Hard as a Rock-tober: This Lake Turns Creatures to Stone

Calcified Bat--Copyright Nick Brandt 2013, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NYThese are incredible, nature-made mummies—or really nature-petrified—and photographer Nick Brandt captured many more in unforgettable pictures.Read Breanna Drexler's Discover article for those and more information about Tanzania's Lake Natron, constituted of:

sodium carbonate decahydrate (soda ash) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The lake is fed by mineral hot springs and a river, but no water flows out except through evaporation.

As a result, the caustic waters create deadly outcomes.

The lake's waters can reach temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. During dry spells the pH can rise to 10.5, just shy of the alkalinity of ammonia. Sometimes the mineral to water ratio is so high that the water becomes almost thick to the touch.

The existing lake is a poisonously concentrated remnant of what used to be a huge, freshwater lake 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.

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