Lake Natron in north Tanzania is quickly gaining infamy as the lake that turns creatures close to it into stone. Documented by photographer Nick Brandt, the eerie lake is housed in very extreme conditions. Temperatures in the lake can reach as high as 60 °C (140 °F) and its high soda and salt content gives it a pH in the range of 9 to 10.5, making it very alkaline.
It appears the extremely reflective surface of the lake confuses birds flying over it and they can fall into the lake, turning into the sarcophagus whose images we see here. Alkalinity of the lake probably also serves to preserve these creatures who have become stone sculptures. Photographer Nick Brandt found these birds around the side of the lake and re-positioned them into these life-like positions which were then photographed.
Interestingly enough, even the hypersaline lake plays host to life. A fish species called Alcolapia alcalica has adapted itself to the harsh conditions of the lake and can be seen in its hostile waters.
Nick Brandt has documented photographs of animals of East Africa in his book Across the Ravaged Land.
Via Nick Brandt, NewScientist