Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 232: Revealing waters

Mono Lake, Edward Weston, 1955

Mono Lake, found in mid-eastern California, looks much different today. Due to the demand for water in Los Angeles (starting in the early 1940s) the lake level has dropped significantly. Large tufa formations (which can only form underwater) now rise up to 30ft into the air above the current lake surface.

"Geologists have determined the age of Mono Lake from the Long Valley eruption. In 1908, oil prospectors, drilling for oil on Paoha Island, discovered an ash layer from the Long Valley eruption beneath hundreds of feet of lake sediment. Beyond the ash layer was more lake sediment. The unlucky prospectors did not find oil, but they did inadvertently discover the secret to Mono Lake's age. Geologists determined that Mono Lake has held water since the Long Valley eruption 760,000 years ago, and lake sediments below the ash layer hint that Mono Lake could be much older, among the oldest lakes in North America."

Read the Mono Lake Story here and see images of the lake's famed tufa.

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