An almost toxic artificial lake in Siberia has become an attraction for hundreds of Instagramers

An almost toxic artificial lake in Siberia has become an attraction for hundreds of Instagramers

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Beauty does not always mean security. The lake of Novosibirsk is the perfect example: with an almost heavenly bluish tint and surrounded by an emerald forest, it is the perfect backdrop for Instagramers around the world. However, this apparent beauty hides a far less elegant reality. It is an artificial lake serving as a discharge for the discharges from the central of the Siberian production company (SGK); rejects that cause this turquoise hue, which can potentially cause intense allergic reactions, or even bog down people who step into it.

In Russia, there is an artificial lake built to serve as an ash dump for a thermal power plant near the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, and it suddenly became a popular destination due to its magnificent turquoise waters. Since the beginning of June, people have been going there to bathe and take pictures. An Instagram user called the lake "Maldives of Novosibirsk", and it must be admitted that the color of the water contrasted with the dark green of the Siberian forest gives rise to very beautiful landscapes.

The Siberian production company (SGK), which runs the factory and dumps the ashes (from burning coal), has issued a warning about swimming, explaining the cause of the bright color of its water. They published the information on June 10 on the Russian social network VKontakte, a week after the ash dump caused a stir in Russia.

The turquoise color of the lake is due to the presence of calcium salts and metal oxides from the combustion of the various materials released by the power plant. Credits: ROSTISLAV NETISOV

The extraordinary shade is due to the calcium salts and other metal oxides present in the body of water from 1 to 2 meters deep. However, the company maintains that this cocktail of substances is not inherently toxic and certainly not radioactive, as some have reported. SGK points out that this has been tested by two independent laboratories.

Water is not deadly, but it is more alkaline (pH above 8) than most others, and oxides can cause allergic reactions. The real danger does not come from the contents of the water but from what is hidden below. The lake bed is muddy due to the successive layers of the plant deposits. Furthermore, "the bottom of the ash dump is extremely muddy!" Getting out of the tank alone is almost impossible, "warns the company. ⠀

Although the attractive color of this lake is due to human activity, some lakes, such as Pukaki Lake in New Zealand, are beautifully turquoise in their natural state. Their color is generally due to the presence of certain sediments such as calcium, the abundance of which may be enhanced by underwater volcanic activity.