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Why Does the Color of Lake Kelimutu Change?

East Nusa Tenggara is a province in the country of Indonesia which has very interesting natural beauty to visit. One of the most visited places by tourists when visiting this place is Lake Kelimutu.

This lake is not only famous among local tourists, but also international tourists. Lake Kelimutu is different from other lakes because it has its own uniqueness when compared to other lakes in Indonesia.

Lake Kelimutu has three different colors surrounded by volcanoes. There are no historical records regarding the origin of the formation of Lake Kelimutu, but many suspect that this lake originated from a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.

This lake was first discovered by a Dutch national named Lio Van Such Telen in 1915. Since then, Lake Kelimutu has been visited by many tourists from various places.

As time went on, this lake was finally used as a National Conservation of Nature Kelimutu on February 26, 1992.

The color difference in each lake that belongs to Lake Kelimutu is what makes this lake interesting to visit. Each lake has its own name, namely Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, Tiwu Ata Polo, and Tiwu Ata Mbupu.

Uniquely, each lake also changes color from time to time. according to Geotechnology LIPI Bandung, there have been 12 color changes recorded in the last 25 years. However, until now there has been no research that can prove the cause of discoloration, when viewed from the time and pattern of discoloration.

Researchers only estimate that the reason why the color of Lake Kelimutu's water changes is due to volcanic activity, biological content around the lake, and also geological content under the lake's crater.

Even research conducted by Pasternak decades ago showed that Mount Kelimutu is a stratovolcano type volcano which does not emit too much volcanic material.

However, there are several scientists who explain why Lake Kelimutu can change color. According to them this is due to changes in volcanic gas. In addition, the presence of iron in the fluid also causes the color of the lake to turn red and dark brown.

Meanwhile, the green color is due to the presence of natural biota such as mosses in the lake. Not only that, erosion on the walls of the lake is also the cause of the discoloration of Lake Kelimutu.

Another opinion came from NASA which explained that the change in the color of Lake Kelimutu was influenced by bacterial species. Fumaroles or volcanic vents release steam and gases such as sulfur dioxide which can affect the color change of lake water.

This fumarole produces upwelling in lakes, a natural phenomenon in which colder, denser water rises from the seabed to the surface. This is due to the movement of the wind at the top to make it denser and mineral-rich water from below is carried to the surface of the water.

In addition, the three lakes contain relatively high amounts of zinc and lead. The presence of oxygen in the water also affects the color change. Like the color of lake water that looks bluer or greener due to low oxygen content.

For people who live in Moni District or who are not far from Lake Kelimutu, the change in the color of the lake water is a sign that a major disaster will occur, whether on a local, national or international scale.