4 Oct 2013

Keanehan Tasik Natron

Tasik Yang Mematikan ...

Tidak semua tasik berisi air yang segar, salah satunya sebuah tasik mematikan di Tanzania, Afrika Timur, Tiada siapa yang tahu dengan pasti bagaimana haiwan-haiwan itu mati, binatang yang yang tenggelam dalam air tasik di dalamnya, akan menjadi batu.

Dengan suhu di tasik boleh mencapai 60°C, dan kealkalian adalah antara pH 9 dan pH 10.5., Tasik Natron mempunyai kealkalian yang tinggi akibat pengumpulan abu gunung berapi dari lembah Great Rift.

Jurugambar Nick Brandt, yang memiliki hubungan panjang dengan Afrika timur - dan merupakan pengarah video Michael Jackson Earth Song ada pada tahun 1995 - keluar dari rutin pekerjaannya apabila menemui bangkai burung dan kelawar yang sempurna diawetkan  di pantai tasik Natron.

"Saya tidak dapat membantu tetapi hanya merakamkan mereka," katanya.

"Tidak ada yang tahu pasti punca mereka mati, tapi nampaknya sifat reflektif ekstrim dari permukaan tasik membingungkan mereka, dan seperti burung merempuh jendela kaca, mereka merrempuh tasik" jelas Nick Brandt.

Koleksi foto terbaru Brandt termuat dalam bukunya Across The Ravaged Land yang diterbitkan oleh Abrams Books.

The bird mummies of Natron: Lake's waters petrify animals that fall in
Nidhi Subbaraman NBC New

The Rift Valley's Lake Natron is the chosen mating ground of the endangered lesser flamingo. The long-legged waterfowl may flourish, but to any other living creature, Lake Natron is hell on earth. The lake's steeply alkaline waters are a graveyard for thousands of small birds. Wildlife photographer Nick Brandt used the corpses littering the Tanzanian lake shores as posed models for a haunting new series of photographs.

Natron is usually a toasty 80 degrees Fahrenheit and blood-red from bacteria, the only living things that can survive its deadly alkalinity. Lately, it's earned a reputation for washing up the bodies of small animals on its shores, each wrapped in a delicate crusty shroud.

Brandt was captivated by startlingly well-preserved bodies of bats, flamingos, eagles and swallows, and created a whole series of photographs to document the eerie phenomenon.

"I unexpectedly found the creatures — all manner of birds and bats — washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania," Brandt told NBC News in an email. "I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in 'living' positions, bringing them back to 'life.'"

Brandt's photographs are on display at the Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in New York City and will be published in a photo anthology by Abrams Books.

Brandt's photographs have been making their way around the Web, but he's just scratched the surface. The lake is chock full of thousands more well-preserved carcasses — it's so alkaline, creatures that die and fall in don't decompose and wither, they simply get pickled.

"If a body falls anywhere else it decomposes very quickly, but on the edge of the lake, it just gets encrusted in salt and stays forever," David Harper, an ecologist at the University of Leicester who has visited Lake Natron four times, told NBC News.

Small birds or bats that try and fail to cross the 12- by 30-mile lake fall in, as do insects like beetles and locusts. Water levels fluctuate easily because it's so hot — when the levels drop, the corpses are left behind on the shores, coated in salt, exactly how Brandt found them.

How did the lake get this hostile? The "salt" in it isn't the regular table variety harvested from seawater, but magmatic limestone that's been forged deep in the Earth, poured out in runny lava flows and blasted into the air to become ash clouds 10 miles high.

The culprit is Ol Doinyo Lengai, a million-year old volcano just south of Lake Natron. It's a favorite among petrologists because it's the only one of its kind, Hannes Mattsson, a researcher at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich, told NBC News. Other volcanoes usually spew silicates, but the Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only one on the planet that spills "natrocarbonatites" as cool, runny, dark washes.

Ashy runoff collected by rainwater winds up in the lake, which explains why the washed-up animals look like they've been dropped in a bucket of cement. The water would "strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds," Brandt said.

The deadliness of Lake Natron is exactly what makes it a peaceful mating spot for the flamingos. Except for one extreme-living bacterium, nothing lives in the eerily still Natron, which drives away other larger animals that would stop by to feed or fish.

So, after feasting on spirulina algae from nearby lagoons, the flamingos flock to this barren wasteland. If the water level's just right, they court on the temporary salt islands and make mud nests from volcanic dust. Even in a good year, some flamingos that make the trip will die. If they fall into the lake, that's where they'll stay, encased in salty cement, until Natron decides it's time to let them go.

Source :  NBC News Science

Nick Brandt

Nick Brandt is a photographer who photographs exclusively in Africa, one of his goals being to record a last testament to the wild animals and places there before they are destroyed by the hands of man

Born in 1966 and raised in London, England, Brandt studied Painting, and then Film at Saint Martin's School of Art. He moved to the United States in 1992 and directed many award-winning music videos for the likes of Michael Jackson (Earth Song, Stranger in Moscow, Cry), Moby, Jewel (singer), XTC, Badly Drawn Boy).
It was while directing "Earth Song", a music video for Jackson in Tanzania, in 1995 that Brandt fell in love with the animals and land of East Africa. Over the next few years, frustrated that he could not capture on film his feelings about and love for animals, he realized there was a way to achieve this through photography, in a way that he felt no-one had really done before.

In 2000, Brandt embarked upon his ambitious photographic project: a trilogy of books to memorialize the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa.

His photography bears little relation to the colour documentary-style wildlife photography that is the norm. He photographs on medium-format black and white film without telephoto or zoom lenses. (He uses a Pentax 67II with only two fixed lenses.) His work is a combination of epic panoramas of animals within dramatic landscapes (for example, Hippos on the Mara River, Masai Mara, 2006; Cheetah & Cubs Lying on Rock, Serengeti 2007), and graphic portraits more akin to studio portraiture of human subjects from the early 20th Century, as if these animals were already long dead (Elephant Drinking, Amboseli, 2007

Across The Ravaged Land, the final part of the trilogy

The completion of Nick Brandt’s trilogy: “On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across The Ravaged Land.” Release date, September 3, 2013 (Abrams Books, 2013), documents the disappearing natural world and animals of East Africa. This is the third and final volume of Nick Brandt's work which reveals the darker side of his vision of East Africa’s animal kingdom and the juxtaposition of mankind. The trilogy marks the last decade of a stunning world of the beauty of East Africa’s Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and ends with a dark and well-known unhappy ending.

“Across The Ravaged Land” introduces humans in his photography for the first time exhibiting the cost of poachers, killing for profit. One such example is Ranger with Tusks of Killed Elephant, Amboseli 2011. This photograph features one of the rangers employed by Big Life Foundation, the Foundation that Nick Brandt started in 2010. The ranger holds the tusks of an elephant killed by poachers in the years prior to the Foundation's inception

Ranger with Tusks of Killed Elephant, 2011

Brandt captures the trophies in these epic landscapes and the images of perfectly preserved creatures calcified by the salts of the Rift Valley soda lake. In both instances, the creatures appear in an ethereal animated state seemingly posing for their portraits.


Tasik Natron

Lake Natron

Ol Doinyo Lengai & Lake Natron, Tanzania 


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