Ancient lake in India mysteriously turns pink, baffling scientists

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Ancient lake in India mysteriously turns pink, baffling scientists

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India’s Lonar Lake changed color suddenly, leaving experts puzzled 

A lake about 300 miles east of Mumbai has mysteriously turned from blue to pink.

Scientists are unable to determine exactly why the Lonar Lake, formed 50,000 years ago when a meteorite hit the Earth, might have changed color this month, CNN reported. Possible causes include an increase in the salinity of the water or the presence of red algae—a phenomenon observed in Lake Hillier in Australia, as well as parts of Utah’s Great Salt Lake.

In a video tweeted by Maharastra Tourism, local geologist Gajanan Kharat observed that this change in the lake’s hue had occurred before, although the previous color change was not as striking. “It’s looking particularly red this year because this year the water’s salinity has increased,” he said. “The amount of water in the lake has reduced and the lake has become shallower, so the salinity has gone up and caused some internal changes.”

Climate change could be among the root causes of the color change. Kharat noted that an unusual lack of rain resulted in water levels being lower than normal for this time of the year. He says that this, combined with higher than normal temperatures, resulted in the color change. “This algae turns reddish in warmer temperatures and hence the lake turned pink overnight,” he said. 

Samples of the pink water have been sent to several labs, and researchers are hoping to determine the exact cause once the samples have been studied.

Written by

Jyotika Bindra

Jyotika is a writer based in New Delhi. Prior to Climate & Capital Media, she was the fashion manager at her family’s bespoke fashion business, where in addition to her other responsibilities she worked on improving textile sourcing from local artisans to encourage grassroots production, as well as conducting sustainability workshops with employees regarding the eco-friendly disposal of fashion materials. Previously, she worked as a lab manager at a Harvard University Psychology Lab.