The Colorful Waters of the World
Whether you want to drink it or just splash it around, the color of water can matter. That’s because it can tell you a lot about its quality.
In the natural world, sediment and organics often color water shades of brown or green. And if iron ions are present, even drinking water can have a brown hue.
Lake Natron in Africa’s Great Rift Valley is one of the world’s most caustic lakes, but it also offers a refuge to creatures who thrive in its alkaline waters. The toxic mix of sodium and high temperatures attracts some species, such as a endemic fish and Lesser Flamingoes, which flock to the 57-km-long (35-mi) shallow lake in the Arusha Region of Kenya’s Northern Province.
The alkalinity of the lake’s water comes from a dense concentration of different kinds of sodium – Trona and Natron – which was formed as a result of active evaporation over thousands of years. But it’s not just the toxicity that makes this body of water dangerous: It’s also its ability to turn dead animals into stone.
A series of photographs by wildlife photographer Nick Brandt reveals that animals that fall into the water in the dry season are often left mummified on the surface of the salt crust. The calcified remains are so perfect that they look like statues, and the lake is believed to be a haunted place.
Unlike many other alkaline lakes, Lake Natron actually derives its chemical reds and oranges from cyanobacteria that flourish in the alkaline environment. These microorganisms make their own food with photosynthesis just like plants do. They also produce a red pigment that gives the deep reds of open water and the bright orange colors of shallow areas of the lake.
These salt-loving cyanobacteria have also aided in the development of Lesser Flamingo nests, which breed in large numbers on Colorful Water the shores of Lake Natron. About 2.5 million flamingos are believed to inhabit the region, which is regarded as one of their only breeding grounds in East Africa.
The cyanobacteria’s growth in Lake Natron has made it the perfect environment for Lesser Flamingoes, who use the lake as a nursery and feed on its algae to raise their young. The saline environment also provides a safe haven from predators, which makes the lake one of the most popular places for Lesser Flamingoes to mate and nest in East Africa.
This unique environment is protected by the government of Tanzania as a wetland area, which means it’s not open to fishing, hunting or any other human activities. However, logging and a proposed hydroelectric power plant threaten the delicate balance of salt in the lake, which is crucial for the survival of Lesser Flamingoes.
Grand Prismatic Spring
One of the most beautiful and surreal natural sights in Yellowstone National Park is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which has a remarkable kaleidoscope of colors. It’s a truly breathtaking sight and one of the reasons why many people visit Yellowstone every year.
It is the third largest hot spring in the world, expelling approximately 560 gallons of water per minute.
The kaleidoscopic color of the spring’s edges is caused by heat-loving bacteria called thermophiles, which are able to thrive at extremely high temperatures. They live beneath the bubbling surface of the spring, and together they create a spectacular display of colorful rings.
There are two main ways to see the dazzling kaleidoscope of colors: from ground level or from an overlook. Both offer incredible views, but the overlook is a much more dramatic and unique perspective.
To get to the Overlook, drive 1.6 miles (2.5 km) south from the Midway Geyser Basin at the Fairy Falls Parking Lot. From there, walk over a bridge to the boardwalk and begin walking along the Firehole River.
When you get close, the colors around the edge of the spring resemble a light prism and can be seen in blue, green, yellow, orange, and red bands. The outer bands are cooler and attract different species of microorganisms that create the varying shades of color within each band.
The color in the outer bands of the spring changes by season depending on weather and water temperature. In summer, the microbial mats are vibrant with a rainbow of hues, while in winter the colors can be more muted.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, a combination of the bacteria’s ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and the temperature of the water in the spring favors certain bacterial populations over others. This creates a variety of microbial mats that rely on sunlight to make their own pigments and grow to produce the kaleidoscope of colors in the Grand Prismatic Spring.
The best time to view the colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring is between May and September. This is the period of the year that most visitors visit the park, and you’ll be able to see these stunning colors at their peak.
Lake Champlain is a beautiful body of water that sits in a picturesque valley between Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondacks to the west. It is the eighth largest naturally occurring body of freshwater in the United States, covering 435 square miles and containing more than 70 islands.
The Lake is bordered by the Canadian province of Quebec on the north and the states of Vermont and New York on the south. It is a waterway that flows into eight mountain rivers in the two states, and is connected to New York’s Hudson River via the man-made Champlain Canal.
As you travel around the Lake, it is easy to see that the area is home to many quaint towns and villages filled with great fishing, relaxing places to stay, and main street charm. Colorful Water This region is also full of beautiful scenery, natural wonders, and unique historic sites that make it a must-visit destination.
Whether you’re traveling to the region for fall foodie tours or a family vacation, there is something for everyone. Stunning views of the Adirondack High Peaks and wild forest meet farmland on the shores of this gorgeous, scenic lake, giving you a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
The geologic history of the Lake is a treasure trove of surprises, from the oldest fossil coral reef in the world to a 10,000 year old beluga whale to young mountains made of ancient rocks. The geologic profile of the entire valley is a feast for geologists, and with that comes plenty of scientific research to help us understand the area’s unique ecosystem and the impacts it has on humans.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the Lake is important for a variety of ecological reasons, as well as cultural ones. For example, the lake is an ideal source of drinking water for both Vermont and New York. And because the Lake is so close to major population centers, the people who live in its vicinity have a strong interest in helping protect the lake for future generations.
Lake Tahoe, located along the California and Nevada border, is one of America’s most popular holiday destinations. Known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning landscape, the lake’s renowned blue hue is a sight to behold.
In addition to its spectacular natural beauty, the lake has a rich history and is home to many nationally recognized events. From music festivals to concerts and food pairings, there’s something for everyone here.
For people looking to soak up some sunshine, there are several beaches in the area where you can enjoy a picnic or just hang out. Some of the most popular areas are Sand Harbor State Park in North Lake Tahoe, D.L. Bliss State Park in South Lake Tahoe, and Kings Beach on the Northern side of the lake.
There are also several ski resorts in the area that provide opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Snow tubing is very popular in the winter, and Squaw Valley is one of the best places for it. Cross country skiing is another popular sport, and you can find several trails for it throughout the area.
A large portion of the watershed in Lake Tahoe is protected by national forest land. This is a significant benefit to the public because it allows visitors to explore pristine wilderness areas without worrying about pollution.
Although Lake Tahoe is a natural wonder, there are still a number of environmental issues that affect it. The most important is the degradation of its water clarity, which is primarily due to the fine sediment particles in the water. However, other factors such as nutrient concentrations and the proliferation of algae also contribute to the decline in deep-water clarity.
The main culprit for this degradation is stormwater runoffs from urban areas, which represent more than 70% of the total sediment load the lake receives. The reduction of stormwater runoffs from urban areas can help to restore lake clarity.
Water clarity is an important measure of the health of the lake, and it can be improved by reducing the amount of sediment and phosphorus that enters it through stormwater runoffs from urban areas. The lake’s clarity is linked to its ecological characteristics, including suspended materials (such as fine sediment particles and phytoplankton), as well as conditions suitable for fish.