The Sand Tufas

About a mile from South Tufa, on a dirt and gravel road, is Navy Beach, where you can see limestone towers that are more otherworldly that the South Tufa constructions. The towers here form exactly the same way, except they grew in the shallows of the lake, where there was a sandy bottom, and each tower is coated with sand. They look like ghostly figures, or strange paintings, or cavernous dwellings carved into cliffs.

Some of them look like creatures from Doctor Who.

A row of currugated limestone tufas coated with ghostly gray sand.
Sand Tufas

Close up, with the folds and tentacle like foundations of the towers.
Seriously, don’t they look like a conclave of Doctor Who creatures?

The best way to see the sand tufa up close is by walking down from the parking lot.

A large "inverted" sand tufa, with a wide top and a narrow bottom.
The inverted tufa was one of my favorites.

In a couple of places we saw towers with crowns of white limestone where the sand has worn away. There were also chunks of rock and sand on the ground. Linda thought this was the product of vandalism, and it might have been, but it could also be the expected erosion.

Tufas formed around the mouths of freshwater springs that fed into the lake. This is one of my favorite pictures, not only because it could be a fantasy castle keep, but because I fondly believe it to be the beginning of a tufa. The water receded, and as the water table dropped, the spring dried up, leaving us the foundation.

A rough circle of limestone, the foundation of a tufa.
A hidden valley, a weathered keep, or a tufa foundation.
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