During my trip to Maharastra, in India, I had the highlight of visiting the Lonar Crater. Taking me an hour to climb down and back up, I spent a total of three hours in or on the crater.
My young guide, Taj, was patient and strong when needed for the climb down. His knowledge of the crater and its inhabitants was very good.
He told me about the twin eco system that thrives there both saline and alkaline in nature. I must admit the ground near the lake edge felt very “spongy” underfoot and smelled of rotten eggs, Yuk!
More info here: Incredibly old at 50,000 years, the Lonar crater is the youngest and best preserved impact crater formed in basalt rock and is the only of its kind on earth. The crater was formed fifty-two thousand years ago, when a blazing ball of fire (a meteor that weighed over one million ton in dead weight) crashed into the earth at an estimated speed of 90,000 km per hour. It gouged a deep depression (1.8 km wide and 150 m deep) before erupting and spewing molten rock to create a magnificent crest on the rim. Over time, the jungle took over, and a perennial stream transformed the crater into a tranquil, emerald green lake.
Located in the Buldhana District of Maharashtra, the Lonar Lake is an exceptional ‘bowl of biodiversity’ and a wildlife sanctuary with a unique ecology that is vastly different from the surrounding flat landscape. A land-locked water body which is alkaline and saline at the same time, the Lonar Lake supports micro-organisms rarely found elsewhere on earth. Fringed by a lush jungle, the lake’s surroundings are peppered with fragments of minerals like maskelynite, and centuries-old abandoned temples that are now inhabited only by insects and bats.