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Columns of Mono Lake. California

Mono Lake is one of the most amazing places in California and one of the most dangerous lakes in the world. The lake is about three-quarters of a million years old. Perhaps it is the oldest lake in the United States. It is located in the desert on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, at an altitude of 1945 meters above sea level. Area of the lake is about 155 square kilometers; the average depth is 17 meters.

Mono Lake is fed with just one river Owens. Since the lake has no outlet, hundreds of thousands of years the water is able only to evaporate. As a result, the lake has become extremely salty, almost three times more salty then the sea water. Therefore, there is no fish in the lake, but trillions of Artemias (crustaceans) and alkali flies feel at home here.

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Until 1941 this amazingly beautiful lake flourished and it was harmless. But later, Los Angeles began to merge industrial and chemical waste into the lake, and it lasted for almost 50 years. In 1978, David Gaines has formed a committee for the protection of the lake. In 1990 such terrible handling with natural resource was finally stopped. The lake has decreased for a half, and its salinity doubled. Mono Lake has become toxic from carbonates, chlorides and sulfates.

Tuff towers, rising out of the lake, are the unusual point of interest of Mono Lake. This occurs by mixing calcium carbonate with underwater sources of the lake water, thereby forming limestone, which accumulates over time and becomes a columnar tower. These limestone pillars began to peek out from under the water and then rise after lowering the water level. These silhouettes of the tuff towers resemble New York with its towering skyscrapers. These amazing towers, spiers and spirals cause admiration of the tourists.

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There are several islands in the lake and the largest of them Pahoa, the second largest island Negit. With the dramatic shallowing of Mono Lake in the middle of the twentieth century, the island Negit turned into a peninsula.

The newly-formed land, which was a refuge for migratory birds that used to nest here, became a dangerous area. Since the land was combined with the bank, they have become easily accessible to the local predators and now they are rare guests here. But up to 2 million birds of various species nest on the shores of Mono Lake.

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