Mono Lake

Last updated

Mono Lake
Mono Lake, CA.jpg
Aerial photograph of Mono Lake
Relief map of California.png
Red pog.svg
Mono Lake
Location of Mono Lake in California
Location Mono County, California
Coordinates 38°01′00″N119°00′34″W / 38.0165908°N 119.0093116°W / 38.0165908; -119.0093116
Type Endorheic, Monomictic
Primary inflows Rush Creek, Lee Vining Creek, Mill Creek
Primary outflows Evaporation
Catchment area 780 sq mi (2,030 km2)
Basin  countries United States
Max. length13 mi (21 km)
Max. width9.3 mi (15 km)
Surface area45,133 acres (18,265 ha) [1]
Average depth57 ft (17 m) [1]
Max. depth159 ft (48 m) [1]
Water volume2,970,000  acre⋅ft (3.66 km3)
Surface elevation6,383 ft (1,946 m) above sea level
Islands Two major: Negit Island and Paoha Island; numerous minor outcroppings (including tufa rock formations). The lake's water level is notably variable.
References U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mono Lake

Mono Lake ( /ˈmn/ MOH-noh) is a saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake which make its water alkaline. [2]


The desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp, which thrive in its waters, and provides critical habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp and alkali flies ( Ephydra hians ). [3] [4] Historically, the native Kutzadika'a people ate the alkali flies' pupae, which live in the shallow waters around the edge of the lake. [5]

When the city of Los Angeles diverted water from the freshwater streams flowing into the lake, it lowered the lake level, which imperiled the migratory birds. The Mono Lake Committee formed in response and won a legal battle that forced Los Angeles to partially replenish the lake level. [6]


Mono Lake occupies part of the Mono Basin, an endorheic basin that has no outlet to the ocean. Dissolved salts in the runoff thus remain in the lake and raise the water's pH levels and salt concentration. The tributaries of Mono Lake include Lee Vining Creek, Rush Creek and Mill Creek which flows through Lundy Canyon. [7]

The basin was formed by geological forces over the last five million years: basin and range crustal stretching and associated volcanism and faulting at the base of the Sierra Nevada. [8] :45

Image of Mono Lake from space, 1985 Mono Lake sat zoomed.jpg
Image of Mono Lake from space, 1985

From 4.5 to 2.6 million years ago, large volumes of basalt were extruded around what is now Cowtrack Mountain (east and south of Mono Basin); eventually covering 300 square miles (780 km2) and reaching a maximum thickness of 600 feet (180 m). [8] :45 Later volcanism in the area occurred 3.8 million to 250,000 years ago. [8] :46 This activity was northwest of Mono Basin and included the formation of Aurora Crater, Beauty Peak, Cedar Hill (later an island in the highest stands of Mono Lake), and Mount Hicks.[ citation needed ]

Lake Russell was the prehistoric predecessor to Mono Lake, during the Pleistocene. Its shoreline reached the modern-day elevation of 7,480 feet (2,280 m), about 1,100 feet (330 m) higher than the present-day lake. As of 1.6 million years ago, Lake Russell discharged to the northeast, into the Walker River drainage. After the Long Valley Caldera eruption 760,000 years ago, Lake Russell discharged into Adobe Lake to the southeast, then into the Owens River, and eventually into Lake Manly in Death Valley. [9] Prominent shore lines of Lake Russell, called strandlines by geologists, can be seen west of Mono Lake. [10]

The area around Mono Lake is currently geologically active. Volcanic activity is related to the Mono-Inyo Craters: the most recent eruption occurred 350 years ago, resulting in the formation of Paoha Island. [11] Panum Crater (on the south shore of the lake) is an example of a combined rhyolite dome and cinder cone. [12]

MonoCraters LongValley.gif
Map of the Mono Lake area showing geological features
California Pleistocene Lakes USGS.png
Map showing the system of once-interconnected Pleistocene lakes
Map mono lake.jpg
Relief map of Mono Lake and surrounding area

Tufa towers

Many columns of limestone rise above the surface of Mono Lake. These limestone towers consist primarily of calcium carbonate minerals such as calcite (CaCO3). This type of limestone rock is referred to as tufa, which is a term used for limestone that forms in low to moderate temperatures. [13]

Tufa tower formation

Mono Lake is a highly alkaline lake, or soda lake. Alkalinity is a measure of how many bases are in a solution, and how well the solution can neutralize acids. Carbonate (CO32-) and bicarbonate (HCO3) are both bases. Hence, Mono Lake has a very high content of dissolved inorganic carbon. Through supply of calcium ions (Ca2+), the water will precipitate carbonate-minerals such as calcite (CaCO3). Subsurface waters enter the bottom of Mono Lake through small springs. High concentrations of dissolved calcium ions in these subsurface waters cause huge amounts of calcite to precipitate around the spring orifices. [14]

The tufa originally formed at the bottom of the lake. It took many decades or even centuries to form the well-recognized tufa towers. When lake levels fell, the tufa towers came to rise above the water surface and stand as the pillars seen today (see Lake Level History for more information). [15]

Tufa morphology

These are original sketches of thinolite made by Edward S. Dana from his book from 1884: Crystallographic Study of the Thinolite of Lake Lahontan. Thinolite sketches.png
These are original sketches of thinolite made by Edward S. Dana from his book from 1884: Crystallographic Study of the Thinolite of Lake Lahontan.

