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Mono Lake, at 345 square miles in size, is the second largest natural lake in California. Its age is estimated to be 760,000 years. The area has seen volcanic action over thousands of years, and two volcanically formed islands are in the lake. The lake's size is sustained through several creeks that flow into it, compensating for water lost through evaporation. Initial perceptions of the lake were that it had no marine life. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) described it as “the Dead Sea of the West,” noting its high saline content. However, brine shrimp live in the lake and are an important source of food for migrating birds. These birds find islets in the lake, as well as Paoha and Negit Islands, to be ideal ...

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