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Pink Lake Hillier in Australia


Can this be real??

The answer to that is ... YES!!  This is the pink Lake Hillier that is found in Australia.  Recently, in my Biology 1 classes, we were studying the characteristics of algae and other protists.  Algae are classified according to their color, and we were discussing the fact that the algae produce pigments of various colors.  There are green algae, brown algae, red algae, yellow-green algae, etc.  Most of us are extremely familiar with the green "pond-scum" that we commonly see in our local lakes, streams and ponds, so I wanted to give my students some examples that would be less familiar to them.

As a result, I did a little googling to see what I could find to use in my classes. I immediately zeroed in on this pink lake.  It didn't take much research to quickly realize that there are quite a few of these pink lakes around the world, and the exact cause of the "pinkness" is not completely agreed upon.

Lake Hillier seems to be the most famous of these pink lakes.  In quick and easy reading format, here are the facts:

  • Lake Hillier is located on Middle Island.  This is one of the largest islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago in Western Australia.
  • The lake is about 600 meters (2,000 feet) long and about 250 meters (820 feet) wide.
  • The lake is surrounded by a rim of sand, with a narrow strip of vegetation separating it from the Southern Ocean.
  • When viewed up close the color of the water is not as vibrant as when viewed from the air, but the pink color is permanent and is not a trick of the light.  When a sample is taken into a container it retains the pink color.
  • Lake Hillier is a salt water lake.  As a result, only two forms of life have been discovered living in its waters.  One is the algae known as 
    Dunaliella salina , and the other is a halophilic (salt-loving) bacteria.  These organisms produce carotenoids, giving the water a bubble gum pink color.
  • The salt content of the lake is comparable to the Dead Sea at about 40%
  • Although very salty, it is perfectly safe to swim in Lake Hillier.  The only problem is that it is very hard to get there!  Travel to the lake by helicopter is the most common method of travel.
  • Other pink lakes are found in Senegal, Canada, Spain and Azerbaijan.
Thanks for stopping by, and have fun teaching!

2 comments:

Winter said...

This is very cool! I never knew that there were pink lakes around the world. I like that you said there are other colors as well since only most of us know about green algae. It would be fun to go and see one of these but I guess that would not be easy. I am very surprised you can actually swim in it though. It would be great to see. Very Interesting!

Foredi said...

This is great post, cause inspired for me. Thank for sharing and goodluck