Description of the Mono Lake tufa dates back to the 1880s, when Edward S. Dana and Israel C. Russell made the first systematic descriptions of the Mono Lake tufa. [17] [16] The tufa occurs as "modern" tufa towers. There are tufa sections from old shorelines, when the lake levels were higher. These pioneering works in tufa morphology are referred to by researchers and were confirmed by James R. Dunn in 1953. The tufa types can roughly be divided into three main categories based on morphology: [14] [18]

Through time, many hypotheses were developed regarding the formation of the large thinolite crystals (also referred to as glendonite) in thinolitic tufa. It was relatively clear that the thinolites represented a calcite pseudomorph after some unknown original crystal. [16] The original crystal was only determined when the mineral ikaite was discovered in 1963. [19] Ikaite, or hexahydrated CaCO3, is metastable and only crystallizes at near-freezing temperatures. It is also believed that calcite crystallization inhibitors such as phosphate, magnesium, and organic carbon may aid in the stabilization of ikaite. [20] When heated, ikaite breaks down and becomes replaced by smaller crystals of calcite. [21] [22] In the Ikka Fjord of Greenland, ikaite was also observed to grow in columns similar to the tufa towers of Mono Lake. [23] This has led scientists to believe that thinolitic tufa is an indicator of past climates in Mono Lake because they reflect very cold temperatures. [24]

Tufa chemistry

Russell (1883) studied the chemical composition of the different tufa types in Lake Lahontan, a large Pleistocene system of multiple lakes in California, Nevada, and Oregon. Not surprisingly, it was found that the tufas consisted primarily of CaO and CO2. However, they also contain minor constituents of MgO (~2 wt%), Fe/Al-oxides (.25-1.29 wt%), and PO5 (0.3 wt%).[ citation needed ]


Climate data for Mono Lake, CA
Record high °F (°C)66
Mean daily maximum °F (°C)40.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C)19.7
Record low °F (°C)−6
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.17
Average snowfall inches (cm)15.5


Mono Lake's "South Tufa" area. Mono Lake Tufa.JPG
Mono Lake's "South Tufa" area.

The limnology of the lake shows it contains approximately 280 million tons of dissolved salts, with the salinity varying depending upon the amount of water in the lake at any given time. Before 1941, average salinity was approximately 50 grams per liter (g/L) (compared to a value of 31.5 g/L for the world's oceans). In January 1982, when the lake reached its lowest level of 1,942 metres (6,372 ft), the salinity had nearly doubled to 99 g/L. In 2002, it was measured at 78 g/L and is expected to stabilize at an average 69 g/L as the lake replenishes over the next 20 years. [25]

An unintended consequence of ending the water diversions was the onset of a period of "meromixis" in Mono Lake. [26] In the time prior to this, Mono Lake was typically "monomictic"; which means that at least once each year the deeper waters and the shallower waters of the lake mixed thoroughly, thus bringing oxygen and other nutrients to the deep waters. In meromictic lakes, the deeper waters do not undergo this mixing; the deeper layers are more saline than the water near the surface, and are typically nearly devoid of oxygen. As a result, becoming meromictic greatly changes a lake's ecology. [27]

Mono Lake has experienced meromictic periods in the past; this most recent episode of meromixis, brought on by the end of the water diversions, commenced in 1994 and had ended by 2004. [28]

Lake-level history

An important characteristic of Mono Lake is that it is a closed lake, meaning it has no outflow. Water can only escape the lake if it evaporates or is lost to groundwater. This may cause closed lakes to become very saline. The reconstruction of historical Mono Lake levels through carbon and oxygen isotopes have also revealed a correlation with well-documented changes in climate. [29]

In the recent past, Earth experienced periods of increased glaciation known as ice ages. This geological period of ice ages is known as the Pleistocene, which lasted until ~11 ka. Lake levels in Mono Lake can reveal how the climate fluctuated. For example, during the cold climate of the Pleistocene the lake level was higher because there was less evaporation and more precipitation. Following the Pleistocene, the lake level was generally lower due to increased evaporation and decreased precipitation associated with a warmer climate. [29]

The lake level has fluctuated during the Holocene, since the end of the ice ages. The Holocene high point is at elevation 6,499 feet (1,980.8 m), reached in approximately 1820 BCE. [30] The low point before modern diversions is at elevation 6,368 feet (1,940.9 m), reached in 143 CE. [30] The lowest modern level due to diversions is at 6,372.0 feet (1,942.2 m), reached in 1980. [31]


Aquatic life

Large numbers of alkali flies at Mono Lake. Ephydra hians mono Lake brine fly.jpg
Large numbers of alkali flies at Mono Lake.
Artemia monica, the Mono Lake brine shrimp. Artemia monica.jpg
Artemia monica , the Mono Lake brine shrimp.

