Many of the big salt lakes of the Americas are on the brink of collapse due to climate change and water diversion. Nestled at the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada in California, Mono Lake’s survival is a testament to the work of scientists, activists, and locals who have fought for decades to preserve it. Home to a unique ecosystem of brine shrimp, alkali flies, and migratory birds, punctuated by otherworldly tufa towers, Mono Lake’s desiccation would be detrimental to the wildlife and humans who call it home.
Explore the seeming impossibilities behind our planet’s strangest, most unique natural wonders in Untold Earth, a new series from Atlas Obscura, in partnership with Nature and PBS Digital Studios. From fragile, untouched ecosystems to familiar but unexplained occurrences in our own backyards, this series chases insight into natural phenomena through the voices of those who know them best.