ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Convict Lake Moraines

Updated on January 8, 2017
East side of Convict Lake
East side of Convict Lake | Source

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

Highway 395: Wikipedia
Highway 395: Wikipedia

Are you interested in geology?

See results

Three Photos of the East End Natural Dam - Glacier period was about 20,000 years ago

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Moraine in background forming the north side of the lake.The same north side as it turns and forms a natural dam at the east end.The south side of the east end of the lake.First ridge is the south lateral moraine. Tall pine trees are scattered along the length of the creek.
Moraine in background forming the north side of the lake.
Moraine in background forming the north side of the lake.
The same north side as it turns and forms a natural dam at the east end.
The same north side as it turns and forms a natural dam at the east end.
The south side of the east end of the lake.
The south side of the east end of the lake.
First ridge is the south lateral moraine. Tall pine trees are scattered along the length of the creek.
First ridge is the south lateral moraine. Tall pine trees are scattered along the length of the creek.

Exciting Aerial View

 See more glaciated aerials by clicking link. These pictures are fascinating.
See more glaciated aerials by clicking link. These pictures are fascinating. | Source

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 Field

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A series of photos from Hwy 395. Highest peak is Mt Morrison. The rocky front ridge is the end moraine.Road to Convict Lake Resort.Mt Morrison on the left and Laurel Mountain on the right.
A series of photos from Hwy 395. Highest peak is Mt Morrison. The rocky front ridge is the end moraine.
A series of photos from Hwy 395. Highest peak is Mt Morrison. The rocky front ridge is the end moraine.
Road to Convict Lake Resort.
Road to Convict Lake Resort.
Mt Morrison on the left and Laurel Mountain on the right.
Mt Morrison on the left and Laurel Mountain on the right.

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.

Moonset at Convict Lake

Convict Lake on Flickr

Camera Filters for Coolpix P510

I am guessing because I am the armchair photographer, the spectacular colors are produced with filters.

I found this for the P510 camera. I took all these photos on this page with a Nikon P500. My camera does not accept filter lenses. Hmm, should I upgrade?

Experimenting with Photography at Convict Lake

 Last Bloom in the Meadow, Convict Lake
Last Bloom in the Meadow, Convict Lake | Source

Have you been to Convict Lake?

See results

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.

Guide to Highway 395: Los Angeles to Reno
Guide to Highway 395: Los Angeles to Reno

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.

 

Hwy 395

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

Notice the U-shape of the surrounding slopes.
Notice the U-shape of the surrounding slopes. | Source

© 2013 Sherry Venegas

Be Sure to Stop at Convict Lake When Traveling Hwy 395

Submit a Comment

  • paperfacets profile image
    Author

    Sherry Venegas 2 years ago from La Verne, CA

    @SamuraiMarine: My husband took 395 to Reno for work several times. There is no better route for variety of scenery.

  • Zeross4 profile image

    Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

    Sounds like a great place to visit, I live near a beautiful lake as well and have so many memories there. Your pictures were beautiful, would love to visit someday!

  • SamuraiMarine profile image

    Samuel Wright 3 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

    I used to travel the 395 on a pretty regular schedule until my position with my company changed. Traveling from Bakersfield, Ca. to Reno was always a hassle and boring on the I5 through to the 80, so I took this one year and was hooked.

    Love all the scenery and geology along the way. You are seeing into the past of this planet and seeing how beautiful "Desolation" can be. I would not mind retiring to someplace like Olancha.

    Have not been to Convict Lake, yet... but seeing this gives me an idea about where to take my son has he gets older.

  • MrAusAdventure profile image

    Bill 3 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

    I wish that I had come across this Lens at the start of 2012! We traveled down Hwy 395 in March 2012 from Lake Tahoe through to the turnoff to Death Valley. It was an awesome drive that day, I loved it but I would have liked to have had the time to stop off and see more of the great sights along the road like this lake, it looks amazing!

  • archetekt lm profile image

    archetekt lm 3 years ago

    I love the 395 drive rather than i-5 or 99 but never stopped at Convict Lake, next time I'll look for it.

Click to Rate This Article