Lake appears in middle of Tunisia desert
Hundreds of swimmers have been flocking to a mysterious new lake in the Gafsa region of southern Tunisia, but the sudden appearance of the water body in the drought-stricken area has raised concerns about its origin and quality.
Hailed as a miracle by locals, authorities have warned the lake could actually be radioactive.
For locals, roasting in the 40C heat, the temptation to cool off in the inviting water quickly overcame any fears about the pool.
Hundreds flocked to what quickly became known as the Lac de Gafsa or Gafsa beach to splash, paddle, dive, and fling themselves from rocks into the lake, ignoring warnings that the water could be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals, riddled with disease or possibly radioactive. Even after the water turned a murky green, they arrived in droves, undeterred.
“Some say it is a miracle, while others are calling it a curse,” Lakhdar Souid, a Tunisian journalist, told France 24 television.
Shepherds discovered the lake, thought to be up to 18 meters deep and covering one hectare, three weeks ago. Local geologists suspect seismic activity may have ruptured the rock above the water table sending the liquid to the surface.
Other theories have suggested the canyon has simply collected rainwater.