Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Urban Legends: The Basiliscus Lake

lago-che-pietrifica 1Instantly petrified animals? Not caused by mythological snakes, but by a lake with the very atypical ability to fossilize anyone who touch it. Although scientists reassure there is an explanation.
If you find yourself in Tanzania and see a petrified animal, then you are near Lake Natron, a salt water source with the dark red color. According to many legends of the area, it seems that the Lake has the power to petrify animals that touch its water. Undoubtedly it is a very imaginative story, but doesn't coincide with reality. In fact, there are many researchers who have analyzed the chemical properties of the lake without finding any unusual behavior. Of course it must be said the percentage of salt in the water is abnormal, (causing its red colour) due to the high rate of sodium.
lago-che-pietrifica 2The Lake also contains a high amount of Natron (hydrated sodium carbonate), which, besides giving the name to the source, makes the water extremely toxic and harmful to anyone who even try to savour it. However neither soda or natron presence have the capability or the power to petrify. These can rather dry the bodies; so much so that they were used by the ancient Egyptians in mummification practices. Therefore the "petrified" animals found in or near the lake are nothing but mummified corpses. The theory has been proven also thanks to a documentary that shows the presence of actual life in the waters of the lake, location of flamingos nesting.

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