Look at these photographs of calcified animals!
It is surely the most horrific depiction of the “bird of peace” since Picasso’s Guernica.
Lake Natron is situated in Tanzania and is everything but hospitable: its water temperatures can reach 60 °C, and its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5. Yes, pretty harsh!
Natron, so the name of the lake, is a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. In this arid region of Africa, it has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley.
As shown by the amazing photographs of Nick Brandt, animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified, yes they are like petrified and perfectly preserved.
No one actually knows with certainty how they die. High temperatures and salinity play of course a major part, but the extreme reflective nature of the lake‘s surface could also play an important role by confusing birds.
So like crashing into a glass windows, they crash into the lake.
You can find the Brandt’s new collection of photos featuring animals in east Africa in ACROSS THE RAVAGED LAND. A nice gift for any nature lovers!
Find more about Nick Brandt and his work on Artsy.