A Bloody Red Lake

red lake
Image from freetraveltalks.com

This is Lake Tuz, the second largest lake in Turkey. If you look at the picture, it seems like there’s nothing wrong with the lake. Wait until you see this:

lake in red
Image from infinitelegroom.com

You might think that a bloodbath has happened –but no. This is just a natural occurrence caused by the bloom of algae – Dunaliella salina. The lake is naturally whitish in colour due to its high salinity; but, when the algae bloom, it turns the lake’s colour into deep crimson making it appear bloody.

Lake Tuz is among the largest bodies of water in the world that is hypersaline – meaning, it’s super salty. You will see in the image that there are white areas on the shoreline. These white areas are the salt deposits coming from the lake.

bloody lake
Image from infinitelegroom.com

The bloom of algae happens seasonally even Lake Tuz is only a lake for half a year. During the dry season, water from Lake Tuz evaporates in which it turns into a salt flat surface. When the rainy season comes, the water also comes back.

The lake also becomes a home for migratory birds. In fact, Lake Tuz is home to the largest colony of flamingos in the Mediterranean Basin. It has been deemed by UNESCO as a protective area last 2010.

flamingo
Image from Daily Sabah

The flamingos don’t seem to care about the crimson colour of the lake. Dunaliella salina algae aren’t harmful though. The flamingos even eat the red algae causing a pink hue colour in their feathers.

This natural occurrence is really amazing. It may appear like some scary phenomenon but it’s just part of nature’s wonders.

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