Tags: gafsa beach | tunisia | lake | swimming

Gafsa Beach, Tunisia's Mysterious Desert Oasis, Could Be Carcinogenic

By    |   Monday, 04 Aug 2014 07:16 AM

Gafsa Beach is a brand new swimming hole that appeared mysteriously in the Tunisian desert to the delight of locals last week, but experts say it could be carcinogenic.

The Independent U.K. reported that more than 600 people have flocked to the oasis in the last week, amid temperatures that reached more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. They waded in from the shore, dove off nearby rocks, and some even brought out their snorkels.

"This lake is located in an area rich in phosphate deposits, which leave residue that is sometimes strongly radioactive," journalist Lakhdar Souid wrote in Tunisia Daily. "So there is a real risk the water is contaminated and carcinogenic."

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Named the "Lac de Gafsa" by locals, the lake was discovered by sheep herders roughly three weeks ago, at which time they said it was an enticing crystal-blue color. Since, it has turned a dingy green hue, likely from algae.

"This means it is not being replenished and is conducive to disease," Souid wrote of the lakes recent murkiness.

Gafsa's Office of Public Safety warned that the lake could be contaminated or maybe even radioactive, but have not issued an outright ban as of yet.

Scientists have estimated that the lake is between 30 and 60 feet deep, with over 3 million cubic meters in volume. Some say the lake likely appeared after seismic activity shifted the water table.

News of the new swimming hole spread quickly via social media, with many tweeting and posting pictures to Facebook.



Mehdi Bilel, one of the first to stumble upon the lake, told The International Business Times that he initially thought the lake was a mirage. "After several long hours on the road without a break, I honestly thought I was hallucinating. I don't know much about science and thought it was magic, something supernatural."



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Gafsa Beach is a brand new swimming hole that appeared mysteriously in the Tunisian desert to the delight of locals last week, but experts say it could be carcinogenic.
gafsa beach, tunisia, lake, swimming
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2014-16-04
Monday, 04 Aug 2014 07:16 AM
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