Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mono Lake Tufas

Mono Lake is known for its tufas. What is a "tufa" you ask. It is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in limestone. The limestone precipitates around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941.

This is another one of those places where you cannot stop taking photos; it's like trying to eat only one potato chip. These photos were taken on the south side of the lake...

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