Mono Lake's tufa towers look like another planet's mountainscape

November 18, 2014, 2:45 p.m.

Strange and surreal sights at Mono Lake

Mono Lake is an amazing location for landscape photographers and we've seen some incredible images from readers that highlight the unusual body of water. One of the oldest lakes in the western hemisphere at more than 760,000 years old, this lake is an important stop for migrating and breeding birds traveling through the Great Basin in California. It is also an important stop for someone wanting to photograph a place that looks like another planet. The tower-like structures are called tufa towers. The calcium-carbonate spires are created when fresh water springs rise up through the highly alkaline lake water. In fact, these tufa towers are one of the reasons that Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was created -- to protect them, as well as the many birds who need this location during migration.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.