The hypersalinity and high alkalinity (pH=10 or equivalent to 4 milligrams of NaOH per liter of water) of the lake means that no fish are native to the lake. [32] An attempt by the California Department of Fish and Game to stock the lake failed. [33]

The whole food chain of the lake is based on the high population of single-celled planktonic algae present in the photic zone of the lake. These algae reproduce rapidly during winter and early spring after winter runoff brings nutrients to the surface layer of water. By March the lake is "as green as pea soup" with photosynthesizing algae. [34]

The lake is famous for the Mono Lake brine shrimp, Artemia monica , a tiny species of brine shrimp, no bigger than a thumbnail, that are endemic to the lake. During the warmer summer months, an estimated 4–6 trillion brine shrimp inhabit the lake. Brine shrimp have no food value for humans, but are a staple for birds of the region. The brine shrimp feed on microscopic algae. [35]

Alkali flies, Ephydra hians, live along the shores of the lake and walk underwater, encased in small air bubbles, for grazing and to lay eggs. These flies are an important source of food for migratory and nesting birds. [36]

Eight nematode species were found living in the littoral sediment: [37]


A female Audubon's warbler on tufa in the "South Tufa" area. Mono Lake South Tufa Area (2013) 33.JPG
A female Audubon's warbler on tufa in the "South Tufa" area.

Mono Lake is a vital resting and eating stop for migratory shorebirds and has been recognized as a site of international importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. [38] Nearly 2,000,000 waterbirds, including 35 species of shorebirds, use Mono Lake to rest and eat for at least part of the year. Some shorebirds that depend on the resources of Mono Lake include American avocets, killdeer, and sandpipers. One to two million eared grebes and phalaropes use Mono Lake during their long migrations. [39]

Late every summer tens of thousands of Wilson's phalaropes and red-necked phalaropes arrive from their nesting grounds, and feed until they continue their migration to South America or the tropical oceans respectively. [3]

In addition to migratory birds, a few species spend several months to nest at Mono Lake. Mono Lake has the second largest nesting population of California gulls, Larus californicus, second only to the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Since abandoning the landbridged Negit Island in the late 1970s, California gulls have moved to some nearby islets and have established new, if less protected, nesting sites. Cornell University and Point Blue Conservation Science have continued the study of nesting populations on Mono Lake that was begun 35 years ago. Snowy plovers also arrive at Mono Lake each spring to nest along the northern and eastern shores. [40]


Exposed tufa towers in Mono Lake; South Tufa (1981). Mono-lake-tufa-1981-003.jpg
Exposed tufa towers in Mono Lake; South Tufa (1981).

Native Americans

The indigenous people of Mono Lake are from a band of the Northern Paiute, called the Kutzadika'a. [41] They speak the Northern Paiute language. [42] The Kutzadika'a traditionally forage alkali fly pupae, called kutsavi in their language.

The term "Mono" is derived from "Monachi", a Yokuts term for the tribes that live on both the east and west side of the Sierra Nevada. [43]

During early contact, the first known Mono Lake Paiute chief was Captain John. [44]

The Mono tribe has two bands: Eastern and Western. The Eastern Mono joined the Western Mono bands' villages annually at Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite Valley, and along the Merced River to gather acorns, different plant species, and to trade. The Western Mono and Eastern mono traditionally lived in the south-central Sierra Nevada foothills, including Historical Yosemite Valley. [45]

Present day Mono Reservations are currently located in Big Pine, Bishop, and several in Madera County and Fresno County, California.[ citation needed ]

Conservation efforts

Mono Lake viewed from the summit of Mount Dana. Note near-landbridge at left, almost connecting Negit Island with the mainland shoreline. Mono Lake from Mount Dana (1).jpg
Mono Lake viewed from the summit of Mount Dana. Note near-landbridge at left, almost connecting Negit Island with the mainland shoreline.
Aerial view of Mono Lake in May 2019, with generous snow pack promising a good summer for the lake. Mono Lake aerial 2019.jpg
Aerial view of Mono Lake in May 2019, with generous snow pack promising a good summer for the lake.

