Cotton Candy Dreams: Lake In Australia Turns Flamengo Pink
The salt lake in Westgate Park, Victoria, Melbourne has turned flamingo pink.
According to the Facebook post of Parks Victoria, the color is a result of a natural phenomenon wherein there is a very high salt levels, high temperatures, sunlight and lack of rainfall at the same time.
CNN explains that an alga, Dunaliella salina at the bottom of the lake interacts with halbacterium (Halobacteria cutirubrum) and produces red pigment as part of the photosynthesis process. The red pigment is called beta carotene, precisely the same reason why flamingo feathers are pink.
Although the algae is harmless and does not cause damage to the wildlife in the lake, the authorities urged the public to avoid touching the water.
The change of color is considered normal specially during summer. It is expected to return to its normal blue color during the Australian winter months.
The same phenomenon occurs in Lake Burlinskoye in Siberia every year. Smithsonian Mag reports that the lake is the largest single salt deposit in Western Siberia, and is a steady source for table salt.
In Western Victoria, a lake in the heart of Wimmera also turns pink every summer. People near the lake have reaped the benefits of the lake by engaging in salt trade. Australian news paper cites that by the end of the season, which usually lasts for two weeks, 30 tonnes of pure Victorian salt off the surface of the Pink Lake have been harvested already.
"Late in 2008, we started looking at the salt lake. Being on crown land, we thought why don't we partner with the indigenous community to do a small harvest every year, one to two weeks," said Neil Seymour who engages in the annual pilgrimage. "We take off about 20-30 tonnes of salt. It's literally all hand-dug. It's a beautiful spot."