like the name suggests, Five-Flower Lake resembles a garden full of multi-coloured flowers.
4. Lake Retba – Senegal’s pink lake
Contrary to what you might think, those boats are not floating on a giant strawberry milkshake! The pink waters of Lake Retba are constantly changing by bringing out different hues, but the most striking colour variation occurs during the dry season. Believe it or not, this lake is naturally pink. Dunaliella salina, a salt-loving unicellular organism that synthesizes massive amounts of carotenoid pigments under particular conditions, is responsible for the unusual colour.
The waters of Lake Retba are extremely saline (around 38%), and the concentration of salt increases toward the bottom.
Similar processes occur in:
- Australia, Hutt Lagoon etc.
3. Killer lakes – Lake Nyos, Kivu and Monoun
Only three exploding lakes have been discovered so far: Lake Kivu, Nyos and Monoun.
A limnic eruption (also called Lake Overturn) is a very rare natural phenomenon. It occurs when a large bubble of carbon dioxide suddenly erupts from the bottom of deep lakes. Such an explosion may also cause tsunamis. The suffocating and inflammable gases kill everything in that area…people, animals and plants.
Only two Lake Overturns have been recorded to date. The first occurred 28 years ago in Cameroon at Lake Monoun. The massive quantities of carbon dioxide killed 37 people. A second overturn took place in 1986 at Lake Nyos. Over 80 million cubic meters of carbon dioxide were released, this time killing 1,800 residents and 3,500 livestock. This tragic event was the first known large-scale asphyxiation generated by a natural phenomenon.
Lake Kivu, one of the Great African Lakes, is not only 1,000 times larger than Lake Nyos – it is also situated in a far more densely populated area. The lake’s surrounds are home to millions of people. This is for sure one of the most dangerous place to live! Volcanic or landslide activity could trigger a limnic explosion at Lake Kivu.
2. Sea sparkle – Gippsland Lakes, Australia
Phil Hart is the lucky photographer who shot the above images. These photos are particularly impressive because the concentration of “sea sparkle” – scientifically known as noctiluca scintillans – was unusually high when Hart captured the bizarre phenomenon on camera.
This is what illuminated the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, Australia a couple of years ago.
Noctiluca scintillans uses its ability to produce and emit light as a defense mechanism, lighting up when it senses a predator approaching.
The phenomenon can be observed also in Portugal – Laguna Grande, La Parguera, Mosquito Bay and many other places.
1. Surreal acid lakes – Dallol Volcano, Ethiopia
Isn’t Dallol the most bizarre and alien looking landscape you’ve ever seen? The images returned by Google are fabulous! What amazes me even more is the great diversity and complexity of landscape features that have resulted from a rare coincidence of several geological factors.
Dallol is the hottest inhabited place on Earth and, may I say, the most colourful. It holds the record for the world’s lowest known sub-aerial volcanic area. The crater is filled with ponds of all sizes and colours. Sulphur and potassium salts coloured by different ions paint the landscape in emerald & spring green, electric yellow, brown and orange shades.
Acid lakes, active geysers and countless hot springs make up the hydrothermal field from northern Ethiopia.