Amazing Places

Spotted Lake, British Columbia Is A Mineral-Rich Wonder

When you start planning your next summer vacation, be sure to put Osoyoos, British Columbia at the top of your list. Osoyoos is often called "Canada's warmest welcome," with one of the highest annual temperatures in Canada. And it's home to one of the world's most unusual natural wonders: Spotted Lake.

Related: What Makes Lake Hillier Pink?

Sacred, Spotty, And Salty

Spotted Lake is situated between the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys in a British Columbia desert and is considered a sacred medicine site for the Okanagan Syilx people. As a result, it's privately owned by Canada's Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. Canada's Okanagan First Nations people gave the lake its alternate name, "Kliluk," which The New York Times notes comes from "the minerals they've used in healing ceremonies for thousands of years." Spotted Lake is surrounded by rock piles called cairns, which the people use to mark graves. But the thing that really makes this natural site so fascinating happens during summer months: the lake evaporates and leaves behind colorful, spotted pools separated by hardened walkways.

Related: The Oldest And Deepest Lake In The World

But why? This lake is more than a beauty—it's mineral-rich. The spots left after evaporation are concentrations of salt, titanium, calcium, sulfates, silver and other minerals. Each pool will turn a different shade of green, yellow, and brown depending on the mineral deposits and amount of precipitation that year. Apparently, the best time to catch a glimpse of some technicolor spots is late July.

Are We In Canada, Or On Mars?

There's more! Because of the lake's salty conditions, the lake can only sustain minimal life. Scientists have even studied Spotted Lake to better understand ancient Martian lakes (whoa). Although a fence gives tourists limited access, Travel + Leisure assures us that you can still gaze upon its polka-dotted glory from a nearby road. When you do visit the sacred site, take heed: First Nations guide Bob Etienne recommends showing respect with an offering.

Related: A Giant Hole Sucks Oregon's "Disappearing Lake" Dry Every Year

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Spotted Lake, British Columbia

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The Oldest And Deepest Lake In The World

Lake Baikal is also considered the Galápagos of Russia.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest lake, as well as the largest lake by volume. 01:40

  2. Of the 2,600 forms of life that inhabit Lake Baikal, 1,500 of them are endemic. 02:45

  3. The waters of Lake Baikal reach a maximum temperature of around 4°C (39°F). 04:14

A Giant Hole Sucks Oregon's "Disappearing Lake" Dry Every Year

Though the water rushing down the natural hole looks like the opening of a portal to another dimension, it has an explanation: lava tubes.

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Written By Curiosity Staff February 2, 2017