Trona Pinnacles, CA

     On Thanksgiving Holiday, Becky (my wife) and I drove to Indio, California to spend a week there.  On our way, we passed the Trona Pinnacles in California and spent a few hours exploring the site.  The Trona Pinnacles are located approximately 32 km east of Ridgecrest, California.

Map of Southern California, (Ridgecrest is just southwest of Death Valley N.P)

     The Trona Pinnacles are an unusual geological feature in the California-Desert National Conservation-Area.

Image of Searles Valley map, (public domain image)

     The unusual landscape consists of more than 500 tufa spires (porous rock formed as a deposit when springs interact with other bodies of water), some as high as 47 m, rising from the bed of the Searles Lake (dry) basin.

The Trona Pinnacles, California (looking northeast across the Searle Dry-Lake Bed)

     The Pinnacles were formed between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago when Searles Lake formed a link in a chain of interconnected lakes flowing from the Owens Valley to Death Valley. At one point during the Pleistocene, the area was under 220 m of water.

Looking northeast at the Trona Pinnacles & NE Edge of the Spangler Hills

     The Trona Pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and squat to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa).

Looking north at our vehicle, amongst the Trona Pinnacles, (this image gives a relative size of the Pinnacles compared with Becky next to the truck)

     The Trona Pinnacles sit isolated and slowly crumbling away near the south end of the valley, surrounded by many square kilometers of flat, dried mud and with stark mountain ranges at either side.

Becky standing next to our truck at the Trona Pinnacles in California 2015

     The Trona Pinnacles have been featured in many commercials, movies, and still-photo shoots.

Looking North, I’m standing amongst the middle group of the Trona Pinnacles, California 

     The Trona Pinnacles were designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1968 to preserve one of North America’s most outstanding examples of tufa tower formation.

Becky exploring the Trona Pinnacles in California 2015
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