The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Why is the salt lake pink?

Why is the lake pink? We are so glad you asked!

Lake Yamysh’s spectacular color was the result of a phenomenon common to the salt lakes of the area. Scientists have determined that the color results from the presence of Artemia salina.

Not familiar with Artemia salina? Well then. Let us be the first to tell you that it is nothing short of a three-eyed, eleven-legged brine shrimp that swims upside down deep beneath the water’s surface. Of course. 

The presence of brine shrimp aside, the salt from Lake Yamysh and nearby Lake Burlinskoye was long considered among the finest in the world. Need proof? Empress Catherine the Great once insisted that all salt served on her table be sourced from these lakes. 

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