The Trona Pinnacles, America's largest collection of tufa towers, are in the Mojave Desert near Trona, California. (The town is named after the evaporite mineral trona, Na3(CO3)(HCO3)·2H2O.) Tufa towers are a sign of drastically changed climate. Tufa is a spongy kind of travertine, a calcium carbonate deposit formed where springs discharge groundwater into conditions (thermal or chemical) that force the mineral content out of solution. The presence of tufa towers means that where desert exists today, underwater springs once discharged into a large, deep lakeprobably a salty, alkaline lake like Mono Lake, California, where modern tufa towers are growing. The remains of Trona's former lake, Searles Lake, are salt beds that are mined today for many useful minerals, especially boron ores like ulexite.
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|The Trona Pinnacles||Searles Lake and the Trona Pinnacles||Approaching the Trona Pinnacles||Trona Pinnacles, Northern Group|
|Trona Pinnacles, Southern Group||Tufa Tower Cluster||Tufa Tower||Tufa Structure|
|Tufa Closeup||Help Preserve the Trona Pinnacles|
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