Sunday, November 15, 2015

Soda Lake's Tufa Mounds





Nature's Artistry in a lake within a volcanic cone 

What are the chances of finding a lake within a collapsed volcano cone out in the dry, hot desert of Nevada?  Just northwest of Fallon, Nevada, off a dirt road to the north is a 1.2 mile long body of water, named Soda Lake.

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The basin that holds Soda Lake's water is a collapsed volcanic cone.  Over the short geological span of 1500 years, magma rose toward the surface which boiled the groundwater, causing a violent explosive eruption.  However, it has only been recently that the water for Soda Lake filled the collapsed cone when irrigation from farming caused the ground water to rise.


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The eastern rim of Soda Lake provides the most noticeable clue of the volcanic cone and rises 80 feet above the water.  Dark rocks of various sizes, "basaltic bombs" can still be found mixed in the sand of the crater.


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However, one of the most intriguing features at Soda Lake is not exactly due to its volcanic evolution.  Looking across the lake to the northwest, a number of white pillars stand out on the water's edge. 


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At first glance, I was reminded of the Biblical "Pillars of Salt" and curiosity drew me to venture for a closer look.


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The white pillars in various shapes and sizes growing out of the water appeared to me as abstract art works in plaster of paris. I was soon to learn that these creative works of nature's artistry were in fact Tufa Mounds.


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Tufa is a type of limestone and tufa mounds are created when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with carbonates (soda). A chemical reaction forms that produces calcium carbonate--limestone.  The calcium carbonate precipitates or settles out of solution as a solid around the spring. Over the course of time, which usually takes hundreds of years, tufa mounds begin to grow. However these at Soda Lake are estimated by the USGS to be less than a century old.


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Some of the larger tufa mounds reach about 9 feet tall (3m) with a 16 foot (5m) base.  Since the tufa mounds grow or form underwater, they may extend down 13 feet (4m) deep.



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The shallow shore makes a sudden drop off  visible in the darker shades of green, the lake has a calculated depth of 147 feet (44.80m).


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Soda Lake's high alkali content does not support fish, but brine shrimp do thrive in the water. The brine shrimp draw a large variety of waterfowl, including grebes, gulls, terns, coots and ducks.  Additionally people come to swim and soak in the lake for recreation and the health benefits of the carbonates.


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Nature's diversity never fails to amaze me as I have discovered in this thriving habitat that exists within a collapsed volcanic cone in an alkaline lake.  Continue to follow my blog and check back often to see what adventures my next photo-explorations will discover.


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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Autumn Comes to Zion National Park




Enjoying Nature during my favorite season!



Days grow shorter, drawing the hustle and bustle of summer to a crescendo.  The season's contrasting vibrant colors give way to yellow and oranges of autumn.


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As much as I appreciate the sunny days and warm nights of summer, there is just something about autumn that makes me yearn to spend as much quality time in the colorful landscape before it disappears.

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My most favorite place to enjoy the colors of autumn has always been in Zion National Park, Utah.  Maybe it's the analogous yellows and oranges accenting trees or the vibrant reflections on the Virgin River as it meanders through the park.


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Perhaps it is the visual stimulation of scenes like the Court of the Patriarchs which stand even more majestic against the deep blue sky when brilliant trees of autumn accent the foreground. 


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 Or maybe it is just becoming one with the moment in a place that time has left untarnished. 

On an overcast autumn morning, to walk across a blanket of gold with colorful limbs arching over head, just as a gentle rain begins to fall.


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A feeling of solitude and peace on a nature walk that awakens the senses with hues, tones and fragrances of the unspoiled earth.  


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And maybe catch a glimpse of wildlife in the quiet, uncrowded park.



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As the day grows late, the sun's rays lengthen warming the red and tan Navajo Sandstone; the autumn's colorful trees slowly surrender to the shadows of approaching dusk.


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 Watchman's Mountain blushes a crimson red just as sunset's finale gives one last curtain call.  


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And as the clouds of sunset lift there is a dusting of snow just as the full moon lights the night. 


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Yes, autumn gives me a feeling of being closer to the earth, the bright analogous colors stimulate my eyes but the stillness of nature create a serenity that only a place like Zion can bring.  


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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.