Lake Mono at Dusk, Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, California, USA

landscapes stock photography | Lake Mono at Dusk, Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, Eastern Sierra, Mono County, California, USA

Lake Mono at Dusk, Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, Eastern Sierra, Mono County, California, USA

More images: Lake Mono, CA, USA Stock Images | Lakes, Rivers and Waterways Landscape Stock Images | Landscape Stock Photography

Ilya Genkin is a Sydney, Australia photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, Australian outback and deserts, rainforests, lakes and rivers, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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  • Fran Cornelius - April 23, 2013 - 12:51 am

    What is that? Limestone? And how did those weird spires form? Really unearthly looking.

  • Ilya Genkin - April 23, 2013 - 7:07 am

    Hi Fran, Thanks a lot! Yes, this is limestone. These odd shaped limestone formations that spike up from below the water’s surface are called “tufa tower” or just “tufa”, and they actually grow while under water. In reality these mineral towers were formed underwater eons ago, but when Los Angeles started diverting water from the Owens River to the city in the 1940’s, the water level at Mono Lake dropped, exposing the strange Tufa formations (a rough, thick, rock-like calcium carbonate deposit that precipitates from calcium-bearing spring water in an alkaline lake rich in carbonates) that are the most spectacular feature of the Lake.
    Mono Lake is believed to have formed 760,000 years ago, although it may be a remnant of a larger lake that formed 1-3 million years ago, thus making it one of the oldest lakes in North America. It used to lose its water only by evaporation, becoming in the process alkaline and hyper-saline, like the Dead Sea in Israel. Mono Lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that thrive in its waters, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp. Mono Lake became famous also thanks to recent highlights in the newspaper about NASA discovering new ‘extraterrestrial species’ in this lake.

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