Maharashtra’s Lonar lake turns pink; locals, experts baffled

Lonar lake, also known as Lonar crater, was formed after a meteorite hit the Earth some 50,000 years ago.
The Lonar lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra (Photo | Twitter/ oiseaulibre3)
The Lonar lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra (Photo | Twitter/ oiseaulibre3)

MUMBAI: The colour of water in Maharashtra's Lonar lake, also known as Lonar crater, which was formed after a meteorite hit the Earth some 50,000 years ago, has changed to pink.

The change in colour of water of the lake, having a mean diameter of 1.2 km, has not only surprised locals, but also nature enthusiasts and scientists.

Buldhana Collector Suman Rawat Chandra tweeted saying that the Lonar lake water turning pink is the wonder of nature. When contacted, she said that every year during the rainy season, the lake water turns reddish. However, this year it turned pink.

“Water in the crater lakes of Canada and Navi Mumbai creek too has turned pink. But we have collected the sample of the water from Lonar Lake and given to National Environment Research Institute (NEERI) for further scientific testing. Once we get the report, we will able to tell the exact reason behind the change in colour,” said Chandra.

Experts say this is not the first time that the colour change has happened. “Last year, the water of this lake had turned reddish. The water level of this lake is always fluctuating. Again, the salinity and algae in the water causing the change in colour. Due to the evaporation of water, the salinity on the water has increased. The colour will soon turn normal when the lake gets rainwater,” said Santosh Jadhav, member of Lonar Lake Conservation Group.

"Low water level along with an increase in salinity and change in the behaviour of algae due to atmospheric changes could be behind the change in the colour of water," another member of the conservation group Gajanan Kharat said.

Head of the geography department of Aurangabad's Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University Dr Madan Suryavanshi said, "This (the current colour change) seems to be a biological change in the Lonar crater." he said. During the lockdown phase, there was no disturbance to the lake and that could have changed the colour, he said.

Located around 500 km from Mumbai, the lake in Buldhana district is a popular tourist hub and also attracts scientists from all over the world.

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