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Global Ideas

The ultimate Barbie pool

On a remote Australian island lies a lake as magical as it is mystical. But if you go there in search of shimmering blue waters, you will be disappointed.

Imagine the surprise of an intrepid early 1800s explorer when, having climbed to the top of a hill during an expedition to West Australia’s remote Middle Island, he found himself looking down into a pool of with a difference.

Described by turns as having the hue of flamingos, bubble gum and roses, it is undeniably pink. And whatever your thoughts might be on that stirring, controversial color, a lake that has defied the global geographical norms to do its own thing, is something to behold.

Named Lake Hillier by the aforementioned explorer, Matthew Flinders, after one of his crewmen who died on a trip to the island, it is often cited as something of a natural phenomenon. And it is.

Move over Dead Sea

While we all know that theDead Sea is too salty to support marine life, and salty enough to enable human life to float, the fact that Lake Hillier enjoys a similar claim to fame, is a much better kept secret. 

In part because it is at the bottom of the world on an uninhabited island, and in part, because the fact that tourists cannot land on the nature reserve island makes swimming in these blushing depths an impossible if beautiful dream. 

A lake of uncommon parts

The closest most people will ever get to the charmed lake will be to fly above it in a helicopter. It is from the air that its shows off its color with the greatest intensity, but even for the lucky few who get to witness the waters lap against the 600 meter long salty shores, there is no escaping the fact that it is permanently pink.

Scientists still have the jury out on exactly why it is, but widely held explanations attribute it to a microalgae called Dunaliella salina, which generates carotenoids, a pigment also present in carrots. Research on the mystical inland water on the Recherche Archipeligo's largest island continues.

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