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El Ojo Lake (The Eye)

El Ojo Lake (The Eye) near Buenos Aires
El Ojo Lake (The Eye) near Buenos Aires./ Government of Argentina, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

WorldBlue  In short

One of the most spectacular floating islands is the island in El Ojo Lake (The Eye) near Buenos Aires. The diameter of this circular island exceeds 100 m and it occupies most of the surface of the similarly circular lake.

4.3 out of 10 stars 43.3%

GPS coordinates
34.252 S 58.8299 W
Location, address
South America, Argentina, Buenos Aires province, Partido de Campana, Paraná Delta, Parque nacional Ciervo de los Pantanos, Reserva Natural Río Luján

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WorldYellow In detail

The strange El Ojo Lake

Locals knew about this phenomenon earlier, but around 2010 an unusual lake with an even more unusual island in it was noticed by filmmakers. Since then this strange place has been known to a wider society.

Filmmaker Sergio Neuspiller and his team were researching an area in Paraná Delta near Buenos Aires, that is linked to diverse stories about paranormal events. They planned to make a kind of reality horror movie on this site. But, while looking on the maps they noticed a strange phenomenon – a kind of “eye” in the green carpet of the vegetation in the delta. It was an island surrounded by a narrow channel – a lake. El Ojo Lake has an approximate diameter of 120 m, the island – only slightly less. The island is covered with vegetation, even trees grow there. Comparing the Google Earth images that were taken at different times, it was easy to notice that the island was moving around the lake. (1.)

The lake is located in a swampy area that is nearly impenetrable for people. Thus, even if this unusual place is close to a giant metropolis, it became a well-known oddity only in the age of satellite photography.

Site of paranormal events?

Some local people tell stories that are hard to believe. The most notable oddity is the lights in the sky, seemingly emanating from the area, where El Ojo Lake is.

How did El Ojo Lake form?

Such floating islands form when the vegetation from the bank extends over the water, forming a floating mat. The force of the stream or the wind tears them off and – the floating island has formed! Sometimes these islands form due to the changes in the water level – the water tears off the lighter vegetation layer from the bedrock. The gases that are formed by the decomposition of the roots as well as oxygen are caught in the vegetation mat and help to keep the island afloat.

Floating islands form in larger river deltas – the river sediments are rich with nutrients and dense vegetation develops quickly. Some islands float away. But sometimes form such islands as in El Ojo Lake.

The amazing circular forms of the island and the lake have been shaped by the constant floating of the island around the lake. This movement is caused by the stream under it, and, most likely, also by the wind.

Is this lake unique?

El Ojo Lake by far is not unique. The river basin of Paraná River is rich with floating grasslands. In Argentina, there are similar floating islands, for example, the even larger and even more rounded island in a similar lake near Concepción in Corrientes province to the north (-28.401, -57.9117), in the extensive Iberá Wetlands. Even more exotic are the rounded, floating islands in the mysterious El Zacaton sinkhole in Mexico, Tamaulipas – but their mechanism of formation is different.

  1. The Eye: A strange circular island that moves, Mystery Planet. Accessed on January 5, 2024.

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