Our dear little planet has a fantastic range of ecological oddities and systems, so there is much to behold once we leave our concrete jungles. Skyscrapers turn to mountains, lamp posts into towering trees, and drab puddles spill out to become vast lakes. In this piece, it is the latter that interests us, so we’ll take a closer look at some of the stranger pools of water floating about.
Laguna Colorada, Boliva.
Part of the Los Lipez Ramsar Wetlands high up in the Andes of Boliva, Laguna Colorada is known for its deep red colouring dotted with white borax islands. This is caused by sedimentary pigments blending with species of Algae, and once the Flamingos have flocked to the shore, creates a most peculiar effect of red, pink, and white.
Boiling lake, Dominica
Reaching temperatures of 92C, Boiling Lake at the Morne Trois Pitons national park, Dominica certainly lives up to its name. The greyish blue water is enveloped in a cloud of vapour and is heated to such scalding heights by the lava flow below. The 8.1 mile trail leading to the Boiling lake passes on through to the aptly named ‘Valley of Desolation’, and the bubbling water and boiling steam certainly create a beautiful, if not Dantean atmosphere.
Don Juan Pond, Antarctica
When temperatures hit -50C and the air around it seems to freeze, Lake Don Juan remains liquid. This large pond in the Antarctic desert is just a few kilometers from Lake Vanda, in the Wright Valley. Although only 10 Cm deep Don Juan, which has a salt content 18 times that of seawater, has been vital for scientific research, especially concerning exploration of Mars and is only a little bit easier to reach than the red planet.
Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan
Not normally a country known for doing things by halves, Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan is part seawater part freshwater, divided neatly by a strait. The Bektau-Ata mountain range which borders the lake provides a stunning backdrop to the roaming Balkhash territory.
Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
Like many things in New Zealand Lake Pukaki has a strong link to Peter Jackson, and was used as a filming location in ‘The Hobbit’. A glacial lake with water coming from the Aoraki Mt Cook mountainous park, it contains glacial flour which gives it a shocking blue colour that just begs to be swum in.
Lake Hillier, New Zealand
Like red but not quite, Pink is the colour of Lake Hillier on the edge of Middle Island, New Zealand. Only accessible by boat or (our preferred way) helicopter, Lake Hillier resembles a giant bubblegum from the air but upon closer inspection is a shimmering pale pink. The sole inhabitant of the lake, Dunaliella Salina, is a micro-organism that reacts with the salt to create the pink-red dye which despite appearances is safe to swim in.
Spotted Lake, Canada
Known to the First Nations of Okanagan Valley as Kliluk, Canada’s Spotted Lake remains an revered healing site for Indigenous people as well as a popular tourist attraction. In summer dense deposits of minerals cause the dappled patterning across the surface that gives the Spotted Lake its name and on occasion the pools change to green and reds, whilst in Winter the lake resumes it guise as something normal.
Lake Manicouagan, Canada
Lake Manicouagan is quite literally other worldly, and not for its eerie eye like shape. Around 12 million years ago, a 3 mile asteroid plummeted down from space and onto the area that is now Quebec. The reservoir that formed in the impact crater is the fifth largest by volume in the world and can even be clearly seen from space.
Lake Mckenzie, Australia
The perched lake on Fraser Island, Queensland makes the cut not just because of its near perfect natural beauty but because it is entirely formed of rainwater. The acidity limits the formation of life so the lake bed and surrounding shores are lined with pure silica sand and the waters are as clean and clear as a lake could possibly be.
Kelimutu lakes, Indonesia
The Lake of Old People, ‘Tiwu Ata Bupa’, the Lake of Young Men and Maidens, ‘Tiwu Ko’o fair Nuwa Muri’, and the Bewitched Lake, ‘Tiwu Ata Polo’ are three small lakes that share the crater of the Kelimutu Volcano, Quite bizarrely, they are three different colours; blue, red, and green respectively, and are given to change to darker or lighter tones on a periodic basis. Well worth the trip to the mountainous town of Flores, Indonesia.