Tufa towers at Lake Mono

Tufa towers at Lake Mono

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Credit: BOB GIBBONS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tufa towers at Lake Mono, California, USA. Tufa is a mineral deposit formed by the precipitation of calcium salts from water saturated with bicarbonates. These formations (top-right) were formed underwater when calcium-rich underwater springs mixed with the carbonate-rich lake water. They became exposed in the mid-20th century when the lake's tributaries were diverted to support the growth of Los Angeles, resulting in a drop in the lake's water level. The lake is an important habitat for bird species. Since the mid-1990s a campaign to protect the lake has resulted in an increase in its water level. Photographed in July.

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