Extreme cyanobacteria in the lake that turns its dead into stone

Fascinating post talking about the science behind the art.

New Under The Sun Blog

Some eerily beautiful images of animals turned to stone have been making their rounds around science news outlets and social media over the last couple of weeks. These black and white images are the work of Nick Brandt in his book “Across the Ravaged Land.”* At first glance they may lead you to believe that a lake in eastern Africa is so caustic that simple contact can turn animals to stone. This isn’t entirely true. It’s certainly true that the conditions in the lake will ossify animals that die there, but these stone corpses have been positioned in seemingly lifelike poses for artistic effect only. In fact, these black and white images do not do justice to the truly colorful landscape of Lake Natron.

While shallow Lake Natron is an extreme environment with a pH greater than 10 and water temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it…

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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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