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Of Fire and Water

Mono Lake sits high on the Mono Basin on the east side of the Sierra Nevada in California. It is a lake that is born out of volcanism some 760,000 years ago. As is the case in all desert environments, water is crucial and Mono Lake is no exception. It serves nearly two million birds for at least part of the year and hosts a thriving ecosystem based on the brine shrimp that live in its salty alkaline waters. It has an alien landscape made distinctive by the Tufa formations that are also born of geothermal activity when fresh hot water percolates up from the lake floor and reacts with the salt alkaline water. We normally see fire and water as opposing elements and rare is the occurrence where they come together to form such fascinating forms.


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