This is a view of the South Tufa Grove of Mono Lake, part of the Mono Lake Tufa State reserve. The term Tufa (too'-fah) is the geological name given to these interesting rocky formations which have been created from Limestone. These towers of rock were actually created underwater when calcium rich springs interacted with a carbonate strong lake water; the reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate, or limestone.
So why are the tufas now above water? In 1941 water upstream of Mono Lake was diverted for drinking water for cities like Los Angeles. This caused the water levels at Mono Lake to fall dramatically leaving the Tufas exposed.
Looking around this sunrise panorama you will note the Tufa formations all around you, some reflecting in the still morning water. To the west are the spring time snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
For more information see the California State Parks site: http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=514
And Mono Lake visitor information: http://www.monolake.org/
View More »