The city of Los Angeles diverted water from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power extended the Los Angeles Aqueduct system farther northward into the Mono Basin with the completion of the Mono Craters Tunnel [46] between the Grant Lake Reservoir on Rush Creek and the Upper Owens River. So much water was diverted that evaporation soon exceeded inflow and the surface level of Mono Lake fell rapidly. By 1982 the lake was reduced to 37,688 acres (15,252 ha), 69 percent of its 1941 surface area. By 1990, the lake had dropped 45 vertical feet and had lost half its volume relative to the 1941 pre-diversion water level. [47] As a result, alkaline sands and formerly submerged tufa towers became exposed, the water salinity doubled, and Negit Island became a peninsula, exposing the nests of California gulls to predators (such as coyotes), and forcing the gull colony to abandon this site. [48]

In 1974, ecologist David Gaines and his student David Winkler studied the Mono Lake ecosystem and became instrumental in alerting the public of the effects of the lower water level with Winkler's 1976 ecological inventory of the Mono Basin. [49] The National Science Foundation funded the first comprehensive ecological study of Mono Lake, conducted by Gaines and undergraduate students. In June 1977, the Davis Institute of Ecology of the University of California published a report, "An Ecological Study of Mono Lake, California," which alerted California to the ecological dangers posed by the redirection of water away from the lake for municipal uses. [49]

Gaines formed the Mono Lake Committee in 1978. He and Sally Judy, a UC Davis student, led the committee and pursued an informational tour of California. They joined with the Audubon Society to fight a now famous court battle, the National Audubon Society v. Superior Court, to protect Mono Lake through state public trust laws. [49] While these efforts have resulted in positive change, the surface level is still below historical levels, and exposed shorelines are a source of significant alkaline dust during periods of high winds. [50]

Owens Lake, the once-navigable terminus of the Owens River which had sustained a healthy ecosystem, is now a dry lake bed during dry years due to water diversion beginning in the 1920s. Mono Lake was spared this fate when the California State Water Resources Control Board (after over a decade of litigation) issued an order (SWRCB Decision 1631) to protect Mono Lake and its tributary streams on September 28, 1994. [51] SWRCB Board Vice-chair Marc Del Piero was the sole Hearing Officer (see D-1631). In 1941 the surface level was at 6,417 feet (1,956 m) above sea level. [31] As of October 2022, Mono Lake was at 6,378.7 feet (1,944 m) above sea level. [31] The lake level of 6,392 feet (1,948 m) above sea level is the goal, designed to ensure that the lake would be able to reach and sustain a minimum surface level that is generally agreed to be the minimum for keeping the ecosystem healthy. [52] It has been more difficult during years of drought in the American West. [53]

Mono Lake South Tufa Area (2013) 01.JPG
Mono Lake as seen from California State Route 120 (Mono Mills Road) on south
"South Tufa, Mono Lake" (2013). Mono Lake South Tufa August 2013 014.jpg
"South Tufa, Mono Lake" (2013).


In 1968, the artist Robert Smithson made Mono Lake Non-Site (Cinders near Black Point) [54] using pumice collected while visiting Mono on July 27, 1968, with his wife Nancy Holt and Michael Heizer (both prominent visual artists). In 2004, Nancy Holt made a short film entitled Mono Lake using Super 8 footage and photographs of this trip. An audio recording by Smithson and Heizer, two songs by Waylon Jennings, and Michel Legrand's Le Jeu, the main theme of Jacques Demy's film Bay of Angels (1963), were used for the soundtrack. [55]

The Diver, a photo taken by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis for Pink Floyd's album Wish You Were Here (1975), features what appears to be a man diving into a lake, creating no ripples. The photo was taken at Mono Lake, and the tufa towers are a prominent part of the landscape. The effect was actually created when the diver performed a handstand underwater until the ripples dissipated. [56]

In print

Mark Twain's Roughing It , published in 1872, provides an informative early description of Mono Lake in its natural condition in the 1860s. [57] [58] Twain found the lake to be lying "in a lifeless, treeless, hideous desert... the loneliest place on earth." [59] [60]

In film

A scene featuring a volcano in the film Fair Wind to Java (1953) was shot at Mono Lake. [61]

Most of the film High Plains Drifter (1973) by Clint Eastwood was shot on the southern shores of Mono Lake in the 1970s. An entire town was built here for the film, and later removed when shooting was complete. [62]

In music

The music video for glam metal band Cinderella's 1988 power ballad "Don't Know What You Got ('Till It's Gone)" was filmed by the lake. [63]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Great Salt Lake</span> Salt lake in Utah, United States

The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. It lies in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah and has a substantial impact upon the local climate, particularly through lake-effect snow. It is a remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric body of water that covered much of western Utah.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Owens Valley</span> Valley in California, United States

