Archive - Soda Dry Lake

March 12, 2022


Every weekend we present a notable item from our archives.

This EPOD was originally published on February 11, 2010.

Photographer: Barbara Traub
Summary Authors: Barbara Traub; Jim Foster
The photo above shows a scenic view of Soda Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert of California. Soda Dry Lake is a playa, which is a shallow, more or less rounded lake or wetlands area filled by rainfall. Playas are formed in areas where there’s no outlet to a river or larger water body. Thus, the relief where they are encountered is extremely flat – nearly level terrain. In the United States playas are found in the Basin and Range province, west of the Rocky Mountains, and in portions of the Great Plains. During periods when rainfall is particularly scarce, a crust of evaporite minerals is often observed on the surface and along the edge of playas. Capillary action draws the scant water from below the lake bed upward to the surface where it quickly evaporates. Note: because of the shading on the photo, the eye is tricked into believing that the surface is wetter than was the case. Photo taken late in the afternoon of January 10, 2010.

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