The Secret Behind Senegal's Pink Lake

By Meera Dolasia on June 7, 2012

CCSS NAS-1 NAS-3 Word Search

The water in Senegal's Lake Retba always seems to have a pinkish hue to it. However, catch it during the dry summer months when the saline levels are high and you will see it turn strawberry pink and sometimes, even red. The good news is that color is not the result of chemicals being dumped in the lake but nature, working its magical tricks!

Located in the Cape Vert Peninsula that lies north east of Senegal's capital Dakar, the lake's unusual appearance is caused by a salt-loving green micro alga called Dunaliella Salina that resides in the lake, known for its high concentration of the mineral.

As you can imagine, very few organisms can survive in such highly saline conditions. The only reason this single-celled organism is able to do so, is because of its ability to create large amounts of Beta-Carotene, that helps protect it against the intense light that reflects off the salt and also gives the algae its dark pink hue.

While the color may make the lake appear eerie and unsafe, the micro organism is safe not only to swim amidst, but also, consume - Good news for the locals that are constantly wading in to mine the salt. In fact, the algae are so rich in antioxidants that they are often harvested and used in cosmetics and dietary supplements.

 

This is not the only tiny organism able to transform water hues. In San Diego,CA and many other parts of the world, high concentrations of phytoplankton during certain time of the year, help turn the ocean waters a bright red during the day and an even cooler bioluminescent blue, at night!

Resources:amusingplanet.com, dailymail.co.uk

Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
237 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • kell-bell
    kell-bellTuesday, November 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm
    O_O I WANT TO SWIM IN IT AND LIVE HAPPY EVER AFTER
    • spinnypeeps
      spinnypeepsTuesday, November 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm
      1. That is extremely awesome. 2. Can somebody please explain to me why people say that pink is the new black or green is the new black? Because how can such a cheery, ice-creamy color like pink be the new BLACK?
      • sherlockcutepup
        sherlockcutepupWednesday, November 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm
        you are right Spinnypeeps
      • mishaalTuesday, November 18, 2014 at 5:02 am
        awesome
        • coolnicki477
          coolnicki477Monday, November 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm
          PINK IS THE NEW BLACK!!
        • nikukyu
          nikukyuMonday, November 17, 2014 at 4:18 am
          Strawberry😋
          • colorfunThursday, November 13, 2014 at 8:25 am
            is the pink water deathly
            • sherlockcutepup
              sherlockcutepupWednesday, November 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm
              uhhhh...i do not know
            • cute-polish5674
              cute-polish5674Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:41 am
              That cool :-)
              • littlemissy
                littlemissyThursday, November 6, 2014 at 9:16 am
                I don't like the color pink but it looks alright
                • hackforce
                  hackforceWednesday, October 22, 2014 at 9:54 am
                  is this safe???
                  • ikyra_marie
                    ikyra_marieMonday, November 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm
                    yup! It just has a high level of minerals in there. It's not from chemicals. It might dry your skin out though.
                  • robertTuesday, October 21, 2014 at 8:20 am
                    that is cool

                    Vocabulary

                    algaalgaeantioxidantsbeta-carotenedietaryhuesphytoplanktonsaline

                    Geography

                    Most Popular Articles

                    Video Of The Week - Are Lions Losing Their Edge?
                    World's Biggest Spider Weighs As Much As A Newborn Puppy
                    Just In Time For Halloween - A Real-Life Ghostbuster!
                    Veterans Day - Honoring All Who Served
                    Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject In School? Sweet!
                    Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (And The World)!
                    Are You Ready To 'Gangnam Style'?
                    Video Of The Week - If Frozen Was A Horror Movie . . .

                    Latest Comments

                    bearbear
                    bearbear wrote:

                    the baby elephant beat the lion!...
                    Video Of The Week - Are Lions Lo...

                    Mustangs R #1 wrote:

                    Wow! Go Hercules! I'm glad he ou...
                    Video Of The Week - Are Lions Lo...

                    ALA