We all love to think of our lakes as unique, and certainly they are. However, the lakes in the AWWA regions are (thankfully) relatively tame. We get the odd freshwater jellyfiish, invasive species, or algae bloom but, as these examples from around the world demonstrate, things could get a lot, lot weirder.

1. Laguna Colorada

laguna coloradaLaguna Colorada in Bolivia is perhaps one of the stranger lakes to make this list. Sediments and algae give it its vivid red color, and the lake is punctuated with borax salt islands. The result is something utterly otherworldly. This saltwater lake is also frequently visited by massive flocks of flamingos, making the whole color palette of the area quite otherworldly.

2. Jellyfish lake

Jellyfish LakeJellyfish lake in Palau is a saltwater lake, connected by rock fissures to the ocean. Many lakes have jellyfish, including freshwater lakes like our own Province Lake, but what makes Jellyfish Lake unique is the concentration and quantity of jellyfish here. Each day, millions of jellyfish migrate across the lake, which is only about 1500 meters long. Luckily, these jellyfish are not harmful to humans, which makes snorkeling with them quite the thrilling experience.

3. Lake Superior

lake-wavesWe all know Lake Superior is big. It is, in fact, the biggest freshwater lake in the world. But the shear size of the lake isn’t why Lake Superior is on this list.  With such massive size, the lakes have a great deal of “fetch” or space for wind to move over the water. This results in some waves on Lake Superior reaching a staggering 35 feet tall. That’s some choppy water!

4. Don Juan PondDonJuanSTILL.0660_webThis shallow body of water can be found in Antarctica. What makes it unique from, say, the rest of Antarctica’s “lakes” is that it’s not frozen. Even at -30°C (-22°F), the pond doesn’t freeze. This is in large part due to the extreme salinity levels, which sit at around 40% and are 1.3 times higher than the Dead Sea.

5. Lake BhalkhashbalkhashLike many of the lakes on this list, Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan is a saltwater lake. That doesn’t make it unqiue, there are many lakes like this around the world. What is unique about this lake is that it is also a freshwater lake. Balkhash’s two sides are separated by a narrow strait which keeps the waters from mixing.

6. Lake Baikallake baikalThis Russian Lake is famous for being the deepest and oldest lake in the world.It also sports a massive amount of methane in it, which bubbles up to the surface, leaving rings massive enough to see from space.

7. Pitch Lakepitch lakePitch Lake in Trinidad contains the largest amount of natural asphalt in the world. This means the water here is sticky and black. Somehow though, the lake is still able to support microbiological life.

8. Boiling Lakeboiling lakeThe Boiling Lake in Dominica is, as the name would imply, constantly boiling. This is due to a fissure below the lake in which hot gases can escape via the Earth’s crust. The lake is inaccessible by road, and the thick layer of vapor hanging over the lake makes photographing this phenomenon difficult.

9. Lake Nyoslake nyosLake Nyos in Cameroon is one of the few lakes that has taken lives without a drowning. A pocket of hot magma sits under the lake, creating a layer of gaseous carbonic acid. In 1986, a sudden outgassing of this lake occurred, tragically suffocating 1,700 people in a nearby village.

10. Man Sagar LakeJalmahal_RestoredMan Sagar Lake in India is the site of the beautiful Jal Mahal palce. Hundreds of years ago, a drought led the local government to dam a river, flooding the palace and surrounding low-lying area. The palace still stands today and is supposedly haunted, because there’s no way an abandoned palace in the middle of a lake wouldn’t be.