Tanzania’s Lake Natron is one of the most serene lakes in all of Africa, but it’s also the source of some of the most eerie photographs ever captured. You see, Lake Natron has a very deadly secret, it turns any animal it touches to stone.
This incredibly rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, the alkalinity of Lake Natron varies between pH 9 and pH 10.5. Which is so caustic it burns the skin and eyes of animals that get too close to the water, leaving behind something straight out of a horror film, as can be seen in these incredible shots captured by photographer Nick Brandt for his book, Across the Ravaged Land.
It should be noted the animals weren’t found in these haunting positions, here’s what Nick had to say:
I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. 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.