What are these? Desert coral?

dolphins84te

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Nov 9, 2012
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Found in the great basin on a playa/dry lake bed. There were a bunch of these in an small area (maybe 5 or 6' across). They have holes in the middle and the white remains of a material that looks plant-based (sticks?). The covering seems to be sand that is cemented onto the core material. Reminds me a bit of barnacles or some type of worm, but I am guessing that they are/were some sort of vegetation that ended up coated in sand, somehow. One friend suggested they might be fulgurites, but I don't know that they can be this small and the core material/hole makes me think not.
 

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Digger RJ

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Found in the great basin on a playa/dry lake bed. There were a bunch of these in an small area (maybe 5 or 6' across). They have holes in the middle and the white remains of a material that looks plant-based (sticks?). The covering seems to be sand that is cemented onto the core material. Reminds me a bit of barnacles or some type of worm, but I am guessing that they are/were some sort of vegetation that ended up coated in sand, somehow. One friend suggested they might be fulgurites, but I don't know that they can be this small and the core material/hole makes me think not.
Nice!! Congrats!! Looks like coral
 

oldmxrat

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Those are Tufa. Tufa is a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water. They are common in the Great Basin, the remnant lakebed of ancient Lake Lahontan which once covered 8,500 square miles.
 
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dolphins84te

Tenderfoot
Nov 9, 2012
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Those are Tufa. Tufa is a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water. They are common in the Great Basin, the remnant lakebed of ancient Lake Lahontan which once covered 8,500 square miles.
Timbermaster, thank you. I was sure that some brilliant person on here would know what these were...
 

gold tramp

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Dec 30, 2012
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Looks like fulgerite to me (lightning strikes fused sand) can't tell from pics.
I found some it hollow like what you have there..
I'm just guessing...
Gt...

20220407_113109.jpg

20220407_113051.jpg

Couple of pics of course sand fulgerite, found here in my desert similar to what you have..
 
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