Mysterious lake in Tunisian desert.

Lac de Gafsa also called ‘Mysterious Lake’, appeared unexpectedly in 2014 alongside Om Laryes Road, 25 kilometers from the town of Gafsa in Tunisia. The origin of the formation of the lake is not clear. The most likely explanation is that a minor earthquake had ruptured the rock above the water table sending millions of cubic meters of water up to the surface.

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The lake has gone from turquoise to a murky green color. Photograph: Wikipedia

The area is rich in phosphate and there are fears the water could be carcinogenic as it might contain radioactive residue. The water is undergoing testing by experts for contamination; however, there is no official ban from swimming in the new lake. The lake, which is estimated to be between 18 and 20 meters (59 to 65 feet) deep, has changed from its clear turquoise blue color (as discovered) to a slightly murky green, meaning the fresh flow of water has ceased and the water is now stagnant

Tunisian people living in the drought-ridden desert area of the Lake de Gafsa call its creation and appearance a miracle. A Facebook page was founded for visitors to the lake to document the experience.

“Some say it is a miracle, while others are calling it a curse,” Lakhdar Souid, a Tunisian journalist, told France 24 television.

“In the first few days, the water was crystal clear; a turquoise blue. Now it’s green and full of algae, which means it’s not being replenished.”

Gafsa became the center of the country’s mining industry after phosphate was discovered in the southern Tunisian region in 1886. Tunisia is now the world’s fifth largest exporter of phosphate, which is used in industry.

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