California & Las Vegas           Page:  1   2   3   4   5   6  

Mono Lake has no natural outlet, so the water level is a balance between inflow, which is mostly runoff from the nearby mountains, and evaporation. As a result the water is very salty and strange limestone formations called tufa towers have formed in the lake. These tufa formations only form underwater over the course of many centuries.

The reason that they’re visible today is that in 1941 the City of Los Angeles was allowed to divert some of the streams that feed the lake. They took so much water that the lake level dropped by 45 feet and it’s area was reduced to half of it's normal size! A current agreement calls for raising the lake level by 25 feet, which may take another 20 years, and partially restoring the wildlife habitat.

After we left the lake, we continued south along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Devil’s Postpile is a formation of extruded volcanic rock about 20 miles south of the lake.

Created by
Terry Culhane
© 2005-2014