Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Fly-Eaters

Mono Lake, California

Conditions were not optimal for photography at Mono Lake today. You want blue skies and no wind so you can see reflections in the water.

Mono is thought to be 760,000 years old. It has no outflow so it has become hyper saline as water flows in from snow melt and evaporates. Nothing lives in the lake except tiny brine shrimp and alkali fly larvae. Each cubic foot of water contains about 500 brine shrimp and 4,000 fly larvae.

The strange limestone rock structures formed underwater because of the lake's high mineral content. They are called "Tufas". In 1941, Los Angeles diverted a significant portion of the lake's water supply, lowering the level of the lake significantly. As a result, many of the Tufas are now out of the water up on the lake shore. The water level has been stabilized now by a water sharing agreement. Mrs. Phred and I both notice the similarity between the Tufa structures and Gaudi's park in Barcelona. I think it and she says it. Maybe we have to much "together time" since we retired.
I want to reproduce the photo used by Pink Floyd. It's called "The Diver". Two of my t-shirts have this image. Basically you need to do a handstand, until the ripples subside. They recommend not swallowing any of the water. I'll use a solution of alcohol and vinegar to kill the fly larvae in my ear canals. Tomorrow we may hit the lake at dawn to see if conditions improve.

A main food staple of the Kutzadika'a Indians was the Alkali fly. The Yogut Indians called the Kutzadika'a "Monoache" which means "fly-eater" in Yogut. This was shortened to Mono by European settlers.

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