Animals Petrified by the Water of a Lake in Tanzania

Animals Petrified by the Water of a Lake in Tanzania
October 03, 2013

Photographer Nick Brandt has immortalized a strange phenomenon on the shores of Lake Natron in Tanzania. The waters of this lake are heavily loaded with salt and soda, making life impossible for many species. The photographer has met some incredible sculptures of petrified animals in contact with the deadly water. The combined action of chemical compounds from water has indeed literally dried up, mummified, these animals, leaving real calcified statues, as perfectly preserved natural mummies.

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 salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.