Lake Natron’s Deadly Catch


Lake Natron in Tanzania is not a place of life and nourishment. This extremely alkaline lake is deadly to life, and calcifies the animals that happen upon it, turning them into dramatic statues like something out of a fantasy book.  These fabulous photos are from Nick Brandt and his book, Across the Ravaged Land. Via Gizmodo and New Scientist:



I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.

I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.

Calcified Fish Eagle

Calcified Bat IICalcified Swallow