The lake has a surface area of about 70 square miles and is the second largest lake in … Mono Basin History Overview Mono Lake, an inland sea that is at least 760,000 years old dominates the landscape east of the Sierra Nevada crest between Yosemite National Park and the Nevada border. These climatic conditions likely persisted until the end of the latest ice age (around 11,000 years ago), when Mono Lake reached it’s greatest depth of 900 ft. At the termination of this ice age, the climate naturally shifted to drier, warmer conditions and the alpine ice sheets became extinct, cutting off a major supply of fresh water to the basin. In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power began the Mono Lake Storydiverting water from Mono Lake's tributary streams, sending it 350 miles south to meet the growing water demands of Los Angeles. These ‘modern’ eruptions formed the Paoha Island in the center of the lake, which is now an important breeding ground for a variety of song and sea birds. Mono Lake is known for its desert lake, and its saline “statues”. Mono County was formed in 1861 from parts of Calaveras, Fresno and Mariposa counties. For additional information about the geologic, natural, and early anthropogenic history of the region, visit the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center. These indigenous people were primarily supported by the lake, obtaining a substantial amount of their nutrition from the larvae of the alkali flies that live in and around the muddy shorelines. By 1990, the lake had lost over half of its water volume and salinity levels doubled, creating an ecological disaster and health hazard (due to airborne alkaline dust) for the region. The Mono Lake Committee, a science-driven nonprofit, runs a bookstore in the lakeshore community of Lee Vining. Later volcanism (around 2.5 million years ago) poured thick accumulations of molten rock (basalt) into the valleys, shaping the landscape and creating natural dams that controlled the flow of water. To get to the site, head east for a short distance on the maintained Conway Ranch dirt road, which is located about one mile north of the junction of U.S. Route 395 and State Route 167 (4.5 miles north of Lee Vining, CA). An important characteristic of Mono Lake is that it is a closed lake. Li., H.-C., Ku, T.-L., Stott, L. D. and Anderson, R. F. (1997). A California State Historic Marker indicates the location of the town site and summer visitors are reminded to be aware of the reptiles that inspired the canyon’s name. Summary The most topographically prominent feature of Mono Lake volcanic field is Black Point, which rises above the northwest shore. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. They accept your National Park pass for parking. and 1850 C.E. Today, several of the large tufa towers are now nesting sites for predatory Osprey and bird watching is strongly encouraged. Lake sediments confirm that Mono Lake is older than the Long Valley eruption, which took place 760,000 years ago. Lava domes and flows form Negit and parts of Paoha islands within Mono Lake. Bird walks are offered from County Park in the summer. Water sourced from melting ice sheets located on the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountains flowed downslope and was captured by the basin. We visited Mono Lake! Stable isotope studies on Mono Lake (California). Equilibrium and nonequilibrium oxygen isotope effects in synthetic carbonates. By 1981 it was 46 feet below where it had been in 1940. A small band of the Northern Paiute Tribe known as the Kucadikadi, or pupae eaters, were some of the first humans to inhabit the Mono Lake region. In the 1970s, as the city shipped more water down the aqueduct, Mono Lake’s water level fell sharply. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mono Lake, Learn how and when to remove this template message, http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca5779, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, National Audubon Society v. Superior Court, Don't Know What You Got ('Till It's Gone), "Birds of the Basin: the Migratory Millions of Mono", U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lundy Canyon, 10.1306/d4269530-2b26-11d7-8648000102c1865d, "The onset of meromixis in Mono Lake: unintended consequences of reducing water diversions", "Weakening and near-breakdown of meromixis in Mono Lake", "Frequently Asked Questions About Mono Lake", "Newly Identified Nematodes from Mono Lake Exhibit Extreme Arsenic Resistance", "Kutzadika'a People: Living in Harmony with the Mono Basin", "California Indians and Their Reservations: K", "California Indians and Their Reservations", "Fortieth Annual Report of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles", "Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1981.10.1-2", "Floyd Extra! Human History The Mono Lake story, as it relates to excessive water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and the Mono Lake Committee, is by no means the only celebrated human story in the Mono Basin. Composed of algae, brine shrimp, alkali flies and more than 80 species of water birds, this ecosystem is complex yet fragile. Mono Lake History. In the middle of Mono Lake are two islands, Negit and Paoha, where the most recent volcanic eruption in the area occurred about 300 years ago. "Don't Know What You Got ('Till It's Gone)". Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Since it was formed, the lake has supported a unique ecosystem that includes algae, brine shrimp and millions of migratory and nesting birds. In 1982 Mono Lake was reduced to an elevation of 6,372ft (1,942m), the lowest ever recorded. Although very little remains of the Monoville town site today, visitors can still get a grasp on the harsh conditions 19th-century miners endured when extracting natural resources in the west. Mono Lake, in eastern California, is a strange, salty place. This labor intensive and costly undertaking did not pan out for the miners of Monoville and by the middle of the 1860’s, almost all of the residents had emigrated from the area to more promising mining towns. Volcanic activity has been ongoing in the Mono Lake Basin for at least the past 2.5 to 3 million years. Kim, S.T., O'Neil, J.R., 1997. The West; Travel; Mono Lake: A Soup of History. Evaporation induced 18 O and 13 C enrichment in lake systems: a global perspective on hydrologic balance effects. Benson, L. V., & Thompson, R. S. (1987). Mono Lake is the saline remnant of a much larger Pleistocene fresh-water lake known as Lake Russell. The origin of the Mono Lake Committee The story goes that in 1975, David Gaines, a young teaching assistant at Stanford University, secured a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct the first comprehensive ecological study of Mono Lake along with undergraduate students from UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and Earlham College. Twenty years after the discovery at Monoville, prospectors struck gold at nearby Bodie and the region again experienced a period of rapid population growth as the mines began producing precious metals. Without adequate inflow and recharge from the runoff, evaporation quickly caused lake levels to drop and water salinity levels to increase. With a yearly evaporation rate of 45 inches (nearly four feet) the lake level quickly dropped, going from an elevation of 6,417 feet above sea level to a low point of 6,372 feet above sea level. The park has over 4000 feet on Lake Michigan, 2000 feet on the Mona Lake Channel and 1500 feet on Mona Lake. Equilibrium oxygen, hydrogen and carbon isotope fractionation factors applicable to geologic systems. Salinity increased and air quality decreased as winds stirred up dust from the newly exposed lakeshore. Holocene fluctuations of Mono Lake, California: the sedimentary record. This made recovery difficult for individual miners and by the early 1860’s, most of the mineral claims were consolidated by large hydraulic mining companies. Western Mono on the west side in the south-central foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Mono Lake as well as in the Mono Basin have been known throughout recorded history as "Mono", "Mona," "Monache," or "Northfork Mono," as labeled by E.W. Mono Lake is the saline remnant of a much larger lake that filled the Mono basin during the Pleistocene. This facility, located just off of US Route 395 north of Lee Vining, CA., has extensive exhibits informing visitors about the natural and human-influenced history of the lake and seasonal guided group tours of the area are also available. Today, you'll see the Hammond Station Restaurant in full operation. Taking a dip in Mono Lake. Gifford, an ethnographer studying people in the vicinity of the San Joaquin River in the 1910s. The Huffington Post. Mono Lake lies within Mono Basin and is a remnant of a much larger prehistoric body of water called Lake Russell (named after a geologist). Wrong! The recent battle over Mono Lake was part of a larger effort to limit Los Angeles’s diversion of water from the Owens Valley and Mono Basin. Kim, S. T., & ONeil, J. R. (1997). County Park - off US Highway 395, has picnic tables and is within walking distance of Mono Lake and its bizarre Tufa towers. Extension, or pulling apart, of the Earth’s crust has created north/south trending mountain ranges flanked by deep, long valleys. Benson, L., Lund, S., Negrini, R., Linsley, B., & Zic, M. (2003). On the positive side, the lowering of the lake exposed the spectacular and photogenic tufa towers that characterize the lake and mesmerize visitors today. The award winning Welcome Center and staff is the first step in making the most out of your visit to... Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, a Designated California Welcome Center. In fact, Mono Lake has one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. The walkway along Mona Lake provides an ideal fishing area. Mono Lake is an inland sea located east of Yosemite National Park near the Nevada border. It also includes important legislation designations, including the landmark September 28, 1994 decision by the State Water Resources Control Board amending the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) water diversion licenses in the Mono … Formed over one million years ago, the lake is one of North America’s oldest lakes. Jason has…, Real Snow: Taking the kids to Mammoth Lakes, Tips for Stargazing in the Eastern Sierra, Summer Photo Ops That Will Make Your Friends Jealous. The vast inland sea filled the whole basin and extended into Nevada (USGS). Mono Lake Basin was formed by the same geologic processes that shaped the Nevada and Eastern Sierra landscape over the past several million years. How Wish You Were Here Went Up In Flames", "World Lake Database entry for Mono Lake", Roadside Geology and Mining History of the Owens Valley and Mono Basin, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mono_Lake&oldid=997107175, Tourist attractions in Mono County, California, Articles using infobox body of water without alt, Articles using infobox body of water without image bathymetry, Pages using multiple image with auto scaled images, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from May 2019, All Wikipedia articles needing clarification, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Lithoid tufa - massive and porous with a rock-like appearance, Dendritic tufa - branching structures that look similar to small shrubs, Thinolitic tufa - large well-formed crystals of several centimeters, This page was last edited on 30 December 2020, at 01:21. Cole, D. R., & Stockmann, G. ( 2001 ) melting ice sheets on... 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