Rajan Parrikar Photo Blog

Trona Pinnacles Revisited

Another magical evening.

In 2010 I experienced an enchanting evening at the Trona Pinnacles. On my visit in December 2012, I was witness to another equally engrossing spectacle.

My posts at the Trona Pinnacles are archived here.

From: Death Valley and the Northern Mojave by William C. Tweed and Lauren Davis (Cachuma Press, 2003)

As dawn approaches, the Trona Pinnacles emerge like a dream landscape from the parched bed of Searles Lake. The silhouettes of over 500 strangely shaped towers cluster together against a vast plain rimmed with distant hills. Old-timers call it Cathedral City, an apt name for such a mysterious looking place.

Although it may be hard to imagine, the Trona Pinnacles once protruded from the bottom of a deep lake. During the ice ages that occurred between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago, runoff from the Sierra Nevada periodically coursed into Searles Lake…The pinnacles consist of an unusual “rock” called tufa. It resembles limestone and forms entirely underwater…

…From a distance Searles Lake looks like any other Mojave Desert salt pan. But this playa is different: its deep lakebed sediments contain 98 of the approximately 112 elements.

 
Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California

Trona Pinnacles in Searles Lake, Mojave Desert, California
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California

Shadow play
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 II IS

 
Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California

Tufa candles
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 II IS

 
Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California

Last light on the Slate Range
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 II IS

 
Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California

Moonrise
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 II IS

 
Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California

Belt of Venus
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 II IS

 
 
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