These strange formations called tufas (click to enlarge),

are in Mono Lake at the eastern edge,

of The Sierrra Nevada Mountain Range in California.

They are made of calcium carbonate and formed by the interaction of fresh water with the saline/alkaline lake.

Mono Lake is 2-3 times more salty than the ocean.

It is one of the oldest lakes in North America.

Trillions of brine shrimp live in the lake,

supporting 1-2 million migratory birds annually.

On this winter day, the lake was mirror still and silent.

Cheers to you from Mono Lake ~

For more on Tufas see: https://www.monolake.org/learn/aboutmonolake/naturalhistory/tufa/

225 thoughts on “Tufas~

  1. When I camped there for a few nights I had ample time to check out the local geology. A fascinating place! I was disappointed by the mountains to the west cutting the setting sun off just as the light was getting nice!
    Loved the horses! I never knew there was a wild group roaming about?
    Great shots Cindy!

  2. I’ve never been to Mono Lake in winter, Cindy. Stunning views, especially with the snow covered mountains in the background! The tufas are so tall when standing at Lake level. Hard to believe they were completely covered before 1940s when LA started diverting water from the tributaries.

        1. That is the traveled route! Tuolomne via Tiago Pass is a beautiful way to enter Yosemite. The lake is the most beautiful I have ever seen it in the winter. Glad you were able to do this Terri. It is special დ

  3. It’s almost alien isn’t it…because of its unusual mixture of life. I wonder if the birds went to another planet and brought us back thinking we’d be a lovely addition to life here on Earth. And probably why they now fly away and squawk so much at us every time we come near them 😂 🤣 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    1. It _IS_ very alien looking, the formations are curious and unusual. I’m not seeing the birds, but the calm lake and the eerie surroundings look picture-perfect (pun intended) for the movie set of the home world of an extraterrestrial species. Thank you for introducing us to such a great find!

      1. Cindy just mentioned that it was ‘supporting 1-2 million migratory birds annually’ so at times it is probably full…but us aliens keep them at bay I would think, like we do everything else. And as you said, a beautiful place in its uniqueness 😀

      2. The birds are migratory. Phalaropes come in July-August, Grebes come in the fall, etc. And yes, Star Trek should “seek out new lives and new civilizations” at Mono Lake!! 😉

    1. Understood. I am a native Calirfornian. It is the same thing I did for decades with The Ancient Bristlecone Pines sign, whizzed right by it to go skiing, until my husband, from Iowa, made me divert. I am so glad he did. They are the oldest living life on earth. They are awe inspiring დ

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  5. So fascinating. I had never heard of Tufa. Parts of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides look like a moonscape but that area is largely flat. The Tufas seem more ‘otherworldly’ – like a futuristic Lord of the Rings-scape! Thanks so much for sharing such interesting pictures Cindy xxx

    1. You are most welcome Liz. They would look perfectly at home in the Lord of the Rings! The Hebrides are so beautiful. We were due to return, but covid cancelled that. Take good care my friend დ

  6. Beautiful and strange… is this lake shrinking? The tall formations allude to that. I wonder where all the birds were? I hope one day to see this place in person, it isn’t too far from where my son lives, whom I haven’t seen in three years. 🙁

    1. Yes. The lake is at around 42% capacity. It is still endangered. The birds come during their migrations at different times. Phalaropes come in July-August. Grebes come in the fall. I hope you come visit your son soon! Covid is doing this to us and it is not okay დ

    1. The lake is still endangered. The drought has worsened the probem. It is at less than half it’s capacity. This endangers all the migratory birds that depend on it, as well as the ancient tufas დ

  7. It looks like an alien landscape. I’m always amazed by that when I’m there and grateful that we get to see the tufas.

    FYI- Whenever your posts land in my email box I often see/read- Cindy Poked. Then I think she’s poking me to let me know there’s a new post! 😂😍 I am glad for the poke b/c your posts never disappoint.

  8. What a gorgeous spot! So still and reflective. Isn’t it wonderful how nature provides what each species needs? Who’d have thought shrimp would live in California?!?

  9. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and interesting info about Mono Lake! I hope its unique and important habitat is being preserved for all those birds!

  10. I have never seen Tufas, very interesting to see. The snow cap mountains in the background sure caught my attention. Together they make an interesting and beautiful image.

  11. So interesting. Thanks for the cool pics, Cindy!
    Now, all that salty makes me feel like eating sweets…Valentines sweets.
    Happy Valentines, Cindy! ❤️

    1. It is a really strange lake. No fish can live in the high alkaline and saline environment, but creatures like brine shrimp and alkali flies thrive in this environment. Alkali flies make air bubbles and enter the water in them to lay their eggs. The migrating birds eat the flies, the eggs and the shrimp. Remarkable დ

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  13. Anonymous

    Fascinating. I’d never heard of this lake. When I saw the lake at Salt Lake, Utah I don’t think it had any of these. I guess it doesn’t have the fresh water like this one. Thanks! I love learning new things.

    1. Hi Derrick. This is one of the best things about living longer. We never ever have to stop learning everyday. Stay safe and well in your storm my friend. Mother Nature appears highly irked with us everywhere დ

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