Extreme Nature of Lake Natron: Photographer Nick Brandt has show us new side of Lake Natron in Tanzania. The pH value of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania is around 9 to 10.5 making it so alkaline that anything that touches the surface becomes preserved indefinitely. Any animal that immerses itself in the water, dies and then becomes calcified.
The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.
Photographer Nick Brandt, who has a long association with east Africa – he directed the video for Michael Jackson’s Earth Song there in 1995 – took a detour from his usual work when he discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline. “I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”