Natron lake is one of the salt lakes that is situated in Tanzania in Africa and holds international significance. The lake is shallow and has a depth of fewer than three meters and it is 57 kilometers long and 22 kilometers wide.
The surrounding places of this lake receive seasonal rainfall between the months December and May in an irregular manner.
This lake undergoes a high rate of evaporation which leaves behind natron (sodium carbonate decahydrate) and trona (sodium sesquicarbonate hydrate) which are the reason for the alkaline nature of the lake and the pH of it can reach greater than 12.
The bedrock of the surrounding is also alkaline and the lavas have very low levels of calcium and magnesium but have quite amounts of carbonates in them. These properties all constitute the alkaline behavior of the Natron lake.
In this salt lake, the water is not able to flow out and so the evaporation process is the only method for the water to escape out from there. The temperature of the lake is high and is almost up to 140 F(Fahrenheit).
Lake Natron is also a place from where some of phantasmagorical photographs were captured.
Anyways, most of the animals and birds are not all adapted to the high pH nature of the lake and can harm them in many ways.
Flora and Fauna
The water evaporation takes place at a high rate during dry seasons which will result in the increased salinity rate of Lake Natron. This makes the microorganisms that love salt become in an active state.
Such organisms which are halophile organisms include cyanobacteria or blue-green algae which also make food on their own through the photosynthesis process.
The photosynthesizing pigment of these cyanobacteria which is red imparts the color of the lake which is one of its characteristic features and the orange color that appears in the shallow parts of the lake.
The crust of the lake which is alkaline is mostly seen in red or pink-colored features which are imparted by the salt-loving bacterias and other microorganisms that are living there.
The salt marshes and the freshwater wetlands are present around the lake which is a support for some variety of plants. These are the details about the flora that is found in Lake Natron.
Is Lake Natron in Tanzania Suitable for Animals?
This lake natron in Tanzania is not suitable for most of the animals that exist as they might not be able to adapt to the situations and conditions of the place like high temperature, high saline content, and high pH value.
But there are some species of animals included in birds, invertebrates, and endemic algae which have the tolerance to even these harsh conditions. This lake is considered to be a large breeding area for the lesser flamingoes.
The reason is that the increased salinity rate will create the growth of more cyanobacteria there and the one algae named spirulina which is a blue-green alga with red pigment is the one that flamingoes feed on.
For feeding on these, they gather along in East Africa in a large flock. It is also safe to breed in Lake Natron as the environmental conditions present there will not be suitable for all animals or others which will keep the predators away from this place.
Also, in the margins of this lake, there the saline nature is slightly less which makes it suitable for the survival of some other small fishes.
Is Lake Natron One of the Deadliest Lakes?
The Natron lake in Tanzania is indeed one of the deadliest lakes in the world, the temperature here can reach up to 140 F(Fahrenheit) and it is extremely alkaline with a pH(potential of hydrogen) of 10.5.
There is no outlet for the lake, which means it does not have anywhere for flowing out, only flowing in is possible.
So, to let go of the water, the evaporation process is the natural method that is undergone here.
The evaporation leads to the increased saline nature of the lake. These conditions there make the place unfit for survival for many of the animals and other organisms.
The organisms that are living there are adapted to the conditions there, many cyanobacteria which are salt-loving are present there and the color of their pigment imparts the color of the lake which is red or pink.
Is Lake Natron Turns Animals into Stones?
Natron lake which is saline can turn animals into stone and this phenomenon is real and natural.
The concentration of salt and some other minerals present here are high due to evaporation which is undergone for escaping the water that cannot be flowed out.
There are some organisms which includes some invertebrates, microorganisms like cyanobacteria, etc which are fit for these conditions and this lake is a home for them.
This lake is also the best breeding place for lesser flamingoes and 75% of the world’s lesser flamingoes are born here.
Anyway, many of the migrating birds without knowing anything about this place may crash into here.
The chemicals that are present in this lake at the surface act like glass and fools the birds and they crash there thinking it is a space that is empty.
And when the dry season comes, the water starts evaporating and we will be able to see the birds desiccated and chemically preserved carcasses.
The series of photos were released in many features and magazines which issued these carcasses. The view of it is extraordinary and the found carcasses were in the same position as when they were found.
Is Lake Natron Fit for Swimming?
The lake has high saline content and the pH(potential of hydrogen) is over 10.5 and also the temperature there can be up to 140 F(Fahrenheit). So, with these conditions sit is not at all suitable for swimming.
The animals and birds that are adapted to the conditions there will have many features their body surfaces have developed to resist.
But our body is not resistant to these conditions and will cause real harm to us. Even just coming into contact with the surface slightly is dangerous.
The water there is caustic and even the slightest touch or cut can be very painful. Thinking about swimming here will be completely a crazy idea.
Is Lake Natron Worth Visiting?
It is worthy to visit lake Natron in Tanzania. The landscape of the lake is indeed a splendid view. You can visit the lake at dawn and can watch the flamingoes.
The place is a calm one and there would not be many tourists visiting but is indeed one you should add to your destination places. The water there is the dreadful one, so stay away from it.
The Natron lake in Tanzania which is in East Africa is a lake which is known as one of the deadliest lakes in the World.
It is basically because of the environmental conditions of that place, the temperature, salinity, alkaline nature, etc of the lake is at a high rate in which it is really difficult to survive.
Anyways, there are some organisms like cyano bacterias, some invertebrates, etc, which are adapted to the situation there and have the features to resist the harsh conditions.
The lesser flamingoes find this lake as the best breeding place for them. This condition makes the predators of the organisms of this lake stay away.
The migratory birds without knowing about the situations of these places may crash one them and due to the chemicals present here this lake can change the animals to stones, and when the water recedes we will be able to find carcasses of those birds.
This lake is not at all suitable for swimming or any other purpose like that. WE do not have any special features or resistance in these conditions of the lake, so the slightest contact can even harm you.
The landscape and view of this place are amazing and a must place to visit if you are a traveler. It is the deadliest lake but also is beautiful, stay away from danger and enjoy the view of this place when you visit Lake Natron.