‘Medusa’ Lake Turns Animals to Stone



In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster with the face of a human female and a head of venomous snakes for hair. Gazing directly upon her would turn any creature to stone.

In northern Tanzania, Lake Natron has had similar effects—on birds in particular. As part of his latest book, Across the Ravaged Land, award-winning photographer Nick Brandt explains:

“I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. 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…

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