Global Geological And Climatic Events

Lonar Lake turned pink due to ‘Haloarchaea’ microbes


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Lonar Crater Lake, Pleistoscene epoch

Mains level: Not Much

The colour of Lonar lake water in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district turned pink due to a large presence of the salt-loving ‘Haloarchaea’ microbes, a probe carried out by a Pune-based institute has concluded.

Make a note of all saltwater lakes in India. Few of them are Pulicat, Pangong Tso, Chilika, and Sambhar Lakes etc.

Haloarchaea’ microbes

  • Haloarchaea or halophilic archaea is a bacteria culture which produces pink pigment and is found in water saturated with salt.
  • The increased salinity and pH facilitated the growth of halophilic microbes, mainly Haloarchaea.
  • Basically, it is the biomass of these microbes and because of that, the surface of the water turned red or pink and as soon as the biomass subsided, the colour disappeared.
  • The scientist said the colour of the lake is now returning to original as the rainy season has kicked in, allowing dilution of the water.
  • Initially, it was thought for the red-pigmented Dunaliella algae due to which the water might have turned pink.
  • Because of that, the salinity and pH/alkalinity levels have also come down and green algae have started growing in the water body.

About Lonar Lake

  • Lonar Lake, also known as Lonar crater, is a notified National Geo-heritage Monument, saline (pH of 10.5), Soda Lake, located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra.
  • It was created by an asteroid collision with earth impact during the Pleistocene Epoch.
  • It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.
  • It sits inside the Deccan Plateau—a massive plain of volcanic basalt rock created by eruptions some 65 million years ago.
  • Its location in this basalt field suggested to some geologists that it was a volcanic crater.

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