March 21, 2007
This cluster of muffin tops or tufa bubbles was found on Winnemucca Dry Lake in northern Nevada. Tufa is common limestone that forms in a rather strange way. Underwater springs bubble to the surface with water rich in calcium. This water then mixed with the former lake water, which was rich in carbonates (basically baking soda). Some tufa formations grow to impressive heights, such as the Tufa Towers at Mono Lake, California. However, those at Winnemucca Dry Lake are stunted. Perhaps the lake went dry before these bubbles could grow taller, as tufa typically forms under the water surface. Photo taken on December 10, 2006.