LAKE NATRON is a salt and soda lake in
The lake is fed principally by the Southern Ewaso Ng\'iro River , which rises in central Kenya, and by mineral-rich hot springs. It is quite shallow, less than three metres (9.8 ft) deep, and varies in width depending on its water level. The lake is a maximum of 57 kilometres (35 mi) long and 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide. The surrounding area receives irregular seasonal rainfall, mainly between December and May totalling 800 millimetres (31 in) per year. Temperatures at the lake are frequently above 40 °C (104 °F).
High levels of evaporation have left behind natron (sodium carbonate
decahydrate) and trona (sodium sesquicarbonate dihydrate). The
alkalinity of the lake can reach a pH of greater than 12. The
surrounding bedrock is composed of alkaline, sodium-dominated trachyte
lavas that were laid down during the
* 1 Flora * 2 Fauna * 3 Threats and preservation * 4 Visiting the area * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
The color of the lake is characteristic of those where very high evaporation rates occur. As water evaporates during the dry season, salinity levels increase to the point that salt-loving microorganisms begin to thrive. Such halophile organisms include some cyanobacteria that make their own food with photosynthesis as plants do. The red accessory photosynthesizing pigment in the cyanobacteria produces the deep reds of the open water of the lake and the orange colors of the shallow parts of the lake. The alkali salt crust on the surface of the lake is also often colored red or pink by the salt-loving microorganisms that live there.
Salt marshes and freshwater wetlands around the edges of the lake do support a variety of plants.
Most animals find the lake's high temperature (up to 60 °C) and its high and variable salt content inhospitable. Nonetheless, Lake Natron is home to some endemic algae , invertebrates , and birds . In the slightly less salty water around its margins, some fish can also survive.
The lake is the only regular breeding area in
The lake has inspired the poetic nature documentary The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos by Disneynature, for its close relationship with the lesser flamingoes as their only regular breeding area.
Two endemic fish species, the alkaline tilapias Alcolapia latilabris and A. ndalalani , also thrive in the waters at the edges of the hot spring inlets. A. alcalica is also present in the lake, but is not endemic.
THREATS AND PRESERVATION
The area around the salt lake is not inhabited but there is some
herding and some seasonal cultivation. Threats to the salinity balance
from increased siltation influxes will come from more projected
A new threat to Lake
According to Chris Magin, the RSPB\'s international officer for
Africa, "The chance of the lesser flamingoes continuing to breed in
the face of such mayhem are next to zero. This development will leave
lesser flamingoes in
As per communication on June 2008, Tata Chemicals shall not proceed
Because of its unique biodiversity,
VISITING THE AREA
There are a number of campgrounds near the lake, which is also the
base for climbing
Ol Doinyo Lengai
* ^ A B C D E F "Eastern Africa: Northern Tanzania, on the border
with Kenya". World Wildlife Fund.
* ^ "Lake