Halobacteria in the Owens Lake
Halobacteria in Owens Lake, California
Near the shore of the dry Owens Lake. The
pink coloration is caused by halobacteria living in a thin layer
of brine on the surface of the lake bed. The gleaming white material
in the foreground is soda ash (sodium carbonate), once harvested
from evaporation ponds by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass factory
seen in the distance. The plate glass factory is no longer in
Further out on the surface of Owens Lake,
a thin crust of salt is colored pink by halophilic archaeabacteria.
The air temperature at the surface of the lake is 100 deg. F
and the water just below the salt crust is 130 - 150 degrees
F. In the background are white deposits of sodium carbonate and
the Inyo Mountains.|
Evaporation ponds near the shore of the old
Owens Lake. Pink areas are salt-encrusted waters colored by halobacteria.
White deposits are sodium carbonate (soda ash). Dark areas are
green-colored mud, inhabited by halophilic green algae.|
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All photos courtesy Dr.