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David J Grenier Fine Art Photography

Mono Lake, An Ancient Sea - Part I

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Currently as I write this blog, it is raining and snowing in June Lake, approximately 15 miles from Mono Lake. I went out on a sunrise shoot this morning where it was 28° F at 6:00 am at the South Tufa area. When I drove into the parking lot at that time there were about 20 plus cars already in the parking lot – this place was grand central station this morning with photographers in the area for fall color workshops etc. etc.

Here’s some background on Mono Lake from the State Park brochure. “Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 60 square miles. Estimated to be over a million years old, Mono is one of the oldest lakes in North America. Throughout its long, existence, Eastern Sierra streams have fed Mon Lake with fresh water laden with salts and minerals carried down from the mountains. With no outlet, water can only leave the basin through evaporation, and the salts and minerals are left behind. As a result, Mono Lake is two and a half times as salty and eighty times as alkaline as ocean water.”

“Mono Lake’s tufa towers (pronounced “toofah”) are spectacular examples of what nature can do with a few basic elements. Their unusual spires and knobs are formed when calcium-bearing freshwater springs well up through alkaline lake water, which is rich in carbonates. The calcium and carbonate combine precipitating out as limestone. Over many years, a tower forms around the mouth of the spring. The tufa-forming reaction happens only in the lake itself. As the lake level drops and exposes the tufa towers, they cease to grow.”

The images above were shot yesterday evening and one this morning. Enjoy!

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