Steamy Hot - The Creative Powers of Evaporation

Last week’s blogpost was all about the creative potential of water. Sacalin Island, Romania’s only island in the Black Sea, was formed over approximately 100 years by sediments carried downriver by the Danube.

In today’s post, we want to show you another aspect of water that has the potential of creating beautiful natural environments: evaporation. Rather than focusing on only one satellite image, we want to show you the beautiful patterns and colours created through evaporation in three different satellite images. We will look at Australia’s Beaumont, fields riddled with puddles of water of various colours, created by algae and evaporation. Staying in Down Under, Lake Carnegie provides an incredible example of how evaporation can leave behind beautiful shapes in a landscape. And finally, Tunisia’s Chott el Jerid shows us that even in the driest of places, water has an amazing influence on the shape of the land.


The agriculturally farmed fields of the Beaumont Natural Reserve in Western Australia are riddled with small pools of water. Evaporation of the water within these pools contributes to this landscape’s unique beauty.

(The fields of the Beaumont Natural Reserve are riddled with pools of water. The different colours of these pools are created by algae and salt crusts. (c) eoVision / DigitalGlobe)

The different shades of orange, yellow, green and blue visible in the satellite image are created by different types of algae in the water. The white “dots”, on the other hand, are pools covered in salt crusts, resulting from evaporation.


Like the Beaumont Natural Reserve, the fish-shaped Lake Carnegie is located in Australia’s Out Back. It is an ephemeral lake, meaning it only exists at certain times. Surrounded entirely by desert, the lake fills with water only during times of significant rainfall (i.e. monsoon season). During dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh

(Lake Carnegie is reduced to a muddy marsh in dry months, giving it its fish-like shape (c) eoVision / USGS)

Lake Carnegie is located in the centre of Western Australia and is considered one of the county’s largest lakes, approximately 100 kilometres long and about 30 kilometres at its widest part. It is named after David Carnegie, who explored large parts of Australia’s Out Back in the late 19th century.

Lake Carnegie is a perfect example of how evaporation can have a major influence on the face of our planet.


Chott el Jerid, a salt lake shaped like a wolf, is located in southern Tunisia, right at the edges of the Sahara Desert. Loosely translated, its name means “Lagoon of the Land of the Palms” in Arabic.

(Almost all water evaporates from Chott el Jerid in the summer months, leaving behind a vast salt pan. (c) eoVision / DigitalGlobe)

In general, chotts are salt lakes located in Northern Africa which only receive water during winter. For the rest of the year, they remain mostly dry. These lakes are usually formed by the spring thaw of the Atlas mountain range, occasional rainfall or groundwater sources in the Sahara. In the case of Chott el Jerid, the main source of water is groundwater. It dries up almost entirely during the hot months of the year and only fills with water during the colder winter months.

When dry, the lake can be crossed by foot or car. At that time, its surface often appears in various shades of white, green and purple. Due to the high fluctuation of water inside the lake, the values presented for the area of the lake vary widely, ranging between 5,000 and 10,000 kilometres square. At its narrowest point, the lake is only 20 kilometres wide, compared to an overall length of 250 kilometres. It is therefore the largest salt pan of the Sahara Desert.

In the past, West African Crocodiles could be seen in the lake and Flamingos have been known to use the shores of the lake as nesting sites during spring. Today, however, Chott el Jerid is more famous for its starring role in the Star Wars movies. The salt flats were used for the exterior of the Lars homestead on Tatooine, the place Luke Skywalker grew up as a kid.

We hope you enjoyed this week's blogpost. Have you ever visited Lake Carnegie, Beaumont or Chott el Jerid? We would love to hear your stories! If you would like to take a closer look at the motifs, make sure to take a look at our store!

#water #africa #australia #satelliteimage #motif #evaporation #lakecarnegie #beaumont #chotteljerid

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