Where on Earth? - June 2015

by The American Geosciences Institute
Monday, June 1, 2015

Scroll down for the answer

Scroll down for the answer

Clues for June 2015:

  1. This shallow playa lake is located in a closed, or endorheic, basin where water flows in but not out (except through evaporation). The lake was much deeper during the Pleistocene — when it was fed by glaciers — as can be seen from remnants of former shorelines in the surrounding mountains.
  2. The combination of mineral-rich inflows and arid conditions leads to the formation of abundant evaporite minerals near the lake; it’s the type locality for the carbonate-sulfate mineral hanksite (lower photo).
  3. The mostly dry lake basin is also home to distinctive tufa pinnacles that formed when the lake was larger and deeper, and which have been recognized as a National Natural Landmark since 1968.

Name the lake and its location.

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Answer: Located in the Mojave Desert of California, Searles Lake is an endorheic basin, meaning it has no natural outflow. The region’s arid conditions and the mineral-rich waters flowing into the lake contribute to the formation of abundant evaporites, such as hanksite, as well as distinctive features like the Trona Pinnacles. Photo is by Callan Bentley. June Winners: Douglas Albach (Reva, Va.) Robert Couch (Corrales, N.M.) Steve Kupferman (Rancho Murieta, Calif.) Ronald Parratt (Reno, Nev.) Fred Taylor (Tyler, Texas)

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