Now if we were to tell you that theres a lake located deep in Tanzania that turns any animal that touches it into stone, youd be forgiven for thinking were telling you a fairytale. But there is no voodoo magic or Harry Potter mischief going on here, its all down to Mother Nature herself.
The pH value of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania is somewhere between 9 and 10.5 making it so alkaline that anything that hits the surface becomes preserved indefinitely. Its name natron is actually derived from a compound that is predominantly comprised of sodium carbonate, volcanic ash and baking soda. Any animal that immerses itself in the water, dies and then becomes calcified.
The amazing phenomena was discovered by the immensely talented photographer Nick Brandt, the images of his discovery are now featured in his magnificent book Across the Ravaged Land.
Heres what he had this to say about the lake itself and his inspiration for the series:
I unexpectedly found the creatures all manner of birds and bats washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lakes surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.
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 causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
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. Reanimated, alive again in death.
Death indeed.His flawless photographs are haunting beautiful, life ended and suspended as it were.