Photographer Nick Brandt faced an unreal situation while visiting Lake Natron in Tanzania. He found calcified corpses of birds and bats at the shoreline of the lake. He wrote, “I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron,”
Brandt mentioned in his book Across the Ravaged Land, “No one knows for certain exactly how [these animals] die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, causing them to crash into the lake.” He also wrote, “The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.”
According to Seeker, “The alkaline water in Lake Natron has a pH as high as 10.5 and is so caustic it can burn the skin and eyes of animals that aren’t adapted to it.” The high pH of the water is actually caused by sodium carbonate and other minerals from the surrounding hills. And, sodium carbonate is a perfect preservative that was also used by Egyptians to mummify bodies in ancient ages.
“I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life,’ as it were,” Brandt wrote, referring to the way he repositioned the animals. “Reanimated, alive again in death.”
Here are some pictures taken by Brandt.