Lake Natron, located in Tanzania, Africa is one of the most beautiful lakes Tanzania has to offer, with serene views and a calm quiet you won’t find many places on this earth. This beautiful lake holds a deadly secret however, and is almost uninhabitable by all living creatures except a few salt dwelling bacteria and small fish. The lake has an alkaline content similar to that of ammonia. The incredibly salty lake can reach temperatures of 140 F. This has given photographer Nick Brandt the opportunity to capture the lakes deadly secret through the lens of his camera and what he shares is horrific.
“No one knows for certain exactly how [these animals] die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, causing them to crash into the lake,” Brandt writes in his new photo book Across the Ravaged Land. “The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.”
The conditions are so terrible that the animals that have perished along the banks of the lake have completely calcified into statuesque mummies. It literally turns any animal that it touches into stone. The photographer came across the birds while working to capture the grandeur of Africa’s disappearing wildlife. The birds were left as-is, except that the photographer posed them to make for better photographs.
Calcified Fish Eagle
Calcified Caped Dove
Calcified Flamingo Reflects In The Mirror Like Lake
Calcified Swallow On A Perch
Calcified Bat II
More info: Nick Brandt
This extremely rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup within the lake. The alkalinity of Lake Natron varies between pH 9 and pH 10.5, forcing it to burn the skin and eyes of animals when they get too close to the water, leaving behind these horrific images.