Gafsa Beach has become a popular tourist attraction in Tunisia, Africa. Unfortunately, the mysterious lake could contain dangerous carcinogens. Despite the possible risk, the desert oasis remains open for swimming. However, Gafsa’s Office of Public Safety said the water likely contains radioactive chemicals — including phosphate.
The mysterious lake was discovered by sheep herders three weeks ago. As temperatures soared above 100 degrees fahrenheit, and the region has experienced severe drought, residents flocked to the beautiful oasis. Local officials estimate 600 adults and children have visited Gafsa Beach since its discovery.
As reported by the Tunisia Daily, the lake’s origin remains a mystery. Geologists have suggested seismic activity may have contributed to its sudden appearance. If the water table was disturbed, it could have sent water to the surface.
Others have suggested the lake was formed by rain water runoff. Although there are several interesting theories, the lake’s genesis may be difficult to prove.
When the mysterious lake first appeared, the water was crystal clear. Unfortunately, it later turned an opaque hue of green. Officials said the lake is beginning to fill with algae. The presence of algae suggests the water is stagnant, and is not being replenished by a natural spring.
Examiner reports that the mysterious lake is approximately 2.5 acres long. At its deepest point, the lake is approximately 60 feet deep.
Resident Mehdi Bilel said he thought he was “hallucinating” when he discovered the lake. As it is located in the middle of the desert, Bilel originally suspected “it was magic, something supernatural.”
Although Gafsa Beach is certainly beautiful, officials are becoming concerned. Tunisian journalist Lakhdar Souid discusses the potential risk:
“The site is certainly stunning… but it has become infested with green algae… This region is overflowing with large deposits of phosphate, which can leave behind radioactive residue so there is a real risk that the water is contaminated and carcinogenic.”
As Tunisian residents are weary of intense heat and drought conditions, the mysterious lake was certainly an unexpected surprise. Unfortunately, they may be risking their lives.
Local officials said the lake has become a popular destination for swimming, diving, and boating. Despite the verbal warnings, residents do not seem concerned. Locals have dubbed the desert oasis “Lac de Gafsa.”
As water samples have not been tested, it is unclear whether the mysterious lake is indeed carcinogenic. However, officials have asked residents to be cautious when visiting Gafsa Beach.