Haunting Photos Show Animals Turned Into Calcified Statues By This Salt Lake - The Most Popular Lists

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Haunting Photos Show Animals Turned Into Calcified Statues By This Salt Lake


From the beautiful Aurora Borealis to the amazing Victoria Falls, our world provides us with all kinds of spectacular sights. However, some sights may be more unsettling and eerie than most.

A swallow © Nick Brandt 2013, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

Lake Natron in Tanzania is a salt lake, meaning water flows into it but only escapes it through evaporation. What makes Lake Natron so different from other salt lakes like the Dead Sea (yes, it’s actually a lake!) and the Great Salt Lake is Lake Natron’s high alkaline nature.


Why is Lake Natron so deadly?

Lake Natron in Tanzania

Lake Natron in Tanzania is a literal hell on earth for most animals. The pH and temperature levels in the water are so high it can burn off the skin and eyes of animals that aren't adapted to it. But for one species, it is one of the last places on earth they can survive.


With its highest pH measure being 10.5, coming into direct contact with Lake Natron spells certain death for all its unlucky victims.

A fish eagle © Nick Brandt 2013, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

When photographer Nick Brandt stumbled upon it while shooting in East Africa, the first things he saw were the calcified corpses of the birds and bats that had died after falling into the deadly lake.


Nick Brandt wrote in his photo book Across the Ravaged Land that nobody knows for sure how these animals died but the extremely reflective surface of the lake might have confused them, causing these animals to fly directly into the lake.

A dove © Nick Brandt 2013, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

During the dry season, Nick Brandt realised that the calcified, preserved corpses of these animals would be washed ashore in entire flocks.


“You’d literally get, say, a hundred finches washed ashore in a 50-yard stretch,” he told Smithsonian Magazine.

A bat © Nick Brandt 2013, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

Nick Brandt had posed the carcasses to show life-like positions but the carcasses were found exactly this way and all he needed to do was position them as he needed to for his photos.


It’s amazing to think that there are actual lakes possible of calcifying animals like mummies. Does your country have a lake like this?

A calcified flamingo, preserved by the highly basic waters of Tanzania’s Lake Natron and photographed by Nick Brandt (© Nick Brandt 2013, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY)

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This article first appeared on World of BuzzSmithsonian Magazine.

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