Mono Beauty - Mono Lake, Lee Vining, California

Visiting Mono Lake is a unique experience, especially when in the South Tufa area of the lake. Mono Lake is 65 square miles in area, has no outlet and is one of the oldest lakes in North America with an estimated age of over a million years. Over this period of time, salts and minerals have seeped into the lake from melting snow and the resulting fresh water streams. The freshwater eventually evaporates, leaving behind the salt and minerals that have made the lake very alkaline. The lake is more than twice as salty as the ocean. The interaction between the alkaline and freshwater created the tufa columns at the bottom of the lake. Over time, as the level of the lake decreased, the tufa columns became visible in some potions of the lake. This phenomenon has made for a great photogenic subject, as can be seen in this photo.