Owens Valley is an arid valley of the Owens River in eastern California in the United States. It is located to the east of the Sierra Nevada, west of the White Mountains and Inyo Mountains, and is split between the Great Basin Desert and the Mojave Desert. The mountain peaks on the West side reach above 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in elevation, while the floor of the Owens Valley is about 4,000 feet (1,200 m), making the valley the deepest in the United States. The Sierra Nevada casts the valley in a rain shadow, which makes Owens Valley "the Land of Little Rain". The bed of Owens Lake, now a predominantly dry endorheic alkali flat, sits on the southern end of the valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Owens Lake</span> Dry lake in the Owens Valley, California

Owens Lake is a mostly dry lake in the Owens Valley on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in Inyo County, California. It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Lone Pine. Unlike most dry lakes in the Basin and Range Province that have been dry for thousands of years, Owens held significant water until 1913, when much of the Owens River was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, causing Owens Lake to desiccate by 1926. In 2006, 5% of the water flow was restored. As of 2013, it is the largest single source of dust pollution in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mono–Inyo Craters</span> Volcanic chain in eastern California, United States

The Mono–Inyo Craters are a volcanic chain of craters, domes and lava flows in Mono County, Eastern California. The chain stretches 25 miles (40 km) from the northwest shore of Mono Lake to the south of Mammoth Mountain. The Mono Lake Volcanic Field forms the northernmost part of the chain and consists of two volcanic islands in the lake and one cinder cone volcano on its northwest shore. Most of the Mono Craters, which make up the bulk of the northern part of the Mono–Inyo chain, are phreatic volcanoes that have since been either plugged or over-topped by rhyolite domes and lava flows. The Inyo volcanic chain form much of the southern part of the chain and consist of phreatic explosion pits, and rhyolitic lava flows and domes. The southernmost part of the chain consists of fumaroles and explosion pits on Mammoth Mountain and a set of cinder cones south of the mountain; the latter are called the Red Cones.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pyramid Lake (Nevada)</span> Lake in Nevada, United States

Pyramid Lake is the geographic sink of the basin of the Truckee River, 40 mi (64 km) northeast of Reno, Nevada, United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California water wars</span> Conflict over water rights in California between 1902 and 2006

The California Water Wars were a series of political conflicts between the city of Los Angeles and farmers and ranchers in the Owens Valley of Eastern California over water rights.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tufa</span> Porous limestone rock formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water

Tufa is a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of water in unheated rivers or lakes. Geothermally heated hot springs sometimes produce similar carbonate deposits, which are known as travertine. Tufa is sometimes referred to as (meteogene) travertine. It should not be confused with hot spring (thermogene) travertine. Tufa, which is calcareous, should also not be confused with tuff, a porous volcanic rock with a similar etymology that is sometimes also called "tufa".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brine shrimp</span> Genus of aquatic crustaceans

Artemia is a genus of aquatic crustaceans also known as brine shrimp or sea monkeys. It is the only genus in the family Artemiidae. The first historical record of the existence of Artemia dates back to the first half of the 10th century AD from Lake Urmia, Iran, with an example called by an Iranian geographer an "aquatic dog", although the first unambiguous record is the report and drawings made by Schlösser in 1757 of animals from Lymington, England. Artemia populations are found worldwide, typically in inland saltwater lakes, but occasionally in oceans. Artemia are able to avoid cohabiting with most types of predators, such as fish, by their ability to live in waters of very high salinity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walker River</span> River in Nevada, United States

The Walker River is a river in west-central Nevada in the United States, approximately 62 miles (100 km) long. Fed principally by snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada of California, it drains an arid portion of the Great Basin southeast of Reno and flows into the endorheic basin of Walker Lake. The river is an important source of water for irrigation in its course through Nevada; water diversions have reduced its flow such that the level of Walker Lake has fallen 160 feet (49 m) between 1882 and 2010. The river was named for explorer Joseph Reddeford Walker, a mountain man and experienced scout who is known for establishing a segment of the California Trail.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walker Lake (Nevada)</span> Lake in Nevada, United States

Walker Lake is a natural lake in the Great Basin in western Nevada in the United States. It is 11 mi (17 km) long and 5 mi (8 km) wide, in northwestern Mineral County along the east side of the Wassuk Range, about 75 mi (120 km) southeast of Reno. The lake is fed from the north by the Walker River and has no natural outlet except absorption and evaporation. The community of Walker Lake is found along the southwest shore.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Owens River</span> River in eastern California

The Owens River is a river in eastern California in the United States, approximately 183 miles (295 km) long. It drains into and through the Owens Valley, an arid basin between the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and the western faces of the Inyo and White Mountains. The river terminates at the endorheic Owens Lake south of Lone Pine, at the bottom of a 2,600 sq mi (6,700 km2) watershed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mono Lake Committee</span>

