Mill Creek Tributary to Mono Lake
Cited from Indiana University Geological Sciences:
The Mono Basin is studied widely by geologists for its volcanic history, and within the basin lies Mono Lake, an equally intriguing point of study for scientists, environmentalists, and researchers worldwide. This paper summarizes and explains the primary issues and points of intrigue surrounding the Mono Basin. From recent volcanism to even more recent political debate, the Mono Basin contains the youngest volcanoes in the United States as well as a threatened ecological system at Mono Lake, where tens of thousands of birds make their nests. The last three years of low rainfall, now categorized as a drought, have put an already fragile ecosystem in more danger. In analyzing the geology and ecology of the basin, this paper seeks to understand the extent of the impact that both anthropogenic and natural forces have had on the Mono Basin. For the past several years, snowfall in the Sierras has been well below average, leaving less and less runoff in Mono Lake’s tributaries. The past three years have been the third driest in California history, just behind the droughts of 1928-31 and 1974-1977 (Mono Lake Newsletter Summer, 2014). The graph below shows Mono Lake’s runoff as a percentage of the average and the impact that it has had on the lake level.