Atlas Obscura is Hiring! Join us in pursuit of wonder.

100 Wonders: The Blue Lagoon of Buxton

What makes certain bodies of water so beautiful? Is there a precise shade of blue that we are hardwired to want to leap into? Or have decades of Club Med and Sandals Resort advertising created the idea that aquamarine is the color of vacation, relaxation, and freedom?

Former marine biologist turned neurologist Wallace J. Nichols has coined the phrase “blue mind” to describe the relaxed meditative state being in or around water brings to people. Nichols argues, like our fear of snakes and spiders, we have a kind of neurological dowsing rod, an unconscious system for judging clean water from dirty. Blue means pure, clean, good for drinking and swimming. The “blue mind” sets in. 

In the case of the swimmers at the Blue Lagoon of Buxton, it seems the power of the “blue mind” has gone a bit cloudy.