Associated locally with well-known tufa mounds and towers of Mono Lake, California, are subvertical, concretionary sand structures through which fresh calcium-containing artesian waters moved up to sites of calcium carbonate precipitation beneath and adjacent to the lake. The structures include closely spaced calcite-impregnated columns, tubes, and other configurations with subcylindrical to bizarre cross sections and predominantly vertical orientation in coarse, barely coherent pumice sands along the south shore of the lake. Many structures terminate upward in extensive calcareous layers of caliche and tufa. Locally they enter the bases of tufa mounds and towers. A common form superficially resembles root casts and animal burrows except that branching is mostly up instead of down. Similar defluidization structures in ancient sedimentary rocks have been mistakenly interpreted as fossil burrows.
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Calcite-impregnated defluidization structures in littoral sands of Mono Lake, California