Root Beer Waterfall
The water is polluted, that was my first thought. While hiking through Chapada Diamantina National Park, pollution was not high on my list of things to be thinking about that day. As we approached the water, it had the appearance of a jet black oil slick, and I could see white foam around the edges of the rocks upon which we were standing. How could this happen? Suddenly, I saw kids splashing around in it, and jumping off of waterfalls with reckless abandon. Something wasn't adding up here, and I needed to figure out why. After speaking to some locals, I found out that the water is dark because of the minerals in the surrounding rocks, and that the foam is simply a result of the water being agitated. Looking at the water with new eyes, I realized that it was probably the most pure, clean water I had ever seen. I shed my clothes and waded in, and much to my delight, I came out feeling cleaner than ever. A few of us, after much trepidation and some local inspiration, even took to jumping off the waterfalls. Later, as I sat on a rock, admiring what nature had created, a funny thought occurred to me. What first appeared to me as an oil slick, now looked like a giant root beer waterfall!
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
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