Mono Lake Pt. 2 – More Tufa Formations

On my trip I headed from the north shore of Mono Lake down to the visitor center and the south tufa area. The visitor center was great with lots of beautiful and informative displays, but I didn’t take pictures so that you can experience it for the first time when you visit.

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The lake was pretty low from the drought, but not as low as in the 1990’s when there was an agreement to restore some of its water (LA bought the water rights but the environmental impact was too great)

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Looking back at the park from the last post

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The south shore, filled with this salt-tolerant shrub that was blooming in these yellow flowers

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Some formerly underwater tufa formations, which come from mineral deposits that underground springs leave in the salty water here

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These all used to be under water, but now you can see them and walk amongst them

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Down at the shore, the intense salt pans prevent anything but this native grass from growing

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But despite its intense salinity, there is an abundance of life thanks to tiny brine shrimp and alkali flies that are here in the billions, you can see the hungry birds in the water

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Mostly gulls this time of year in early September, these are the ones you see on the coast, this is their nesting site

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There were so many flies it was overwhelming, but they always move out of your way

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But I managed to get this great close-up so you can see what these little guys look like

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They carpeted many areas

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This little piper or plover was ready to pounce

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Go little guy go!

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Here is one of those underground springs that create these deposits

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Up close you can see it flowing out in that clear water, but the red, mineral-loving bacteria feed off it

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A lone spire out in the lake

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This was an impressive tower, more like a castle

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More pretty

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Kind of like cave formations

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This is what the inside of one of the spires looks like, pretty much the same as the outside

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I want a bunch of miniature people to be living in this one

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Maybe some elves hiding in the nooks and crannies

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But I think this was the most impressive shot and tufa formation

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On the way out

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Looking north

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Some old volcanic features

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It looks like you’d want to go swimming there, but the water is really not nice, good for boating and kayaking though

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This one looked like coral

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Looking south, you can see cinder cones that rose within the last few hundred years. They have mined volcanic rock here for a long time, such as the ones you find in barbecue grills

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This is a very, very large chunk of obsidian outside the visitor center

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This is pumice, the same stuff as above but with lots of air bubbles

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Next up, further south to the hot springs and volcanism of the Mammoth Mountain area!

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2 Responses to Mono Lake Pt. 2 – More Tufa Formations

  1. selah says:

    very interesting and beautiful.. thank you for sharing these photos.

  2. Mary says:

    Those formations are amazing!

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