Why has Lonar Lake in Maharashtra turned pink

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The Lonar lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra is one of the most popular lakes in the country. It is believed that the oval-shaped lake, which has brackish water, was formed after a huge asteroid collided with earth about 52,000 years ago. Now the spotlight is on Lonar Lake, world's only saltwater lake in the basaltic rock, as its water has turned pink.

A favourite destination of tourists

The lake, which is surrounded by lush green forest, is a sought after tourist spot. The region's flora and fauna are astounding and one can find a number of owls, ducks, and peacocks in the area. Many people come to the lake to watch the beautiful sunset. Other main attraction is the Kamalja Mata temple near the lake.

Scientists' explanation

According to experts, the lake's water turned pink due to the presence of Haloarchaea microbes in brackish water. The scientists further explain that the microbes, which thrive in salty water, produce a pink pigment that changes the colour of the water to pink.

The state forest department had informed the Bombay High Court that water samples from the lake were sent to the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and Agharkar Research Institute in Pune for testing and further investigation.

The scientists point out that the change in water colour is not a permanent phenomenon. As per the lab investigations, the water will be clear once the microbes move underwater from the surface of the lake. The plumage of flamingos that regularly flock to the lake also turned pink as they feed on carotenoid-rich food.

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