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Mystery lake
August 1, 2014 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Mysterious lake in Tunisian desert turns from turquoise to green sludge "The lake appeared in the Tunisian desert like a mirage; one minute there was nothing but scorching sand, the next a large expanse of turquoise water."
posted by dhruva (27 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boy, the authorities sure sound like a bunch of wet blankets. Radioactivity? Can't their "scientists" test for that in like, no time at all? And saying the water could suddenly flow back out and suck swimmers under the ground seems like first-class fear-mongering. I think the authorities want everyone out of the pool so they can have it for themselves.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:18 AM on August 1


"Radioactivity? Can't their "scientists" test for that in like, no time at all?"
Testing the water for radioactivity should be trivial, all you need is someone with a Scintillation counter, a sample, and an hour to spare. Tunisia has one of the old Pasteur Institutes and a couple of decent Universities, someone should be able to do it.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:23 AM on August 1


Enjoy your swim in the mysteriously beautiful lake that suddenly appeared out of nowhere, kids! And say hello to the eldritch chthonian gods when they drag you down to their subterranian realm!
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:25 AM on August 1 [14 favorites]


I would hazard (ha!) a guess that the thing that will take more time is testing for bacterial and parasitic contamination, as well as chemical tests for non-radioactive carcinogens.
posted by maryr at 11:26 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


One of the pictures is captioned:

There are plenty of places to dive but apparently no women swimming.

Is the guy being ignorant or obtuse?
posted by Thing at 11:26 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Oh, hi Blasdelb, thank you for answering that question before I could get to it.
posted by maryr at 11:26 AM on August 1


Is the guy being ignorant or obtuse?

I decided it was intentional obtuse-ness ("obtusion"? Feels like willful obtusion should be a phrase) in an attempt at a back-hand insult.

Unpleasant.

So, uh, take that you Tunisians?
posted by aramaic at 11:29 AM on August 1


I hope, for the locals' sake, that the water is tested and found to be harmless, and that they find a way to clean up the algae enough to keep it swimmable. There's no greater joy in life than a dip in a cool lake on a hot summer day.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:30 AM on August 1


There may be a silver lining to the gender inequality here if it's keeping Tunisian women out of the radioactive bacterial hellmouth lake.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:34 AM on August 1 [16 favorites]


Judging by the topography I would guess there's been a pond there before.
posted by Flashman at 11:48 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I love the photo credits. "Photograph: Facebook." HahahaNO, try harder.
posted by cribcage at 11:48 AM on August 1 [19 favorites]



I hope, for the locals' sake, that the water is tested and found to be harmless, and that they find a way to clean up the algae enough to keep it swimmable.


No chance. Saharan dust is really high in phosphates.
posted by ocschwar at 11:56 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Nothing a few thousand pounds of shock won't fix.
posted by Splunge at 12:02 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Testing the water for radioactivity . . . testing for bacterial and parasitic contamination, as well as chemical tests for non-radioactive carcinogens . . . phosphates . . .

A suddenly appearing expanse of turquoise water where previously there was nothing but scorching sand?

I would have it tested for frogs.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:04 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I blame Obama.
posted by Repack Rider at 12:34 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


I know how this got there
posted by notbuddha at 12:47 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Can someone explain the water quality issue, especially w/r to phosphate and radio activity? The article covered what the concerns were, but I don't understand why
It would be such an issue as compared to any other body of water. Or are untested bodies of water this risky, and I've just grown up in areas where all that has been done already?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:24 PM on August 1


That story is great, notbuddha, thank you for linking it.
posted by maryr at 1:46 PM on August 1



Lake in Tunisia (with apologies to both Diz and Ella)

The moon is the same moon above you
Revealing a strange desert scene
A mysterious lake in Tunisia
Turns from turquois blue to algae green

The stars are aglow in the heavens
But only the wise ones can see
That spontaneous lake in Tunisia
Might be dangerous to you and me

Officials fail to sell their tale
Of exotic dangers to be feared
Each dive's a deeper dive
Into something really weird

It might just be carcinogenic
Full of radioactive phosphate
But it's 105 in the shade, here
We'll just dive in and test our fate
 
posted by Herodios at 1:47 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


It is told that in the immemorial years when the world was young, before ever the men of Sarnath came to the land of Mnar, another city stood beside the lake; the gray stone city of Ib, which was old as the lake itself, and peopled with beings not pleasing to behold. Very odd and ugly were these beings, as indeed are most beings of a world yet inchoate and rudely fashioned. It is written on the brick cylinders of Kadatheron that the beings of lb were in hue as green as the lake and the mists that rise above it; that they had bulging eyes, pouting, flabby lips, and curious ears, and were without voice. It is also written that they descended one night from the moon in a mist; they and the vast still lake and gray stone city lb. However this may be, it is certain that they worshipped a sea-green stone idol chiseled in the likeness of Bokrug, the great water-lizard; before which they danced horribly when the moon was gibbous. And it is written in the papyrus of Ilarnek, that they one day discovered fire, and thereafter kindled flames on many ceremonial occasions. But not much is written of these beings, because they lived in very ancient times, and man is young, and knows but little of the very ancient living things.
posted by winna at 1:53 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


Maybe it's related to those mysterious Siberian craters
posted by chavenet at 2:07 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain the water quality issue, especially w/r to phosphate and radio activity? The article covered what the concerns were, but I don't understand why
It would be such an issue as compared to any other body of water.
[The area near the lake has been] the centre of the country's mining industry after phosphate was discovered . . . Tunisia is now the world's fifth largest exporter of phosphate. . . . large deposits of phosphate can leave behind radioactive residue . . . [The lake may have been formed by] seismic activity [that] ruptured the rock above the water table sending the [possibly contaminated water] to the surface.
-- from the article
Some phosphate rock deposits are notable for their inclusion of significant quantities of radioactive uranium isotopes. . . . radioactivity can be released into surface waters.
-- from wikipedia
Or are untested bodies of water this risky, and I've just grown up in areas where all that has been done already?

If you live in Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee, or especially Florida, it may be a concern.
 
posted by Herodios at 2:10 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Green pees.
posted by Chitownfats at 2:13 PM on August 1


Thanks, Heridios. I had no idea it was a concern (and that second link is horrifying).
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:19 PM on August 1


*cough*Lake Hali*cough*


What? Me? No, I didn't say anything, just clearing my throat.


What's that?


Not upon me, O King! Not upon me!

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:05 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Judging by the topography I would guess there's been a pond there before.

It does look that way, and there is enough vegetation on the edge of the lake to suggest at least that the water has been there for a while.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:37 PM on August 1


It's sure to turn up soon in a Cracked.com '5 stories that fooled everybody on Facebook' listicle.
posted by Flashman at 9:25 AM on August 2


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