Lonar lake in Maharashtra is the Earth’s only high-velocity impact crater formed in basaltic rock. It is estimated that the Lonar lake was formed 52,000 years ago by a 2 million tonnes heavy meteor traveling at a speed of 90,000 kmph. The mysterious lake is 1.8 km wide and about 150 m deep. Over time a lush green forest has surrounded this tranquil lake. This site is of the center of attraction for scientists from NASA and Geological Survey of India.
Lonar was named after a demonic character “Lonasura” from Mahabharata and the lake also finds mention in Ramayana. Not only the lake is surrounded by ancient temples, including sculptures of Khajuraho, but is also mentioned in Rigveda, Skanda Purana, Padma Purana, and Ain-e-Akbari. The lake was rediscovered and was brought to the notice of the world by a British explorer JE Alexander in 1823.
What makes Lunar unique and a subject of mystery?
- Lonar is the world’s only high-velocity impact crater in basaltic rock.
- The water of the Lonar lake is both alkaline as well as saline at the same time.
- It supports micro-organisms rarely found elsewhere on the Earth.
- Compass doesn’t work in all parts of the lake; the needle seems to hang in certain parts!
- The composition of the deep bottom of the lake is still a mystery and subject of research.
- Lonar contains remains of several ancient period temples.
- In 2006, the lake was reported to be dried suddenly and deposits of salt and few rare minerals were spotted. The lake was later filled by heavy rains in the area after sometime.