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Australia: Blue Lake untouched by climate change, study says

A lake on a remote Australian island sits as it did more than 7,000 years ago — untouched by humans and climate change.

It may sound unbelievable in this day and age, but researchers from the University of Adelaide say it's true in a new study published in the journal Freshwater Biology.

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Blue Lake is one of the largest lakes on North Stradbroke Island off the coast of Queensland.

"Blue Lake is one of those rare, beautiful lakes in Australia," lead study author Dr. Cameron Barr said in a university news release. "It's unusual because it's more than 10 meters deep, but it's so clear you can see to the bottom.

"We didn't realize just how unique and unusual this lake is until we started looking at a wide range of environmental markers," he added. 

Barr's team looked at the lake's water discharge, water quality, and fossils of pollen and algae to get a better idea of its history through the years.

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They also compared photos from the past 117 years.

What they found was a shockingly stable environment that hadn't changed for millennia.

"It appears that Blue Lake has been an important climate 'refuge' for the freshwater biota of the region, and is in the same condition now as it was 7,500 years ago," Barr said. "With appropriate management, the lake could continue relatively unchanged for hundreds, possibly thousands of years to come."

Asked by the Australian Associated Press if an influx of tourists could change the lake, Barr said he could not speculate.