The Secret Behind Senegal's Pink Lake

By Meera Dolasia on June 7, 2012

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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

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256 Comments
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  • Pink divaThursday, March 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm
    LOVE IT OMG PINK AWSOME
    • colorfunFriday, February 27, 2015 at 8:14 am
      wow
      • love2swim
        love2swimWednesday, February 25, 2015 at 1:36 pm
        awesome
        • djcool123
          djcool123Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm
          wow that is so col
          • too pink Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:59 am
            Its a great place to visit......
            • Seriously Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 7:48 am
              its really pink OMG!
              • pink Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 4:48 am
                I've been there is was a magical place to visit
                • nail polishSunday, February 8, 2015 at 7:20 am
                  The colour is really PINK....
                  • nail polishSunday, February 8, 2015 at 7:18 am
                    omg the colour is Pink...
                    • 232Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 6:42 am
                      I wish I could swim in that PINK water!!

                      Vocabulary

                      algaalgaeantioxidantsbeta-carotenedietaryhuesphytoplanktonsaline

                      Geography

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