Mono Craters, California

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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This locale crams more diverse geology into a few square miles than just about anyplace else on earth. You have saline Mono Lake with its tufa pinnacles, centerpiece of a water war between Los Angeles and environmentalists. There's the Sierra Nevada fault scarp and spectacular mountain glaciation. Then there are the Quaternary Mono Craters. In the map above, moraines are in green and volcanic cones in purple. The cones are rhyolitic, consisting of obsidian domes, thick tabular flows, and domes with ejecta rings.


Mono Craters

Mono Lake, California Left and below: Panum Crater is the northernmost and most easily accessible of the Mono Craters, with a dirt road leading to the base. Like most of the craters it consists of a rhyolite dome surrounded by a low cone of talus and ejecta.
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Mono Lake, CaliforniaMono Lake, California
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Mono Lake, CaliforniaLeft and below: Views of Mono Lake from Panum Crater
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Mono Lake, California 
Mono Lake, California Looking north along the ejecta ring. The Sierra Nevada scarp is in the distance.
Mono Lake, California Looking west along the ejecta ring. The Sierra Nevada scarp is in the distance.
Mono Lake, California Left and below: Looking southwest at the Sierra Nevada.
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Mono Lake, California 
Mono Lake, California 
Mono Lake, California Panum crater ejecta: a mixture of pumice and pre-volcanic alluvium.
Mono Lake, California View of Panum Crater from the northwest.

Mono Craters

Mono Lake, California North end of the Mono Craters from California 120.
Mono Lake, California Left: looking south along the Mono Craters.

Below: north end of the Mono Craters.

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Mono Lake, California Left and below: the Mono Craters from the west.
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Mono Lake, California Below: obsidian dome west of US 395 at the south end of the Mono Caters.
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Glass Mountain

Mono Lake, California There are more glass mountains around here than you can shake a stick at. This one is just west of US 395, a short distance south of the Mono Craters. It's an obsidian dome mantled with rubble.
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Mono Lake, California Left: moraine.

Below: Views of Glass Mountain

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Mono Lake, California Close up of obsidian boulder, showing glass and streaks of frothy pumice.
Mono Lake, California 

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Created 14 July 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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