A galaxy not so far away: amazing mineral constellations on lake surfaces

These amazing patterns appear to be alien constellations in a distant galaxy – but are in fact pictures of sediment floating on a lake.

While Britain’s hot summer is beginning to make its reservoirs run dry, these lakes in Kenya and Tanzania have been filled up to the brim by the rainy season.

Pic By: Jeffrey Wu/Mercury Press

This year’s excessive rainfall, particularly in April, has filled the saline lakes with an excess of minerals which swirl on the surface and form mesmerising patterns.

The vibrant colours of the various minerals washed down into the lake from nearby mountains show up brilliantly against the dark water.

The high salt content of the water in the east African lakes allows the sediment to float on the surface.

The pictures were taken by Canadian photographer Jeffrey Wu, 52, as he was flying in a helicopter over Lake Magadi in Kenya and Lake Natron in Tanzania.

Jeffrey from Toronto, Canada, said: “These sights left me in awe of Mother Nature and so grateful to have seen a sight so rarely witnessed by the human eye.

“This year due to the excessive rainfall in the rain season, flood-rushed mud from the mountains mixed with mineral deposits of sodium carbonate, natron, trona, and blue-green algae in the lake formed very thick, weird, alien-looking shapes of vibrant colors.

“The phenomenon is usually very common in the rainy season after a storm has swept across the lake and stirred up all the minerals from the shallow water bottom.

“These mineral fragments can float on the lakes’ surfaces because saline lakes are excessively salty, creating stronger floatation forces similar to when people can float on the surface of the Dead Sea.

“The lakes take up about 1000sq kms and we flew a total of 94 hours in a helicopter in a two-month period.

“We know in the rainy season this phenomenon will occur after the storms, so when this time we saw the weather forecast of two tropical storms ready to hit southern Africa then turn towards the east African coast we made the trip.

“We actually captured one storm hitting Lake Natron.”