The rate of decomposition in water is influenced by various factors such as temperature, oxygen levels, water currents, scavengers, and bacterial activity.
Cold water is a critical factor that affects the decomposition of a body in a lake. When the water temperature drops below 5°C, the rate of decomposition significantly slows down, and it can take several weeks for a body to decompose.
At these temperatures, the cold water reduces bacterial activity and other chemical reactions that contribute to decomposition.
In addition to the cold temperature, the formation of adipocere can also partially protect a body against decomposition. Adipocere is a waxy, soapy substance that forms from the fat in the body. It acts as a natural preservative, slowing down decomposition and protecting the body from further decay.
In some cases, bodies have been retrieved from waters below 7°C after several weeks, and they were almost entirely intact. In other cases, the bodies were found as recognizable skeletons after several years.
However, the rate of decomposition can also vary depending on the water’s oxygen levels and the presence of scavengers. Bacterial activity increases in well-oxygenated water, leading to faster decomposition, while scavengers such as fish and crustaceans can accelerate the rate of decomposition by feeding on the body.
The rate of decomposition of a body in a lake depends on various factors such as temperature, oxygen levels, water currents, scavengers, and bacterial activity. Cold water reduces the rate of decomposition, and the formation of adipocere can partially protect the body from further decay.
Bodies have been retrieved almost completely intact from waters below 7°C after several weeks, and as recognizable skeletons after five years.