Colorful Lakes in Central Africa – July 25th, 20098S 32.2E
Three lakes in Central Africa are easily identifiable by their differences in color: Lake Rukwa appears golden yellow, Lake Tanganyika dark blue, and Lake Mweru Wantipa burgundy. Also of note is a wild fire burning in the upper part of the image.
Lake Rukwa is an alkaline lake in southern Tanzania that lies at an elevation of about 800 metres, in a branch of the rift system. The lake has seen large fluctuations in its size over the years, due to varying inflow of streams.
In 1929 it was only about 30 miles (48 km) in length, but in 1939 it was approximately 80 miles (128 km) long and 25 miles wide (40 km). Currently it is about 180 km long and averages about 32 km wide, making it about 5760 square kilometres in size.
Lake Tanganyika is a large lake in central Africa. Its southern section, visible here, is shared by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (left), Zambia (below) and Tanzania (right). It is estimated to be the third largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest. Here, an S-shaped algal bloom can be observed in its waters.
Lake Mweru Wantipa is a lake and swamp system in the Northern Province of Zambia, lying in a branch of the Great Rift Valley. Its water is muddy in appearance, at times appearing reddish and ‘slightly oily’.
It has been regarded in the past as something of mystery, displaying fluctuations in water level and salinity which were not entirely explained by variation in rainfall levels; it has been known to dry out almost completely.