- 5 years ago
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Mono Lake (/ˈmoʊnoʊ/ MOH-noh) is a large, shallow saline lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in a basin that has no outlet to the ocean. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.
This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that thrive in its waters, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp. Mono Lake is also notable for containing GFAJ-1, a rod-shaped extremophilic species of bacteria that may be capable of metabolizing the usually poisonous element arsenic.
The human history of Mono Lake is associated with its productive ecosystem. The native Kutzadika'a people derived nutrition from the larvae of the alkaline flies that live in the lake.