The Mono Lake Committee (MLC) is an environmental organization based in Lee Vining, California in the United States. Its mission is to preserve Mono Lake, by reducing diversions of water from the Eastern Sierra watersheds by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trona Pinnacles</span>

The Trona Pinnacles are an unusual geological feature in the California Desert National Conservation Area. The landscape consists of more than 500 tufa spires, some as high as 140 ft (43 m), rising from the bed of the Searles Lake (dry) basin. The pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and squat to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa). They now sit isolated and slowly crumbling away near the south end of the valley, surrounded by many square miles of flat, dried mud and with stark mountain ranges at either side.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lake Abert</span> A highly-saline lake in Oregon, United States

Lake Abert is a large, shallow, alkali lake in Lake County, Oregon, United States. It is approximately 15 mi (24 km) long and 7 mi (11 km) wide at its widest point. It is located 3 mi (4.8 km) northeast of the small, unincorporated community of Valley Falls, Oregon. The lake was named in honor of Colonel John James Abert by explorer John C. Fremont during his 1843 expedition into Central Oregon. No fish live in the alkaline waters of the lake; however, its dense population of brine shrimp supports a variety of shorebirds. The lake is an important stop on the bird migration route known as the Pacific flyway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ikaite</span> Hexahydrated calcium carbonate mineral

Ikaite is the mineral name for the hexahydrate of calcium carbonate, CaCO3·6H2O. Ikaite tends to form very steep or spiky pyramidal crystals, often radially arranged, of varied sizes from thumbnail size aggregates to gigantic salient spurs. It is only found in a metastable state and decomposes rapidly by losing most of its water content once removed from near-freezing water. This "melting mineral" is more commonly known through its pseudomorphs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Soda Lakes</span> Pair of alkaline lakes in maar volcano craters in Churchill County, Nevada

The Soda Lakes are two lakes located northwest of Fallon, Nevada. They occupy two basaltic maar volcano craters which may have erupted in the last 1500 years. The larger lake, called Soda Lake or Big Soda Lake, is somewhat elongated, stretching 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) in length. The smaller one, Little Soda Lake, is 200 meters (660 ft) across. Considered to be a single volcano, the combined craters are young enough that future activity can't be ruled out. A geothermal power plant is located on the northeast flank of the volcano.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harney Lake</span> Alkali lake basin in Oregon, US

Harney Lake is a shallow alkali lake basin located in southeast Oregon, United States, approximately 30 miles (48 km) south of the city of Burns. The lake lies within the boundary of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and is the lowest point in the Blitzen Valley drainage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kucadikadi</span>

The Kucadɨkadɨ are a band of Eastern Mono Northern Paiute people who live near Mono Lake in Mono County, California. They are the southernmost band of Northern Paiute.

<i>National Audubon Society v. Superior Court</i>

National Audubon Society v. Superior Court was a key case in California highlighting the conflict between the public trust doctrine and appropriative water rights. The Public Trust Doctrine is based on the principle that certain resources are too valuable to be privately owned and must remain available for public use. In National Audubon Society v. Superior Court, the court held that the public trust doctrine restricts the amount of water that can be withdrawn from navigable waterways. The basis for the Public Trust Doctrine goes back to Roman law. Under Roman law, the air, the rivers, the sea and the seashore were incapable of private ownership; they were dedicated to the use of the public. In essence, the public trust doctrine establishes the role of the state as having trustee environmental duties owed to the public that are subsequently enforceable by the public. There is judicial recognition of this, dictating that certain rights of the public are key to individual common law rights. Judicial recognition of the public trust doctrine has been established for tidelands and non-navigable waterways, submerged land and the waters above them, and preservation of a public interest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ikka Fjord</span> Fjord in Greenland

Ikka Fjord is a small, narrow fjord in Southwestern Sermersooq municipality, Greenland. It is best known for the presence of hundreds of pillars of the metastable mineral ikaite, which was named after the fjord, and is found in Ikka in dramatic formations unknown to exist elsewhere.


