Friday, August 1, 2014

Lac de Gafsa, Tunisia: a lake that appeared in the desert overnight

Drudge reported this today. You've heard of pop-up restaurants? Here is a popup desert lake. Tunisian desert shepherds walking by noticed a lake had emerged from the sands, beckoning with turquoise green refreshingly cool water. Some call it a miracle, others a supernatural event, still others, hallucination, or magic. But there it is. A lake where none had been before.

Here The Guardian's article, excerpted. The photos are from where else? A pop-up Facebook page dedicated to Lac Du Gafsa, where 'beach' goers post their photos.

Source lac de gafsa Facebook page

Mysterious lake in Tunisian desert turns from turquoise to green sludge
The lake appeared in the Tunisian desert like a mirage; one minute there was nothing but scorching sand, the next a large expanse of turquoise water. For locals, roasting in the 40C heat, the temptation to cool off in the inviting water quickly overcame any fears about the mysterious pool. Hundreds flocked to what quickly became known as the Lac de Gafsa or Gafsa beach to splash, paddle, dive, and fling themselves from rocks into the lake, ignoring warnings that the water could be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals, riddled with disease or possibly radioactive. Even after the water turned a murky green, they arrived in droves, undeterred. "Some say it is a miracle, while others are calling it a curse," Lakhdar Souid, a Tunisian journalist, told France 24 television.
Shepherds discovered the lake, thought to be up to 18 meters deep and covering one hectare, three weeks ago. Local geologists suspect seismic activity may have ruptured the rock above the water table sending the liquid to the surface. Other theories have suggested the canyon has simply collected rain water. "News of the lake's appearance has spread like wildfire and now hundreds of people, eager to escape a heatwave, go there to swim," Souid wrote in the Tunisia Daily newspaper.
It must have been a sight for hot desert dwellers' eyes to see the turquoise water under the beating sun. But this really isn't all that unusual. Scientists insist that a bubble under the ground could have ruptured and caused the water to swell upward. If you look on Google earth, there is an oasis called Gafsa, and the brown of the desert sports a hearty green right in the middle. Ancient rivers courses can also be seen. Officials warned that the rocks could move just as quickly and suck the water back down again, taking swimmers with it.

The algae forming quickly told scientists that the water wasn't being replenished, and soon the mini-oasis would be unswimmable, if it ever was hygienic and potable in the first place.

The story reminded me of a story I covered in 2010, when the River Iska in Slovenia disappeared overnight.

What struck me about this story is the rapidity which people ascribed supernatural or magical terms to a situation that obviously has a normal explanation. I had just written an essay yesterday about "What is a Miracle?" and had advised being careful about ascribing to God things that are not of God and tossing the word 'miracle' around. Further, it is such a shame that people will easily believe God or a supremee being formed a lake suddenly but not believe that he sent His son to pay for our sins nor believe His Gospel, the TRUE miracle of the supernatural.

At least they're not claiming to have found Jesus in a bag of Cheetos. Or a potato chip. Or a burnt fish stick...



1 comment:

  1. Non-poisonous water in a desert is always a good thing, regardless of its origin.

    ReplyDelete

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