Lonar Crater – The Mysterious Lake of India

November 2004. NASA’s Terra satellite photographed a perfectly circular lake in an otherwise flat featureless plateau. Visitors to the lake encounter strange magnetic forces, interfering with electrical equipment and sending compasses haywire. People say that the water in the lake is weird and far from normal water. Also that it can create magnetic disturbances.

The image was from the Buldhana district in the state of Maharashtra in western India. It is a national geological monument in the country. It was Maharashtra’s most mysterious and well kept secret. The four thousand foot wide, perfectly circular lake, poses a twin puzzle for scientists. Along with the weird electromagnetic anomaly, the lake itself doesn’t fit the local geology.

The Lonar lake has higher magnetic readings than its surrounding area. It is definitely unique in this terrain and kind of bizarre. This is Earth’s largest and a hyper velocity impact crater in ballistic rocks.
Geologists consider whether the lake’s weird magnetic properties could be extra terrestrial in origin, from the impact of a large meteorite. Objects that come from space are generally more magnetic than the materials they strike on the terrestrial Earth. It has the typical raised rim and its extremely round. It looks like a meteorite impact crater.

If a meteor created the lake, there should still be evidence of the impact. One would expect to see materials like it, stuff that’s been blown out of the hole. We would expect to find the mineral structure of the material that drastically changed by the high temperatures associated with that impact. And that’s exactly what local geologists have found. Surrounding the crater are all kinds of minerals and rock fragments that are produced when high pressure, high temperature metamorphism occurs. So, the meteor hits and rock is melted and brought to high pressure and we see unusual minerals like Maskelynite.

Maskelynite is a glassy looking rock created by the kind of high pressure shock waves you get from meteorite impacts. It looks like a smoking gun. Not only do we find an ejector blanket around the Lonar crater, but also we find in the interior of the crater, ground up rock, pulverized rock that has been melted and has collapsed back into the crater.

Attempts to date this meteorite strike have been only partially successful. But it could have been as recent as about fifty thousand years ago. It is said that a two million ton meteor impacted the Earth at a speed of about 90000 km/hr. This created a hole which is about 150 meters deep and 1.8 kms wide. Leaving the statistics alone, it’s surprising that not many people are aware of this beautiful and mysterious place. This lake has made scientists question their theories. The lake is both alkaline and saline at the same time. It supports micro organisms which are rarely found elsewhere on the Earth. No compass ever works here. And no one knows what lies at the bottom of this picturesque, deadly lake.

Written By: Devashish

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