The color of water is blue, isn’t it? Well, that’s what we think it is; and it seems nature doesn’t care about what we think, and could do as it pleases. Australia is bar none the most ecologically amazing place in the world, both flora and fauna — talk of kangaroo, quokka, koala; and the mysterious ‘bubblegum’ pink lakes, is also in a category of its own. How on Earth in the amazing name of nature is nature even capable of such a mystical stunt. As usual, with a little bit of science, you can unlock nature’s mysteries.
Related media: Pink Lake Mystery Solved!
The Pink Wonder
Lake Hillier is located on the Middle Island off the southern coast of Australia, some … from Sydney — and it’s one of Australia’s most famous pink lakes. In 2015, a team of scientists from the Extreme Microbiome Project (XMP) went on a quest to investigate the mystery behind the pink hue of Australia’s lakes. Previously, there was this speculation about the lakes’ color was due to it’s high salinity (salty content) or probably from micro algae — microscopic algae found in freshwater and marine systems.
The XMP scientists were desperately eager to know with certainty, the mystery behind such a mystical stunt by nature. They suspected the presence of certain extremophiles — any form of microbes that thrive in extreme conditions of temperature, acidity, alkalinity, or chemical concentrations. These were all possible signs present around Lake Hillier — and surely did fit the bill.
What’s Hidden In Pink
The scientists later collected water samples of the pink lake and performed a series of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis on whatever microbes they found. At long last, they discovered 10 different species of salt-loving bacteria and several other species of Dunaliella algae — all of which are some potential candidates that have tint of pink or red. Ta-da!
These samples were all probable agents of the lakes’ pink color, but surprisingly, they found something else even bizarre. There’s another single species of bacterium called Salinibacter ruber, of which the scientists found was responsible for 33 percent of all DNA collected. They even suspect that this bacterium is the most likely culprit behind the mystery of the pink color, and not microalgae.
Thinking Pink, You Better Sink In
This pink lake fits the bill of a diver’s Holy Grail, and oh my word, it is. Now take a minute to imagine yourself immersed in a “bubblegum” pink swimming pool. Despite the bacteria being what makes it pink in color, Lake Hillier is totally safe for a swim — if you’re wondering so. And as a matter of fact, the lake’s salinity content makes it so dense that you’d float — the way you would in the Dead Sea.
However, if that’s the case, you might be wondering: why don’t I see more Instagram filtered selfies of people swimming in it’s pinkness? Spoiler alert: Its a really long way getting there. Lake Hillier is on a tiny island, getting there is only by boat or helicopter. But if by all means you manage to get there, take a dive in that pink slurpy, and don’t forget to tag us if you share your photos. Good luck!
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Jun 24, 2019.