The beauty of SALT: Incredible images reveal the dazzling colours created by algae in an abandoned mine by the 'Rotten Sea'
- Crimean photographer Sergey Anashkevych has captured some amazing images of salt flats in Crimea
- The lake of Sivash, also known as the Rotten Sea, was once host to a Soviet Union salt mine
- But when the mine was abandoned the shallow water and wooden structures remained behind
- Today continued evaporation of the area produces stunning views as the water leaves behind tons of salt
Photographer Sergey Anashkevych was travelling across Crimea by train when he spotted a remarkable sight.
Alongside the train in one location were vast expanses of coloured salt flats stretching into the distance in a place known as Sivash, or the Rotten Sea.
With camera in hand the Crimean returned to the location after his journey and managed to capture the remarkable photos you can see here.
Sparkling red water contrasts with the clear blue sky at a derelict salt field in Crimea, where the wooden structures of an old mine remain. Photographer Sergey Anashkevych, 36, decided to explore the multi-coloured landscape after seeing it from a train
Salt is one of the biggest export products from Crimea, while chemical industry accounts for 20.6% of industrial output in the region.
When the island was part of the Soviet Union, this particular region was mined for brine, which forms when ground water reacts with rock salt.
Now the salt flats are abandoned, but what is left are an incredible series of lakes brimming with the remnants of a once-extensive industry.
The Rotten Sea is so-called because of the smell produced there. The lake of Sivash is very shallow, with an average depth of 1.6 to 3.2 feet (0.5 to one metres).
At the base of the lake, though, is a layering of silt up to 16.4 feet (five metres) thick, giving the waters a salinity of up to 87 per cent. In the summer the waters heat up and evaporate, producing the smell.
It is estimated that there are 200 million tonnes of salts at the location.
The entire area is 990 square miles (2,560 square kilometres), although this particular mine makes up only a small section of that.
In the absence of humans the water continues to produce salt mushrooms and flowers around old wooden pillars as it evaporates in the heat
The wooden structures were once used as walkways to traverse the various salt flats but now they lie derelict and unused
The unique natural phenomenon of the red water is thanks to Dunaliella algae which multiplies rapidly when it has access to extremely salty water
In the images sparking red water at the derelict salt ponds contrasts with the clear blue sky. The phenomenon is thanks to the rose-tinted Halobacteria algae, which multiples rapidly when it has access to extremely salty water.
The salt field was mined for brine when it was part of the USSR for use in industry, but now huge salt crystals have formed on the abandoned lake.
It is well known to locals but hardly ever frequented by tourists.
'It's just a stunning place,' says 36-year-old Anashkevych from Sevastopol. It is hard to explain the feelings and to describe and to describe the emotions.
'The air is very humid there and very salty, and because of the salt in the air you get the feeling that the air is sticky. And everything gets covered by this sticky thin film – skin, clothes, equipment – everything.
'The only other problem is the smell – you can't call it pleasant.'
The slat flats were divided into geometric squares when the old mine was still operational
The region is thought to still have about 200 million tons of salt, although in areas such as this it is lying unused
Sergey Anashkevych travelled to the location at dawn so he could catch the sun's light reflecting off the water
To capture these stunning photos Aneshkevych used a variety of cameras and equipment.
These include a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Mark II and a Canon EF 15/2.8 FishEye.
The salt fields are all geometric squares, built this way for ease of access.
Around the squares are wooden structures that were used by workers to walk around them. The water is about ankle deep and on the wood can be seen the effects of evaporation where salt has been left behind.
A special flow chute can be seen which was used to channel water to and from certain areas.
The salt appears to bloom like flowers and mushrooms around the wooden pillars as the evaporation process continues unabated
The water is mostly about ankle deep, but some sections are drained due to the channels that were built in the days of the old mine
Although the area is popular with locals it is not so well known with tourists, making Anashkevych's accidental discovery all the more impressive
To create the salt, water was fed into different areas and, when it naturally evaporated, salt would be left on the ground for collection.
The gateways no longer work, though, due to corrosion.Now, water moves the fields as it pleases, being replenished by rain.
Not all of the flats are red, however. Some are a blue-white-black mud where the water has disappeared completely.
Where the water has pooled, some of the old walkways have disappeared from view almost completely.
By photographing the flats at dawn, Sergey was also able to chronicle the impressive spectacle of sunlight gleaming off them.
The end product is one of the best collections of colourful photography you're ever going to see.