Lake Khiluk: Secret Behind The Magical Polka Dots Lake in Canada That Can Cure All Your Disease
The striking lake in British Colombia has long fascinated curious people around the world. It is a drainage basin without any outflow. The kidney-shaped lake is half a mile long having a width of five football fields is considers the lake sacred by the First Nations Okanagan tribe. These tribal community has named the lake “Khiluk” after the use of minerals found in the lake in various healing ceremonies for thousands of years.
More recently, the curious travellers after noting the pattern of the lake call it “Polkadot Lake” or “Spotted Lake”. The high salinity of the lake supports minimum wildlife. Containing a particular set of minerals, it is considered as the terrestrial analogue for the ancient Martian lakes.
An endorheic lake having enclosed within a basin with no stream or river flowing out of it. During the fall, the groundwater, snowmelt, and rainfall fill up the lake. However, in the summer, as hot and dry air starts to blow, most of the water evaporates and leaves behind shallow and mineral-rich pools. Crusty salts and minerals that have precipitated during the process separate these pools from one another.
These pools look like spots and range in various colours depending upon the minerals present in them. Magnesium sulphate is responsible for adorning the lake with various colour. But the spots shift its size and colours with the varying amount of water present in it. In the view of the tribal community, the lake has a spot for 365 days.
While the curious researchers are of the view that there are about 400 briny pools. Minerals such as sulphates, titanium, magnesium, and sodium adorn the view of the lake in summer.
A study conducted by a PhD candidate found similarity in the mineral composition of the lake to the Columbus crater on Mars. He further states that the pools have bathtub ring texture around them. These are the spots where the minerals have precipitated. Once dig under the salt crust, you will find thick black mud smelling like rotten egg due to high sulphur content.
Even though there are harsh conditions, yet there is life underwater. There are salt-loving algae under some pools.The Okanagan tribe dwelled in the area for more than 3000 years, developed a unique culture and way of life that helped them in adapting to the climate.
Presently, many Okanagan live on a reservation near the Nicola Valley. They have used the water of the lake in healing various ailments such as warts, body aches and different types of skin diseases and are considered mystical and magical. They say that the different spots and the water content within have specific powers that can cure specific ailments. Thus gained the name of “Medicine Lake”.
Private individuals owned the lake for a long period. During the 1970s, the proprietor intended to turn it into a spa. The Okanagan tribe with the help of the Canadian government protested against it and prevented the project in 1987. An official is present to make sure that the lake is respected and that no behaviour could be deemed as disrespectful to the indigenous community.
There are several ways to reach the natural wonder. The lake is located four and a half hours from the city of Vancouver. Located on Highway 3, which is approximately 7 miles or 10 km outside the town Osoyoos. There is no facility for public transportation to the lake, but you can book a tour, which will provide information about the lake. However, you can easily avail of accommodation near the Spotted Lake in Osoyoos.
There is also at least one reasonably priced helicopter tour offered in the area.If you love taking photos and bizarre view of nature then this is the place. Late July is the best time to catch a glimpse of the lake. After this, the pools would completely dry up in the autumn and the water would cover the spots during the winter.
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