A lake full of Pepto Bismal? Australia’s Lake Hillier – a bubble-gum pink wonder that scientists have yet to unravel
// April 12th, 2013 // Illusions
From above, Lake Hillier, located on the edge of Recherche Archipelago’s largest island in Australia, looks to be filled with Pepto Bismal. It’s bubble-gum pink waters are so unusual, airlines report passengers getting up from their seats and crowding around windows to get a peek of the stunningly beautiful natural wonder. Scientists are unsure why its waters retain their rose pink color but believe it may be from a dye created by the organisms living in the lake – Dunaliella salina and Halobacteria. Another theory proposes that the pink color might be attributed to the presence of red halophilic bacteria in the salt crusts. What they do know is that the bright pink waters are no illusion. The water retains its pink hue when taken away in containers.
The earliest records mentioning the existence of Lake Hillier are found in the journals of Matthew Flinders, a British navigator. In 1802, Flinders climbed the Middle Island’s highest peak (subsequently named Flinders Peak) to survey the surrounding waters and discovered the unusual pink lake. Hillier has been pretty much untouched by human hand ever since.
The lake is about 650 yards long (600 meters) and is surrounded by a strip of salt-crusted sand and a dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. A narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separates it to the north from the Southern Ocean.
Although you wouldn’t guess it by looking, but the waters are indeed safe to swim in, albeit a bit salty.
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