Close Window

Mono Float

Mono Float

Friends –

My Moab buddies may think that this is an imaginary painting of Fisher Towers during an extreme flood of the Colorado River.  It is true that Fisher Towers in Utah bear a superficial resemblance to Mono Lake Tufa Towers in California.  But I speculate that the nature of their formation is almost completely opposite.

Fisher Towers near Moab were formed by wind and water erosion of softer soils away from the relatively hard Cutler Sandstone.  What remained behind were some amazingly strong towers that allow human beings to scale their sides with ropes, pitons and courage.

Mono Lake Tufa towers, however, built themselves up from underwater springs, rather than passively allowing their surroundings to erode away.  Spring water, rich in calcium, bubbled up allowing the calcium to combine with lakewater carbonates forming limestone.  Ongoing deposits allowed Tufa towers to grow and become solid.  These limestone towers are fragile, protected and climbing is not allowed.

The visibility of Mono Lake Tufa is also a testament to the greed of Los Angeles water barons who used to play a free hand at diverting water from multiple sources to feed the urban growth in Southern California.  The resulting rapid drop in water levels at Mono Lake exposed the limestone Tufa towers, which would naturally be seen only underwater. Now California water diversions are more controlled, and the supply to Mono Lake is protected for now… as well as the Tufas and unique Mono Lake wildlife.

I want to thank Greg Gearheart for the use of his photograph to complete this pastel painting, which is available for your donation to a worthwhile non-profit.

Enjoy your spring and find a way to float wherever you are.

margie lopez read