World famous Lonar crater is facing menace as per predictions of experts. Couple of organisms found in the Lonar which is a saltwater lake, are actually having habitat in fresh water. This is the third season, observers from Khagol Vishwa a Pune based organization of amateur astronomers spotted organisms during their regular visit to crater. These organisms must have evolved and managed to survive in unfavorable conditions of saltwater.
Around 50,000 years ago Lonar was created by a meteor hitting the earth. In past 2000 years temples were built in and around the crater having diameter of 2 kilometers. In 1873 British officers started studying crater and lake. That time it was considered as volcanic origin. The first time it was compared with the moon after man stepped onto the moon. In 1973 Research again started with new direction – similarities between formation of craters on the moon and Lonar and at last it was proved as Meteoritic crater.
Even due to similarities in the crater on Mars NASA considered Lonar during project of finding water on the Mars. Lately a laboratory in Pune National center for Cell Science (NCCS) found Bacteria feeding on Methane and having Magnetic characteristic. 130 types of Spiders live in Lonar crater and few of which only found in this area. A rare kind of Fungi grows in crater. Do organisms currently present in crater have any relation with “that” meteorite? If this question is resolved we find answer of another question – Life on the earth came from another such meteorite in the past? And how life evolved on the earth?
Lake is counting its last moments. Chemical fertilizers and insecticides eventually flow down in the lake harming the unique ecosystem of the lake. Sewage water is being drained into lake. Tourists visiting the lake pollute area. “Because of such pollution Lonar may lose its unique ecosystem soon” a report by NGO (Non Government Organization) ECONET published back in 1998. Negligence and lack of interest showing result in strange changes in the Lake.
Because of Alkalinity of there were no water fish or other aquatic animals. But because of continues pollution of water its alkalinity is decreasing and as a result new organisms are found. Eristalis Larva a maggot often found in sewage water and another organism corixa often found in fresh water. Thus hazardous effects of pollution are proved with evidences. “Along with these there might be possibility of other organism growing in the lake”, said Scientist Dr. Hemant Ghate “and subsequently forming life-chain”. More frightening is new life-chain may harm the existing unique ecosystem of Lonar Lake. So there is need of action before we lose Lonar.
- Source of article in Marathi – Gratefully from Maharashtra Times Mr. Mayuresh Prabhune.
- Photographs of organisms – Mr. Mayuresh Prabhune
- Story Behind the article here in Marathi.