Sentinels of the Desert

Sentinels of the Desert

The otherworldly Trona Pinnacles – about 20 miles east of Ridgecrest, California, in the middle of absolutely nowhere – are truly one of those places that have to be seen and experienced. A visit to the alien Trona Pinnacles is a journey into one of the most unusual geologic wonders in the stunning California Mojave Desert.

This unique and inspiring landscape consists of more than 500 tufa pinnacles rising from the bed of the Searles Dry Lake basin. These tufa spires, some as high as 140 feet, were formed underwater 10,000 to 100,000 years ago when Searles Lake formed a link in an interconnected chain of Pleistocene lakes stretching from Mono Lake to Death Valley.

The pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and squat to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa). These spires are porous rock formed as a deposit when springs interact with other bodies of water. They now sit isolated and slowly crumbling away near the south end of the valley, surrounded by many square miles of flat, dried mud and with stark mountain ranges at either side. The Trona Pinnacles were designated by the Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark in 1968 to protect one of the nation’s best examples of tufa formation.

The Pinnacles are recognizable in more than a dozen hit movies. Over thirty film projects a year are shot among the tufa pinnacles, including backdrops for car commercials, sci-fi movies and television series such as Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Disney’s Dinosaur, The Gate II, Lost in Space, and Planet of the Apes.

This image was taken during my trip to Death Valley last year with Mimi. It is a stop that must be made on the way out of the park via Highway 178 (Trona-Wildrose Road). I have yet to work up many more images from that trip.

Please see my other two images for more photos of the Trona Pinnacles. I processed this particular image to give it the look and feel of the ghostly, otherworldly landscape it rightly deserves. Taken with my Nikon D800 and processed in Lightroom and with onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite.

To read my photo blog post about the Trona Pinnacles check out this link:

Copyright notice: © 2014 Renee M. Besta/Ren Mar Photography, All Rights Reserved. All my photographs are digitally watermarked and copyrighted. No photograph shall be copied, saved, reproduced, republished, downloaded, displayed, modified, transmitted, licensed, transferred, sold or distributed or used in any way by any means, without prior written permission from me. No exceptions.

Posted by Aperture Annie on 2014-08-04 10:47:36

Tagged: , Calcium Carbonate , California , Desert , Desolate , Fine Art Photography , Geologic Wonders , HDR , Mojave Desert , National Natural Landmark , Ren Mar Photography , Renee Besta , Renee M. Besta , Ridgecrest , Rock Formations , Rock Spires , Rock Towers , Searles Dry Lake , Trona , Trona Pinnacles , Tufas , Goblins , The Hills Have Eyes

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