Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lake of Mummies

Lake Natron has accrued some amount of notoriety for its purported ability to turn any living creature that comes into contact with it a “living fossil.” This effect, while being somewhat overplayed in the media, has some basis in fact. It is not an instantaneous effect, but rather a gradual process. Animals that die here have the tendency to become petrified statues over time, a rare preservation phenomenon caused by the unique chemical makeup of the lake, which encrusts the carcasses with layers of salt, sodium carbonates, and sodium bicarbonates. The carcasses take on a chalky, stony appearance in a process somewhat similar to that undergone by Egyptian mummies.

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