Natural bodies of water like lakes and rivers turning blood red sounds like something apocalyptic straight out of the Bible, but a lake in southern France displaying this phenomenon has a perfectly natural explanation for it: salt.
A lake in the Camargue in southern France, a river delta right where the Rhône meets the sea, turned blood red, causing some panic. But fear not: scientists are saying that the color is due to a natural phenomenon, and not a chilling portent of doom, reports NY Daily. A high concentration of salt taking the form of salt flats caused the water to run an eerie blood red color, says scientists.
The salt build-up can be seen on plants, rock formations, and beaches in photographs snapped by Russian photographer Sam Dobson. The strange and eerie photos, seen here, were described by the photographer thusly:
“Every small branch is covered with crystals. with the red water as a background it looks like something extra-terrestrial,” said Dobson of the strange phenomenon. “I was just overwhelmed with emotions the whole time I was there. Despite my numerous travels, I have never seen anything like this before.”
This isn’t the only time such a thing has happened, either. Lake Retba in Senegal recently took on a strawberry milkshake-like hue for similar reasons, reports the Daily Mail.
“The strawberry [color] 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,” Michael Danson, a bacteria expert from Bath University said. “Lakes like Retba and the Dead Sea, which have high salt concentrations, were once thought to be incompatible with life – hence the names. But they are very much alive.”
So even though fish and birds are dying by the thousands, and bodies of water are turning blood red, these are not signs of the end-times. You can rest easy: it’s all natural.