Natron - the mummifying lake

Natron Lake is a salt lake in northern Tanzania, near the Kenya border. This lake is located on the eastern branch of the East-African Rift (rift - the ground bark). The name of the lake comes from a crystalline substance called natron, a natural mixture of crystallized sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. Due to the high level of evaporation and accumulated volcanic ash, this lake is very rich in this mixture. In such a situation, the conditions are not very favorable to life: the water temperature can reach 60 ° C and the alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5, a pH close to that of ammonia (pure water generally has a pH of 7 at a temperature of 25 ° C C). Due to these chemical properties of water, any animal that sinks in this lake dies and is calcified.

In the vicinity of this lake live birds in general, being the main place to mating over 2.5 million dwarf flamingos. In 2010, one of the world's largest photographers, Nick Brandt, who has a long history with East Africa, departed from his usual work when he made an almost shocking discovery. Approaching-use by the shore of Lake Natron, the photographer was met with a strange sight: calcified bodies of birds and bats, rigid as statues.

"I could not help but not shoot them. Nobody knows for sure how they died exactly, but it seems that the highly reflective nature of the lake surface confuses birds and they collapse into the lake. The water of this lake has a very high level of soda and salt so high that it would remove my ink from the Kodak film boxes in a few seconds. Because of soda and salt the animals are calcified and preserved almost perfectly as soon as they dry out, "said photographer Nick Brandt.

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"By discovering these animals on the shores of Lake Natron, I thought it was extraordinary - every detail perfectly preserved, from the top of the tongue of a bat to the hair on the face. The most surprising discovery was the body of a fisherman eagle, perfectly preserved. "

"Creatures were as hard as stone because of calcification, so I had no way of bending a wing or changing their body position to better picture. So, I took them and put them on stones and branches just as I found them, in order to make them a post-mortem joke. "

"The notion of portrayal of a dead animal made in the place where he died in a position where he seems resurrected in death was too convincing to be ignored," and Brandt motivated his decision to photograph these mummified animals ".

These photos are part of the third album of "Across the Ravaged Land," an album containing endangered places and animals in East Africa. More photos can be seen on the photographer's website.

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