  1. 1 2 3 "Quick Facts About Mono Lake". Mono Lake Committee. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  2. "Water Chemistry". Mono Lake Committee. January 14, 2021. Archived from the original on March 28, 2024. Retrieved May 29, 2023.
  3. 1 2 "Birds of the Basin: the Migratory Millions of Mono". Mono Lake Committee. Archived from the original on August 31, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  4. Carle, David (2004). Introduction to Water in California . Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN   0-520-24086-3.
  5. "Mono Lake". American Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on September 22, 2023. Retrieved May 29, 2023.
  6. Hart, John (1996). Storm Over Mono: The Mono Lake Battle and the California Water Future. University of California Press.
  7. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lundy Canyon
  8. 1 2 3 Tierney, Timothy (2000). Geology of the Mono Basin (revised ed.). Lee Vining, California: Kutsavi Press, Mono Lake Committee. pp. 45–46. ISBN   0-939716-08-9.
  9. Reheis, MC; Stine, S; Sarna-Wojcicki, AM (2002). "Drainage reversals in Mono Basin during the late Pliocene and Pleistocene". Geological Society of America Bulletin. 114 (8): 991. Bibcode:2002GSAB..114..991R. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(2002)114<0991:DRIMBD>2.0.CO;2.
  10. "Mono Lake". Long Valley Caldera Field Guide. USGS. Archived from the original on December 29, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  11. "Mono-Inyo Craters". USGS. Archived from the original on January 31, 2024. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  12. "Long Valley Caldera Field Guide - Panum Crater". USGS. Archived from the original on December 11, 2023. Retrieved May 29, 2023.
  13. Ford, T.D.; Pedley, H.M. (1996). "A review of tufa and travertine deposits of the world". Earth-Science Reviews. 41 (3–4): 117–175. Bibcode:1996ESRv...41..117F. doi:10.1016/S0012-8252(96)00030-X.
  14. 1 2 Dunn, James (1953). "The origin of the deposits of tufa in Mono Lake". Journal of Sedimentary Petrology. 23: 18–23. doi:10.1306/d4269530-2b26-11d7-8648000102c1865d.
  15. "Tufa". Mono Lake Committee. September 22, 2020. Retrieved May 29, 2023.
  16. 1 2 3 Dana, ES (1884). A crystallographic study of the thinolite of Lake Lahontan. Government Printing Office.
  17. Russell, IC (1889). "Quaternary history of Mono Valley, California". U. S. Geol. Survey 8th Ann. Rept. for 1886-1887. pp. 261–394.
  18. Russell, IC (1883). "Sketch of the geological history of Lake Lahontan". U. S. Geol. Survey 3rd Ann. Rept. for 1881-1882. pp. 189–235.
  19. Pauly, H (1963). ""Ikaite", a New Mineral from Greenland". Arctic. 16 (4): 263–264. doi: 10.14430/arctic3545 .
  20. Council, TC; Bennett, PC (1993). "Geochemistry of ikaite formation at Mono Lake, California: Implications for the origin of tufa mounds". Geology. 21 (11): 971–974. Bibcode:1993Geo....21..971C. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1993)021<0971:GOIFAM>2.3.CO;2.}
  21. Shearman, DJ; McGugan, A; Stein, C; Smith, AJ (1989). "Ikaite, CaCO3̇6H2O, precursor of the thinolites in the Quaternary tufas and tufa mounds of the Lahontan and Mono Lake Basins, western United States". Geological Society of America Bulletin. 101 (7): 913–917. Bibcode:1989GSAB..101..913S. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1989)101<0913:ICOPOT>2.3.CO;2.
  22. Swainson, IP; Hammond, RP (2001). "Ikaite, CaCO3· 6H2O: Cold comfort for glendonites as paleothermometers". American Mineralogist. 86 (11–12): 1530–1533. Bibcode:2001AmMin..86.1530S. doi:10.2138/am-2001-11-1223. S2CID   101559852.
  23. Buchardt, B; Israelson, C; Seaman, P; Stockmann, G (2001). "Ikaite tufa towers in Ikka Fjord, southwest Greenland: their formation by mixing of seawater and alkaline spring water". Journal of Sedimentary Research. 71 (1): 176–189. Bibcode:2001JSedR..71..176B. doi:10.1306/042800710176.
  24. Whiticar, MJ; Suess, E (1998). "The Cold Carbonate Connection Between Mono Lake, California and the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica". Aquatic Geochemistry. 4 (3/4): 429–454. doi:10.1023/A:1009696617671. S2CID   130488236.
  25. "Mono Lake FAQ". Mono Lake Committee. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  26. Jellison, R.; J. Romero; J. M. Melack (1998). "The onset of meromixis in Mono Lake: unintended consequences of reducing water diversions" (PDF). Limnology and Oceanography. 3 (4): 704–11. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 7, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  27. Melack, JM; Jellison, R; MacIntyre, S; Hollibaugh, JT (2017). "Mono Lake: Plankton Dynamics over Three Decades of Meromixis or Monomixis". In Gulati, R; Zadereev, E; Degermendzhi, A (eds.). Ecology of Meromictic Lakes. Ecological Studies. Vol. 228. Springer. pp. 325–351. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-49143-1_11. ISBN   978-3-319-49141-7.
  28. Jellison, R.; Roll, S. (June 2003). "Weakening and near-breakdown of meromixis in Mono Lake" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2008 via
  29. 1 2 Benson, LV; Currey, DR; Dorn, RI; Lajoie, KR; et al. (1990). "Chronology of expansion and contraction of four Great Basin lake systems during the past 35,000 years". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 78 (3–4): 241–286. Bibcode:1990PPP....78..241B. doi:10.1016/0031-0182(90)90217-U.
