The Hauntingly Beautiful Blue Pond of Hokkaido

If you happen to have a Mac that runs on OSX Mountain Lion, then these images are probably familiar to you. The aptly named ‘Blue Pond’ reflects such a pristine blue color off its waters, that you just can’t take your eyes off it. The pond, located on the left bank of River Bieigawa near the town of Biei in Hokkaido Island, Japan, wasn’t very well known until recently, when the computer giant decided to make it a part of their latest operating system.

Interestingly, the Blue Pond is not a natural formation. The artificial pond was created when a dam was built to protect the area from mud flows due to its proximity to a volcano on Mt. Tokachi. When the volcano erupted in December 1988, local officials decided to construct the dam upstream along the river. All the water blocked by this dam gets collected in a depression in the forest, creating the pond.

It’s not just the striking blue that sets the pond apart, but also the barren tree stumps that protrude from the surface of the water. Also, the color of the pond hardly remains constant. It keeps varying based on the season, and the viewing angle. In a certain light and angle, the electric blue pond appears to be a lovely green instead. This unusual phenomenon has no real scientific explanation. Some theories attribute it to a high concentration of aluminum hydroxide in the water. The naturally occurring mineral is known to reflect the shorter wavelength blue light, just like the earth’s atmosphere does. Of course, the water itself is colorless.


Photo: Takahashi H

The famous OSX wallpaper shot was captured by Japanese photographer Kent Shiraishi. He also photographed the lake last October, during the first snowfall. The complete set of pictures of the Blue Pond in all its resplendent glory is available on his Facebook page. You should definitely check it out.


Photo: FFries

The Blue Pond of Hokkaido reminds me of another man-made body of water of the same color – the Blue Lagoon at Harper Hill, in England. That was infinitely more dangerous though, which is probably why they eventually colored it a depressing black.


Photo: Takahashi H


Photo: tsushima2011


Photo: aLex aW


Photo: Takahashi H

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