Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mono Lake

We were lucky to arrive at Mono Lake before the majority of other people did. We have proverb in Polish which says that God rewards the ones who wake up early ("Kto rano wstaje, temu Pan Bog daje"). We clearly got rewarded for waking up at 5:30am :) ... The views were the more amazing, as not obstructed by human presence.

The Mono Lake is famous for its Tufa towers, which are essentially weirdly shaped limestone rocks sticking out from the lake. Tufas are formed when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with lake water rich in carbonates. The results of this mixing is precipitation of calcium carbonate (limestone) around the spring. Over the course of years, the precipitate will accumulate and a tufa tower will grow.

Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater and they can only be seen around Mono Lake because the lake level decreased dramatically during last sixty years when it has served as a fresh water supply for LA.

The greatest concentration of Tufa towers can be seen at the South Tufa grove, where the majority of pictures shown below were taken.

Approaching Mono Lake:


Mono Lake, its Tufas and snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains: