Published On: Wed, Aug 15th, 2012

Lake in France Turns to Red Due to High Salt Concentration (Photo)

Have you ever seen a lake which turned to red? Perhaps the images in the biblical story of Moses come into your mind. However, this is not an extraordinary sighting but a result of a natural phenomenon.

A lake in France located in the southern part in Camargue has turned to red. The Camargue is a wetland region along the French Mediterranean Coast known for the naturally-high salt content in the water, and for the most ferocious mosquitoes in all of France.

Patricia Estebe of Camargue’s tourist office explained the natural phenomenon of the lake turning into red. “This phenomenon is a result of the salt content in brine shrimp Artemia salina and algae Dunaliella salina. When the salt concentration is very high — which is the case before harvest — the brine shrimp die and saline algae proliferates giving this unusual colour,” she said.

Lake in Camargue France Turns Red Due to Salt
Image Credit: China News

Michael Danson, an expert in extremophile bacteria from Bath University also explained about the unusual red color of the lake. “The strawberry color is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina. They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink. Lakes like Retba and the Dead Sea, which have high salt concentrations, were once thought to be incompatible with life – hence the names. But they are very much alive,” he told the Daily Mail.

For many outsiders, a sighting like this is extraordinary. Russian photographer Sam Dobson was one of those foreigners who sighted the lake and captured some images of it.

“Every small branch is covered with crystals with the red water as a background it looks like something extra-terrestrial. I was just overwhelmed with emotions the whole time I was there. Despite my numerous travels, I have never seen anything like this before,” he told The Sun explaining his feeling when he first saw it.

Dunaliella salina, the algae responsible for the red color of the lake, is the subject of studies among various groups because of its anti-oxidant due to its ability to create large amount of carotenoids. Studies on commercial biological production are now being done to be used in dietary supplements and cosmetics.

About the Author

- is one of the photo journalists of Dateline. She runs some photo blogging sites and contributes pictures in major news sites for publication. Aside from photography, she also loves to cook and take pictures of her homemade recipe.

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  1. […] are several reasons why a sea or river turns to red. Last month, we reported a lake in France which turned red due to high concentration of salt. Experts say that it is caused by a salt-loving algae called […]

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