You might have heard the story of a King, who turns everything into stone only by his touch. But here we are talking about a real-life lake that is turning every animal and bird into a ghostly statue when they come in its physical contact.

Lake Natron is a salt and soda lake in Arusha Region in northern Tanzania. It is in the Gregory Rift, which is the eastern branch of the East African Rift.

Calcified Eagle

The story of this Lake Natron was first unrevealed by a photographer named Nick Brandt. Nick Brandt faced an eerie sight when he approached the shoreline of Lake Natron located in Tanzania: There, he saw the calcified corpses of birds and bats lying on the earth as still and stiff as statues that might have met their untimely demise after crashing into the deadly water of the lake.

Brandt has written in his new photo book Across the Ravaged Land’ “No one knows for certain exactly how [these animals] die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, causing them to crash into the lake,”

He also says “The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt cause the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.”

Lake Natron

On the other hand, the lake also serves as a breeding area for the endangered 2.5 million Lesser Flaming. Lake Natron is considered to be a safe breeding location because its caustic environment is a barrier against predators trying to reach their nests on seasonally forming evaporate islands.

Blood-red from the bacteria that are living in it, the salt lake is steaming hot, with temperatures that can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the new research. It has become a home to certain kinds of algae and bacteria, making it inhospitable to life.

“The notion of portraits of dead animals in the place where they once lived, placed in positions as if alive again in death, was just too compelling to ignore,” Brandt said of his decision to photograph the animals. “I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Re-animated, alive again in death.”

The serenity of Lake Natron — and its flamingo population — are intimidated by a proposed hydroelectric power plant on the Ewaso Ngiro River, the main river feeding the lake. As obscured as the lake is (it wasn’t even discovered by Europeans until 1954), there are no preservation in place for the lake or its threatened flamingo population.

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