Buldhana district of Maharashtra in India has one Lake which is formed approximately 65 million years ago. Lonar Lake, also known as Lonar crater, is a notified National Geo-heritage Monument, and was created by an asteroid collision with earth impact during the Pleistocene Epoch (geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago). The water of the lake is both saline and alkaline in nature, which makes it one-of-its-kind not only in India, but also in the world.
Situated on the outskirts of Lonar town, British officer J E Alexander was the first European to visit the crater in 1823. The lake was first mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skanda Purana, the Padma Purana and even the Ain-i-Akbari. Apart from tourists, the Lonar crater also attracts scientists who come to study it. The crater is one of the unique natural formations in the world.
Formation And Structure
As per scientists, the crater was formed after a comet or an asteroid hit the area at a speed of 90000 km per hour. Two methods have been used to determine the age of the lake. While thermo luminescence analysis reveals that the age of the lake should be 52000 years old with a spread of 6000 years correction on either side; whereas the Argon-Argon dating system revealed that the carter was formed around 570000 years ago with a spread of 47000 years correction on either side.
The lake’s mean diameter is around 3900 ft or 1.2 km, and the diameter of the crater on which the lake sits is 1.8 km and 150 meter deep. The carter on which the lake sits is oval in shape indicating that the comet or asteroid hit the spot at an angle of 35 to 40 degrees. As a result of the studies, the geological features of the Lonar crater have been divided into five distinguishable zones, exhibiting distinct geomorphic characteristics. The five zones are:
- The outermost ejecta blanket
- The crater rim
- The slopes of the crater
- The crater basin, excluding lake
- The crater lake
A recent study, conducted by IIT Bombay found that the minerals, in the lake soil, are very similar to the minerals found in moon rock brought back during Apollo Program.
How To Reach
If planning to visit this place by flights, then the nearest airport from Lonar Lake is Aurangabad Airport, located 157 km away. One can hire a cab from the airport to reach the lake. The nearest railhead is Jalna, located about 90 km from Lonar.