Welcome to the Trona Pinnacles
a National Natural Landmark
Rising from the bottom of what was once an ancient lakebed, the Trona
Pinnacles represent one of the most unique geologic landscapes in the
California Desert. Over 500 of these tufa or calcium carbonate spires are
spread out over a 14 square mile area across the Searles Lake basin. These
features range in size from small coral-like boulders to several that top out at
over 140 feet tall.
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
spot where you are standing now was under 640 feet of water.
The Trona Pinnacles were designated as 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.