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Journey to the unique lake Natron

We know that on Earth there are many places with extreme habitat, which sometimes look quite harmless and friendly, but it is hardly possible to say something similar about lake Natron. Should try to describe it in colors, like immediately come to mind only such epithets as alien, bloody and lifeless, that is partly true.

The lake appeared in the midst of the mountain massif of the East African rift, near the border with Kenya and in close proximity to the volcano Ol Doinyo of Lengai. Seismic activity began in this region over 2 million years ago and becoming commonplace for many years, gradually changed the landscape and has refined the earth’s crust, preparing the space for lakes such as Natron, Manyara and Eyasi. Mountain river has eroded the volcanic rocks and formed in the lowlands reservoirs, each of which acquired certain characteristics and, perhaps, the most bizarre brainchild turned out it was the Natron.

With special bacteria which gives the lake a red tint, the pond becomes like a creation of science fiction writers, just like the ocean is sentient protoplasm from the book “Solaris”. Moreover, the lake temperature reaches 50-60 degrees Celsius and the alkaline level is off the charts – it makes the pond is totally unsuitable for most living beings.

Many animals are found here, only death and eventually, being covered with a salt crust, they become petrified monuments scattered along the coastline. But even despite the bleakness of the atmosphere that reigns around this lake, there was a place to live.

Residents of the dead lake

Travelers compare the Natron with the underworld, call it a bloody lake in Africa, but as the saying goes, it all depends on perspective – for some it is place on the contrary gives the chance to survive. Here is one of the largest colonies of pink flamingos, which arrange on a small salt Islands their nests, without fear that they will disturb predators. One of the distinctive features of these birds, which allowed them to survive as a species and increase their population, is that they come together only in the most remote places: prior to 1950, the watchers didn’t even know about the existence of colonies of flamingos.

It should be noted that in the diet of small flamingoes for the most part consists of blue-green algae, which feel comfortable even in an alkaline environment, so it’s safe to say that lake Natron graciously accepted, supplied food and has become a reliable home for these amazing birds.