17th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
An abstract aerial view of Trona mining at Owns lake, CA.
Owens Lake, a dry lake in the Owens Valley on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, California, is the largest single source of dust pollution in the United States.
The lake held significant water until 1913, when much of the Owens River was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, causing Owens Lake to desiccate by 1926.
A once-vibrant ecosystem that supported expansive bird and plant habitats began disappearing, replaced by a dry lakebed plagued by noxious and almost constant dust storms and turning communities around the lake into ghost towns.
The extensive salt accumulation over countless centuries of time, have made Owens dry lake a veritable chemical reservoirs for the extraction operation of a few mining companies.
The abstract patterns in this image are empty mined pools of the mineral Trona, a common source of soda ash, which is a significant economic commodity because of its applications in manufacturing glass, chemicals, paper, detergents, and textiles-had extracted from the ground.
© Sagy Roitfarb.
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||Nov. 27, 2019, 7:54 p.m.