The world is full of wonders, and that includes some that even scientific research hasn’t figured out yet. But curious scientists are working on them. Some are fairly inaccessible and difficult to study, some have been studied but have more than one plausible explanation, and some are just baffling. The picture here seems to show what’s at the end of the rainbow, a bubblegum pink lake named Lake Hillier.
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This small, saltwater lake on an island off Western Australia is only one-third of a mile long, but its bubblegum-pink color makes it especially striking. The lake was documented in 1802 by British explorer Matthew Flinders, who took a sample of its waters but failed to understand how it got its startling hue. Tourists can visit only by helicopter, though it is safe to swim in the waters.
Scientists today suspect the color is due to the presence of a pink alga, Dunaliella salina, and/or a pink bacterium, Salinibacter ruber. But unlike other pink lakes around the world, such as Lake Retba in Senegal, Lake Hillier’s color doesn’t fluctuate with temperature or sunlight—so the investigation goes on.
That explanation leaves us with another question, though- hasn’t anyone taken samples from the lake? Are the helicopter pilots charging too much? Lake Hillier is only one of many geologic mysteries around the globe that scientists haven’t yet solved. Read about six more of them at Mental Floss.
(Image credit: Kurioziteti123)