  30. 1 2 Stine, Scott (1990). "Late holocene fluctuations of Mono Lake, eastern California". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 78 (3–4): 333–381. Bibcode:1990PPP....78..333S. doi:10.1016/0031-0182(90)90221-R.
  31. 1 2 3 "Monthly Lake Levels". Mono Basin Research Clearinghouse. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  32. "Living in an Alkaline Environment". Microbial Life Education Resources. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  33. "Frequently Asked Questions About Mono Lake". Archived from the original on April 18, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  34. "Mono Lake". Ecoscenario. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
  35. "Brine Shrimp". Mono Lake Committee. August 7, 2020. Archived from the original on January 17, 2024. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  36. "Alkali Files". Mono Lake Committee. August 7, 2020. Archived from the original on January 17, 2024. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  37. Shih, Pei-Yin; Lee, James Siho; Shinya, Ryoji; Kanzaki, Natsumi; Pires-daSilva, Andre; Badroos, Jean Marie; Goetz, Elizabeth; Sapir, Amir; Sternberg, Paul W. (September 26, 2019). "Newly Identified Nematodes from Mono Lake Exhibit Extreme Arsenic Resistance" (PDF). Current Biology. 29 (19): 3339–3344.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.024 . PMID   31564490. S2CID   202794288. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 9, 2020.
  38. "Mono Lake". Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  39. "Birds". Mono Lake Committee. August 7, 2020. Archived from the original on April 5, 2024. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  40. Shuford, David; Page, Gary; Heath, Sacha; Nelson, Kristie (2016). "Factors influencing the abundance and distribution of the Snowy Plover at Mono Lake, California". Western Birds. 47: 38–49.
  41. LAWTON, HARRY W.; WILKE, PHILIP J.; DeDECKER, MARY; MASON, WILLIAM M. (1976). "Agriculture Among the Paiute of Owens Valley". The Journal of California Anthropology. 3 (1): 13–50. ISSN   0361-7181. JSTOR   27824857.
  42. "California Indians and Their Reservations: K". SDSU Library and Information Access. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
  43. Farquhar, Francis (1926). Place Names of the High Sierra. San Francisco: Sierra Club. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
  44. Stewart, OC. "The Northern Paiute Bands" (PDF). Anthropological Records. 2 (3).
  45. "California Indians and Their Reservations". SDSU Library and Information Access. Archived from the original on July 26, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  46. "Fortieth Annual Report of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  47. "About Mono Lake". Mono Lake Committee. Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  48. "Protecting California Gulls". Mono Lake Committee. October 21, 2020. Archived from the original on January 17, 2024. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  49. 1 2 3 "History of the Mono Lake Committee". Mono Lake Committee. Archived from the original on February 6, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  50. "Dust Sources at Mono Lake". Mono Basin Research Clearinghouse. Archived from the original on June 4, 2023. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  51. Sahagún, Louis (January 2, 2023). "Conservationists fight to end Los Angeles water imports from Eastern Sierra's Mono Lake". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 15, 2023. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  52. Reznik, Bruce (June 27, 2023). "Opinion: A wet winter began to replenish Mono Lake. L.A. should let it be a lake again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 28, 2023.
  53. "State of the Lake". Mono Lake Committee. August 7, 2020. Archived from the original on April 5, 2024. Retrieved May 30, 2023.
  54. "Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1981.10.1-2". Mono Lake Non-Site (Cinders near Black Point). 1968. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  55. "Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Mono Lake, 19:54 min, color, sound, Electronic Arts Intermix". 1968–2004. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  56. "Floyd Extra! How Wish You Were Here Went Up In Flames". MOJO magazine. September 2011. Archived from the original on October 13, 2011.
  57. Twain, Mark (1996). "chapter 38". Roughing It. University of Virginia Library: Electronic Text Center. ISBN   0-19-515979-9 . Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  58. Twain, Mark (1996). "chapter 39". Roughing It. University of Virginia Library: Electronic Text Center. ISBN   0-19-515979-9 . Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  59. Harris, S.L. (2005). Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes. Mountain Press. p. 61. ISBN   978-0-87842-511-2.
  60. Twain, Mark. "Roughing it Chapters 38 & 39". Mono Basin Clearing House. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  61. Harrison, Ken (March 19, 2015). "Mono in the movies: Fair Wind to java". The Sheet.
  62. Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. I.B. Tauris. p. 28. ISBN   978-1-84511-902-7.
  63. Sweeney, Mike (July 19, 2011). "Don't Know What You Got ('Till It's Gone)". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on June 2, 2023. Retrieved January 12, 2014.