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Home News Reports 50,000-year-old Lonar Lake in Maharashtra turns pink, experts claim salinity and algae responsible for...

50,000-year-old Lonar Lake in Maharashtra turns pink, experts claim salinity and algae responsible for colour change

"There is no oxygen below one meter of the lake's surface. There is an example of a lake in Iran, where water becomes reddish due to an increase in salinity," said Gajanan Kharat from the Lonar lake conservation and development committee.

The Lonar crater Lake in Maharashtra has suddenly changed its colour as it turned pink from its earlier greenish hue.

It is believed that the lake was formed after a meteorite struck on that place some 50,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch. The Lonar Lake in Buldhana, Maharashtra is a popular tourist destination and the chemical changes in the lake often attract scientists from across the globe.

Salinity and algae

The crater lake, spread on 113-hectares is also known as the Lonar crater. It has saline water with pH 10.5. A member of the Lonar lake conservation and development committee, Gajanan Kharat was quoted by the PTI saying, “There are algae in the water body. The salinity and the algae can be responsible for this colour change.” He clarified, “There is no oxygen below one meter of the lake’s water surface. There is an example of a lake in Iran, where water becomes reddish due to an increase in salinity.”

Kharat further said, “The low level of water may lead to increased salinity and change in the behaviour of algae because of atmospheric changes. This may be the reason for the colour change. This is not the first time that the colour of water has changed.”

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The forest department has been ordered to collect samples of the water and find out the reason behind this change.

Lack of pollutants cited as a possible reason

As per a report in the Zee News, the Head of Geography department of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathawada University, Dr Madan Suryavanshi said that due to lockdown the lake did not witness any kind of disturbance or pollutant which led to this change.

As per reports, in 2006, the water of the Lonar lake had suddenly evaporated. The villagers around witnessed some shining crystals of salt and other minerals in the dried-up lake. Some research scientists working on the lake have stated that due to changes in the chemical and physical environment, the growth in numbers of certain fungal species may have contributed to the increase in carotenoid levels in the lake water.

The Lonar lake comes under the 383-hectare Lonar Wildlife Sanctuary that was established in 2000. The area was also declared National Geo-heritage Monument in 1979.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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