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Samples from Lonar lake sent for testing

Sight to behold: The colour of water turning pink in Lonar lake, with a mean diameter of 1.2 km in Buldhana district, has attracted locals, nature enthusiasts and scientists.

Sight to behold: The colour of water turning pink in Lonar lake, with a mean diameter of 1.2 km in Buldhana district, has attracted locals, nature enthusiasts and scientists.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

Research institutes to study strange phenomenon of water turning pink

A day after the colour of water in Lonar lake in Buldhana district turned pink, the State Forest Department has sent samples to National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in Nagpur and Agarkar Research Institute in Pune.

State Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod on Friday said the samples were collected and sent for testing after the phenomenon was observed on June 9. The Forest Department had appointed Dr. Milind Shirbhate, a professor at Shankarlal Khandelwal College, to collect the samples and sent them to the research institutes.

Geo-heritage monument

Formed after a meteorite hit the Earth some 50,000 years ago, Lonar lake has saline water and is a notified national geo-heritage monument. Located around 500 km from Mumbai, it is a popular tourist hub and also attracts scientists from all over the world.

As Lonar lake is located within a sanctuary, the Forest Department is responsible for its maintenance.

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

Mr. Rathod said some experts have attributed the change to the mixing of dunaliella algae with halo bacteria, forming a beta carotine pigment and turning the water pink.

He said, “There have been such instances in other parts of the world. In a lake in Iran, the water turns reddish due to increase in salinity. We are still studying the phenomenon, but it is certain that no artificial occurrence resulted in the change in colour.”

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 5:17:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/samples-from-lonar-lake-sent-for-testing/article31816780.ece

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