Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Mystery as Indian Crater Lake Turns From Green to Pink

Science
India's Lonar Lake has suddenly turned pink. SANTOSH JADHAV / AFP via Getty Images

A crater lake in India has mysteriously turned pink, and scientists aren't sure why.


The 56,000-year-old Lonar Crater Sanctuary Lake in the state of Maharashtra transformed from its usual blue-green to a reddish pink over the last few days, The Times of India reported Thursday. The lake, around 500 kilometers (approximately 311 miles) from Mumbai, is popular with tourists and scientists, and its transformation has sparked research and discussion.

"Sudden change in colour of water is strange. It might be because of microbial activities or could even be human interference. Research should be conducted before making any comments," Harish Malpani, who leads the microbiology department at RLT College of Science, Akola, told The Times of India.

The lake was formed around 56,000 years ago when a meteor struck the basalt rock of the Deccan Plateau. It is the world's largest basaltic impact crater and the third largest crater of any kind formed less than a million years ago, according to The Weather Channel India.

The lake also has unique salt and alkaline properties that could be behind the color change, Times of India explained. These factors encourage the growth of a kind of bacteria called Halobacteriaceae, which produce a red pigment that converts sunlight into energy.

While the lake has turned reddish before, this year's transformation is especially dramatic.

"It's looking particularly red this year because this year the water's salinity has increased," local geologist Gajanan Kharat explained in a video posted on Maharashtra Tourism's Twitter feed, as CNN reported. "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."

Kharat also said the lake had gotten warmer, leading to an algae bloom.

"This algae turns reddish in warmer temperatures and hence the lake turned pink overnight," Kharat said further, according to AFP.

The exact cause of the color change will be determined by water samples sent in for testing by the state's forest department.

Another possibility is that lockdown measures implemented to control the spread of the new coronavirus, which returned blue skies and clean air to highly polluted Indian cities, could also be behind the lake's color change.

"There wasn't much human activity due to lockdown which could also have accelerated the change," Maharashtra's Babasaheb Ambedkar University Geography Department head Madan Suryavashi told AFP. "But we will only know the exact causes once our scientific analysis is complete in a few days."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Activists of Greenpeace and Fridays For Future demonstrate on a canal in front of the cooling tower of the coal-fired power plant Datteln 4 of power supplier Uniper in Datteln, western Germany, on May 20. INA FASSBENDER / AFP / Getty Images

The Bundestag and Bundesrat — Germany's lower and upper houses of parliament — passed legislation on Friday that would phase out coal use in the country in less than two decades as part of a road map to reduce carbon emissions.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Tara Lohan

Would you like to take a crack at solving climate change? Or at least creating a road map of how we could do it?

Read More Show Less
Climate campaigners and Indigenous peoples across Canada have spent the past several years protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline. Mark Klotz / Flickr / cc

By Elana Sulakshana

Rainforest Action Network recently uncovered a document that lists the 11 companies that are currently insuring the controversial Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada. These global insurance giants are providing more than USD$500 million in coverage for the massive risks of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, and they're also lined up to cover the expansion project.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Leah Campbell

After several months of stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many households are beginning to experience family burnout from spending so much time together.

Read More Show Less
Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less