52,000-years-old lake of Maharashtra

Lonar Lake is the best preserved and youngest carter formed in basalt rock. It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.

By   |  Published: 12th May 2021  6:11 pm

A notified National Geo-Heritage Monument, Lonar Lake, also known as Lonar crater, is a saline, soda lake, located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra.

The crater’s age is usually estimated to be 52,000 years, although a study published in 2010 suggests an age of 570,000 years.

This place was hit by a meteorite weighing two million tonnes and has left a dent in the surface of the Earth like a huge circular bowl. It was said to be travelling at an estimated speed of 90,000 km per hour to leave such an impact.

For many years, Lonar Crater was thought to be volcanic in origin, due to its location in a basalt field made from volcanic rock dating back 65 million years. The presence of maskelynite, a glass that is formed from high velocity impact, points towards its extraterrestrial origin.

The lake’s mean diameter is around 1.2 km, and the diameter of the crater on which the lake sits is 1.8 km.

The water in the lake is both saline and alkaline. If you go to the southern end of the lake, there is a sweet water well.

A popular local story about the lake blissfully ignores science and goes on to state that it was formed when Lonasura, a mythical demon who used to trouble local people so much so that Lord Vishnu descended to Earth to vanquish him, was pushed back into the netherworld with tremendous force by Vishnu and the crater was formed.

The Ram Gaya temple, the Kamalja Devi temple, and the partially-submerged Shankar Ganesha temple, are all situated near the lake.

You can easily spot a number of migratory birds like: Shelduck, black-winged stilts, brahminy ducks, red-wattled lapwings, blue jays, baya weavers, hoopoes, barn owls and many more.

Flora and fauna

Gazelle, langur, bats, mongoose, barking deer and chinkara also inhabit the surrounding jungle spread with teak trees.

A belt of large trees, about a mile broad, runs all round the Lonar Lake in rings of tamarind and babul trees.

The Lonar Lake trek adds to the charm of the place. This trek involves covering the six kilometer perimeter of Lonar Lake.

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