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The water of Lonar lake in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district turned pink recently, leaving the public and scientists baffled. After some studies, it has been reported that the colour change can be attributed to the presence of haloarchaea microbes in the salty water.
Haloarchaea or halophilic archaea is a bacteria culture that creates pink pigment and exists in saline water, said Dr. Prashant Dhakephalkar of Agharkar Research Institute in a statement recently.
It all began in June when the state forest department informed the Bombay High Court that the water samples of the lake were gathered and sent for investigation at the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEER) as well as the Agharkar Research Institute in Pune.
Dr. Dhakephalkar also said that they also found an incident relating the bacteria and the colour to flamingos visiting the lake. “The plumage of the flamingo is reddish in colour. These bacteria, which produce a pink pigment, are ingested by these birds and they get carotenoid-rich food. So, before we noticed it, these flamingos might have noticed the red colour at the lake and landed there,” he said.
Lonar lake, also known as the Lonar crater, is an oval-shaped lake inside the Lonar sanctuary. It’s a notified National Geo-Heritage monument with a diameter of 1.2 Km. Formed after a meteorite hit nearly 50,000 years ago, it is one of the only four known, hypervelocity impact craters on Earth.
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