THESE amazing pictures show a Russian lake that always turns pink in August.
The natural phenomenon has been an annual summer show for as long as the history books record, and it is now attracting an increasing number of tourists in the mountainous Altai region of Siberia.
With hotter weather in recent years, however, Lake Burlinskoye is turning pink earlier, which is put down by locals to climate change.
This summer it changed colour between two or three weeks sooner than its schedule in most years in recent decades.
Before and after its yearly pink phase, the lake reverts to blue on sunny days, and a murky grey during overcast weather.
The reason for the phenomenon?
This is a salt lake and there are microorganisms in the water called Artemia salina, a three-eyed brine shrimp with 11 legs that swims upside down.
This species of pink-tinted aquatic crustaceans have been around with few changes for as long as 100 million years.
In the past, Lake Burlinskoye had connections to the old Russian royal family.
Catherine the Great, who reigned from 1762 to 1796, insisted that the salt on her palace tables must come from this Siberian source.
“From now on, I order to bring to the tsar’s table only Burlinskaya salt,” she commanded.
It was in 1768 that a nearby settlement was first established to extract the salt commercially.
Soviet engineers built a railway into the shallow waters, with special trains equipped with ‘harvesters’ to mine the salt.
Salt production ceased in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, but it has now started once more at the endorheic, lake – which has now water flowing in or out.