How An Austrian Park Every Year Becomes A Lake

Spectacular images that show how a park becomes a lake each spring complete with underwater trees have been captured by two divers.

The snaps were taken at the Gruener See, or Green Lake as it is called in English, located in the southern Austrian province of Styria.

During the winter months the lake, located near the town of Tragoss at the foot of the snow-capped Hochschwab mountains, is only around a metre deep and the surrounding area is part of the country park.

It is a favourite location for hikers and campers, but all of it vanishes underwater in the spring when the winter snow starts to melt, sending waters flooding down from the nearby mountain range.

During the summer, the lake reaches its maximum depth of around 12 metres and trees have adapted to being completely underwater for upwards of a month every year at a time.

And as these spectacular images show it creates an eerie landscape, in which the crystal clear waters flooding down from the melting ice and snow still allow the light to filter onto the grass and shrubs below.

The photographs are part of the project to highlight Austria’s investment in making sure it’s rivers, streams and lakes remain crystal clear and unpolluted. They are being shown at a new Under Water World exhibition at the Biology Centre in the southern city of Linz to highlight the country’s aquatic beauty spots.

Two of Austria’s leading underwater photographers, Gerald Kapfer and Harald Hois, also captured some of the plants and animals beneath the underwater lake which can now be seen at the photography exhibition.

Exhibition curator Stephan Weigl said: “Many people are surprised that images like these have been captured in Austria rather than in somewhere more exotic like the Maldives but we really do have a beautiful aquatic landscape that is perhaps sometimes overlooked against the backdrop of the country’s other natural wonders.”