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Posted by Trini Kid - - 0 comments

Sup Travellers?! If you ever decide to visit Tanzania I would suggest that you don't go swimming in Lake Natron. The lake has the tendency to turn you into a pillar of dry salt if you don't play safe. Animals who are immersed in the water not only die, they're calcified and turned into "statues," New Scientist reports. 

So how does that happen? What about the water turns animals into statues? Well, the alkalinity is extremely high (between pH 9 and pH 10.5); water temperatures can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit; and it's full of a naturally occurring compound that comes from volcanic ash. The compound, natron, consists mainly of sodium carbonate with some sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

So if you swim in the water you'll be swimming in a super heated alkaline solution containing baking soda. Photographer Nick Brandt [The guy who took the photos above] discovered the statue-like birds and bats along the shore. "

I could not help but photograph them," he says. "No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake's surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake." He adds on his blog, "The extremely high soda content of the lake preserves them."

Brandt's new collection of photos featuring animals in east Africa, Across the Ravaged Land, is published by Abrams Books and this story appears in print under the headline "The lake that petrifies". Anyway, my name is Trinikid and you've just been informed.