Oct 03, 2013 05:29 PM EDT
Medusa's Waters: 80 Degree Lake In Tanzania Mummifies Birds And Bats
There's a lake in the Rift Valley so hot and acidic only bacteria can survive in it, according to NBC News. More curiously, the lake's outer edges perfectly preserve any animal unfortunate enough to fall into its waters.
Lake Natron, located in Tanzania, builds it deadly waters with run off from the million-year-old volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai, stands on the lake's southern edge, NBC News reported. Because it spews a unique kind of "cool, runny, dark" lava known as natrocarbonatites, the volcano is the only of its kind. Thus, Lake Natron is one of a kind as well.
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According to NBC's article, birds who fall attempting to cross the river typically decompose, unless they happen to fall on Nuron's outer edge, where most of a salt compound created from magmatic limestone accumulates.
"If a body falls anywhere else it decomposes very quickly, but on the edge of the lake, it just gets encrusted in salt and stays forever," David Harper, an ecologist at the University of Leicester, told NBC News.
Photographer Nick Brandt saw an artistic opportunity in the mummified corpses. He's organized his shots in a collection that includes bats, flamingoes, eagles, and swallows, NBC reported. The calcified portraits are currently featured at the Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in New York City and will be published in an upcoming book.
"I unexpectedly found the creatures - all manner of birds and bats - washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania," Brandt told NBC News. "I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in 'living' positions, bringing them back to 'life.'"
Brandt's photos are reportedly starting to attract web attention, according to NBC. With so many more thousands of corpses nesting in Natron's waters, he's hungry for more. Brandt's returned to the location four times already, NBC reported.
Brandt's not the only living thing to spot opportunity in the 80 degree waters of Natron, according to NBC News. The great solitude of the lake attracts flamingoes who mate, build nests from volcanic dusts, and, of course, try to avoid falling in.