Strange Places (Part 1): A Pink Lake Down Under


From above, it appears to be a giant pool of Pepto Bismol, or strawberry milk even…

Lake Hiller on Middle Island in Western Australia continues to baffle modern day scientists as to its strange color and appearance.

The tiny salt lake is only spans about 600 meters and is rimmed with white salt and encircled by dark green forests.

Aerial view of Lake Hiller, Australia.

Aerial view of Lake Hiller, Australia.

Initially,scientists attributed its startling pink color to the presence of algae, but this hypothesis has since been overturned. The exact reason for its flamboyant color remains a mystery…

However, we should note that this pink lakes is not a new weird phenomenon. Actually, there is another…

Lake Retba (or Lac Rose), Senegal: 

Lake Retba is another salt lake located in Senegal whose pink color is particularly visible during the dry season. The lake is also a salt lake known for its high salt content, which, like that of the Dead Sea, allows people to float easily.

View from above of wooden boats on Lake Retba, Senegal.

View from above of wooden boats on Lake Retba, Senegal.

Michael Danson, professor of Biochemistry at Bath University, reportedly said: “The strawberry colour is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina.

“They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink.


Microbiologist Bernard Oliver floating in Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

Microbiologist Bernard Oliver holds up a sample of the pink water taken from Lake Retba, Senegal. Other microbiologists can be seen also collecting water samples in the background. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

The lake also has a small salt collecting industry where many salt collectors work 6–7 hours a day in the lake, which has a salt content close to 40%. In order to protect their skin, they rub their skin with shea butter (produced from shea nuts obtained from the Shea nut tree) which is used to avoid tissue damage.


A Senegalese worker with graceful balance upon a boat in Lake Retba.


A salt-collecting boat being punted through the waters of Lake Retba, Senegal.

A salt-collecting boat being punted through the waters of Lake Retba, Senegal.


This lake was used on a challenge of the reality show – Amazing Race Season  6 where teams were tasked with collecting salt in a basket from the bottom of the lake floor…

While we have pinpointed the cause of this lake’s color, again, scientists are still clueless about the aforementioned Aussie lake..

Our planet is abuzz with lots of colorful mysteries.. More sites to add to your bucket list geek trekker!


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