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Geology[ edit ] Mono Lake occupies part of the Mono Basin , an endorheic basin that has no outlet to the ocean. USGS map of the Mono Lake area showing geological features, map showing the system of once-interconnected Pleistocene lakes, relief map of Mono Lake and surrounding area From 4. Mono Lake is believed to have formed at least , years ago, dating back to the Long Valley eruption.

Sediments located below the ash layer hint that Mono Lake could be a remnant of a larger and older lake that once covered a large part of Nevada and Utah , which would put it among the oldest lakes in North America. Volcanic activity continues in the Mono Lake vicinity: Panum Crater on the south shore of the lake is an excellent example of a combined rhyolite dome and cinder cone. Tufa towers[ edit ] Among the most iconic features of Mono Lake are the columns of limestone that tower over the water surface.

These limestone towers consist primarily of calcium carbonate minerals such as calcite CaCO3. This type of limestone rock is referred to as tufa , which is a term used for limestone that forms in low to moderate temperatures.

Tufa tower formation[ edit ] Mono Lake is a highly alkaline lake, or soda lake. Alkalinity is a measure of how many bases are in a solution , and how well the solution can neutralize acids. Hence, Mono Lake has a very high content of dissolved inorganic carbon. Subsurface waters enter the bottom of Mono Lake through small springs.

High concentrations of dissolved calcium ions in these subsurface waters cause huge amounts of calcite to precipitate around the spring orifices. It took many decades or even centuries to form the well-recognized tufa towers.

When lake levels fell, the tufa towers came to rise above the water surface and stand as the majestic pillars seen today see Lake Level History for more information. Tufa morphology[ edit ] These are original sketches of thinolite made by Edward S. Dana from his book from Crystallographic Study of the Thinolite of Lake Lahontan.

Dana and Israel C. Russell made the first systematic descriptions of the Mono Lake tufa. However, you can also find tufa sections from old shorelines, when the lake levels were higher. These pioneering works in tufa morphology are still referred to by researchers today and were confirmed by James R. The tufa types can roughly be divided into three main categories based on morphology: There can be multiple transitions between tufa morphologies within a single tufa tower.

Through time, many hypotheses were developed regarding the formation of the large thinolite crystals also referred to as glendonite in thinolitic tufa. It was relatively clear that the thinolites represented a calcite pseudomorph after some unknown original crystal.

It is also believed that calcite crystallization inhibitors such as phosphate , magnesium , and organic carbon may aid in the stabilization of ikaite.

Tufa chemistry[ edit ] Rusell studied the chemical composition of the different tufa types in Lake Lahontan , a large Pleistocene system of multiple lakes in California, Nevada, and Oregon. Not surprisingly, it was found that the tufas consisted primarily of CaO and CO2. Carbon and oxygen isotopes[ edit ] Carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of Mono Lake tufas have the potential to reveal many interesting things about how water bodies mix in Mono Lake, how the climate changed throughout time in the Mono Basin , and how biology may or may not play a role in tufa formation.

Steps have been made to understand the isotopic compositions of "modern" tufa and water isotopic composition in Mono Lake. The lighter isotope 16O will preferentially be evaporated, leaving more of the heavier isotope 18O behind. It is also important to note that tufa forms from a mixture between lake water and subsurface waters. This is only if we assume that the subsurface waters have similar compositions to riverine water.

There is also a temperature-dependent fractionation between Mono Lake water and precipitating carbonates. However, this mixture appears to be largely dominated by Mono Lake water. It could be related to changes in DIC composition of Mono Lake, riverine water, and subsurface water compositions in the immediate past, which in turn could be related to climate or biological productivity in the lake.

These subsurface waters may have a very different composition compared to both Mono Lake waters and riverine surface waters. In addition, secondary crystallization e.

An important characteristic of Mono Lake is that it is a closed lake. This means that water does not flow out of the surface of the lake. Water can only escape the lake if it evaporates or is lost to groundwater. This may cause closed lakes to become very saline.

The lake level of closed lakes will be strongly dependent on changes in climate. Hence, studying lake levels can reveal information about climate change in the past and present. Three different studies with three different methods provide different resolutions to understanding the lake level history of Mono Lake read below.

This revealed six stages in lake level in the past years: It was found that the record revealed 5 periods of distinct lake conditions: In fact, the lake level reached the Holocene High Stand. This high stand corresponded to a period of maximum effective moisture in the Great Basin. The lake level drop continued until the Holocene Low Stand at 5.

The gap between 6 - 2 ka could be attributed to shallow lake conditions. In addition, sediment types observed in the core between 2 - 0. High, fluctuating lake levels. This period corresponded to the Little Ice Age. The isotopic record had very high annual resolution. Overall the lake levels of Mono Lake appeared to have corresponded to known climatic events such as periods of maximum or minimum effective moisture, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age. High stable lake level. This stable lake level corresponded to two beds of silt that would have been deposited in a deep lake.

There was a sudden fall in lake level at the beginning of this period. Sand delta terraces from this time period indicated a lake-surface altitude of m.

During this period, Mono Lake rose to its highest lake-surface altitude of m. This lake level record has been correlated with significant climatic events including polar jet stream movement, Heinrich , and Dansgaard-Oeschger events.

You can read about these in the section on Paleoclimate reconstruction.


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Total 2 comments.
#1 03.09.2018 в 04:22 Azarij:
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