Iran’s Lake Urmia Turns Blood-red

Iran has experienced a “drought of epic proportions at Lake Urmia” and the once beautiful body of water has undergone a transformation. At one time the lake was five times larger than Hong Kong yet today it is disappearing and in the process turning blood-red as it shrinks.

A study by hydrology experts at the University of California in 2014 painted the picture of a dying natural resource, highlighting how desiccation, or drying, had reduced the 5,000 sq km (1,930 sq mile) lake by almost 90 percent.

Scientists working with NASA’s Earth Observatory have explained that as water levels drop during the hot summer months, microscopic algae and bacteria become more apparent, causing the unusual hue.

The color phenomenon has occurred a number of times before but is becoming increasingly common. Satellite monitoring of the site has revealed that the latest reddening occurred between April and July of this year.

Mohammad Tourian, of the University of Stuttgart, has been observing Urmia’s gradual disappearance. He indicated that alarming depletion of the lake at 1.03 cubic kilometers per year has allowed algae known as Dunaliella salina to take hold.

The “deathly tinge” is most likely due to the Dunaliella salina [algae].

“In the marine environment, Dunaliella salina appears green; however, in conditions of high salinity and light intensity, the microalgae turns red due to the production of carotenoids in the cells,” Tourian said.


Source: RT






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