Lonar Lake India: A 50,000-year old lake in Maharashtra turned pink overnight, experts probe the cause

The colour of the 50,000-year old Lonar crater sanctuary lake in Buldhana district in Maharashtra recently turned pink leaving many locals surprised and become a hot topic today.

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Approximately 50,000 years ago, a meteorite traveling at about 11 miles per second slammed into India’s Deccan Plateau and The collision formed Lonar lake, also known as Lonar crater, Now It has changed to pink.

The colour of the 50,000-year old Lonar crater sanctuary lake turned pink
Image Credit Twitter @maha_tourism

Lonar lake located around 500 km from Mumbai in Buldhana district is a popular tourist hub and also attracts scientists from all over the world.

That was the question on people’s minds across India after Lonar Lake suddenly changed hues in recent days. What Caused It

Why the colour of Lonar Crater Lake has changed

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Located around 500 km from Mumbai, the Lonar lake in Buldhana district is a popular tourist hub and also attracts scientists from all over the world. Experts say this is not the first time the colour change has happened.

The colour of water in Maharashtra’s Lonar lake has changed to pink with experts attributing it to the salinity and presence of algae in the water body.

The lake, which is a notified national geo-heritage monument has saline water with a pH of 10.5, Gajanan Kharat, member of the Lonar lake conservation and development committee, told PTI.

“There are algae in the water body. The salinity and algae can be responsible for this change,” he said.

“There is no oxygen below one meter of the lake’s water surface. There is an example of a lake in Iran, where water becomes reddish due to an increase in salinity,” he noted.

Gajanan Kharat said the level of water in the Lonar lake is currently low as compared to the few past years and there is no rain to pour fresh water in it.

“The low level of water may lead to increased salinity and change in the behaviour of algae because of atmospheric changes…this may be the reason for colour change. This is not the first time that the colour of water has changed,” he said.

Dr Madan Suryavanshi, head of the geography department of Aurangabad’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, said looking at the scale of this colour change, “this can’t be a human intervention”.

“In case of a natural phenomenon, there are fungi which generally give a greenish colour to water most of the times. This (the current colour change) seems to be a biological change in the Lonar crater,” he said.

During the lockdown phase, there may not have been any disturbance to water which led to this change, he said.

“Season-wise changes occur in water and this might be the case with the Lonar lake. We can examine the change if we go there in a week…then we can say more about the change,” he said.

Here is a video by Mr.Gajanan Kharat, Geologist, explaining to us why the colour of Lonar Crater Lake has changed.

Know About Lonar Lake

Lonar Lake, also known as Lonar crater, is a notified National Geo-heritage Monument, saline, soda lake, located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra, India. Lonar Lake was created by an asteroid collision with earth impact during the Pleistocene Epoch. It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.

The crater’s age is usually estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years, although a study published in 2010 suggests an age of 570,000 ± 47,000 years.

Location of Lonar Lake

A series of small hills surround the basin, which has an oval shape, almost round, with a circumference at top of about five miles . The sides of the basin rise abruptly at an angle of about 75°. At the base of the sides, the lake has a circumference of about three miles.

Location: Buldhana district, Maharashtra, India

How to reach Lonar Crater Lake

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Lonar Lake was created by a meteor impact during the Pleistocene Epoch and is a prime tourist attraction in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Lonar is not very well connected to other cities. The best way to reach Lonar Lake is to reach Aurangabad, Aurangabad endeavors good connectivity of roads and highways to reach. Then One can hire a cab for a further journey to Lonar.

The nearest airport from Lonar Lake is Aurangabad Airport, located 157 km away.

History of Lonar Lake

The lake was first mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skanda Purana and the Padma Purana. The Ain-i-Akbari, a document written about 1600 CE, states “These mountains produce all the requisites for making glass and soap. And here are saltpetre works which yield a considerable revenue to the State, from the duties collected. On these mountains is a spring of salt water, but the water from the centre and the edges is perfectly fresh.”

The first European to visit the lake was a British officer, J.E. Alexander, in 1823.

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