A crater lake in Maharashtra in western India has been dyed red overnight, delighting nature enthusiasts and surprising experts, who attribute the sudden event to a change in the levels of salinity and the presence of algae in the water.
Lake Lonar, formed some 50,000 years ago after the impact of a meteorite on Earth, is located 500 kilometers from the financial capital Mumbai, and is a popular spot for tourists and environmentalists.
As photos of the now-colorful waters began to circulate on social media, specialists on the subject highlighted that despite Lonar having changed color in the past, the transformation has never been so marked before.
Since the past four days or so, #MaharashtraWorld s world-famous #LonarLake – the world’s third biggest formed by a meteorite hit – has mysteriously changed color from its normal bluish-green to a baby-pink shade.
– The Weather Channel India (@weatherindia) June 11, 2020
“The salinity in the lake has increased as the water level dropped dramatically this year, and has also become warmer, resulting in an overpopulation of algae,” said geologist Gajanan Kharat in a video posted on Twitter. by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. “These algae turn reddish with warmer temperatures, giving the lake its distinctive color.”
Here is a video by Mr. Gajanan Kharat, Geologist, explaining to us why the color of #LonarCrater Lake has changed. #LonarLake #MaharashtraTourism #MaharashtraUnlimited #Lonar pic.twitter.com/plZx7YFnF8
– Maharashtra Tourism (@maha_tourism) June 11, 2020
Still, the state forest department has collected samples of the water to determine the exact cause behind the change.
With factories and offices closed for months due to the coronavirus quarantine, which only began to ease this week, the blue skies returned to the polluted cities of India, leading to speculation that the restrictions may also have had an impact on the lake.
“There was not much human activity due to confinement, which could accelerate the change,” said Madan Suryavashi, head of the department of geography at Babasaheb Ambedkar University in Maharashtra. “But we will only know the exact causes once the scientific analyzes are completed in a few days.”