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Convict Lake Moraines
Geology of Convict Lake
Chatting with other campers at Convict Lake one soon realizes you were not the only family that has camped here on a regular basis.
Sitting at the campsite at Convict Lake my mind wonders about the vista before me. Visiting the lake each year since 1979 has raised many questions through the years. Purchasing books to help answer those questions about the immediate area makes the view pop even more to life.
The biggest thing that happened here, some years back, is a very large volcano blew. The volcano was active because a hot zone developed due to forces crunching and building the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This moment in time is evident as you drive up Hwy 395 from Los Angeles, because basalt and cinder cones litter the scenery.
The little narrative here is about a later time, -20,000 years, when huge glaciers crawled down the mountains and left piles of rock called moraines. This lake is in existence because a moraine is a natural dam holding the water back.
Photo above illustrates the classic U-shape the glacier leaves behind. On each side are lateral moraines. In the foreground is a close up of what the moraines are made of. The lake is 140 feet deep. Ice and water moved the material down the slope in radiating deposits and aerial photos give clear evidence of the work of the glacier. This view is looking west.
photo credit: Sherry Venegas
Geology - Red is Route 395
Are you interested in geology?
Three Photos of the East End Natural Dam - Glacier period was about 20,000 years agoClick thumbnail to view full-size
Exciting Aerial View
Photo Above by Marli Miller
I was very excited to see this aerial view of a spot visited so often. In 2013 the creek was noticeably lower, as California is having a series of drought years.
Now many questions are answered about this quiet place in the mountains of California. I learned that all the material the glacier moved to form the distinctive ripples is called till. It is clear the ice flow was large and made a sharp left turn and advanced to the large moraine near the bottom of the photo. Image there were a series of warm and cold years to create the ripples going uphill toward the lake.
View of the Down Slope End of Moraine FieldClick thumbnail to view full-size
Laurel Mountain is A Dawn Photo Stop
Many visitors of the area take photography workshops and the east end of Convict Lake is a very popular stop at dawn.
Here are links to some awesome photos. The first one is actually before dawn with moon glow. Technically, I do not know how an image like this is taken, but this one is spectacular.
Experimenting with Photography at Convict Lake
Have you been to Convict Lake?
Mono County, CA
When visiting Convict Lake you are in Mono County, CA. CA counties are not as famous as the Irish counties, but they are by far larger.
The word is out in the EU. The California landscape is popular with European travelers. It is certainly something far different than the Alps and many times more vast.
It is easy to meet many foreign travelers along this highway with RVs and some with only tents. There is the new minivans converted into a complete housekeeping amenities except the bathroom. In California a new traveler can spend many days seeing the geology of the area. There are many campgrounds with no hookups, and so places to stop for the night are plentiful.
A Rainy Day Look Convict Lake Basin
© 2013 Sherry Venegas