Thursday, November 12, 2009

Geology of Nevada: Postcard Friendship Friday

I have already blogged about my Geology of Utah postcard (on July 3!), so it's time to move on to Nevada. Utah is to the east, Idaho to the north, California to the West. the large areas of orange to the north of Nevada are fairly young volcanic rocks that extend into Idaho. there are some orange blotches to the south too. Note the pink, purple and blue bands oriented north-south, with pale yellow in between. This is the Basin and range part of the North American continent.

[The following information is from a remote sensing tutorial published by NASA.]

Major C.E. Dutton, an early explorer of the American West, described these mountains as they appeared on a map as resembling "an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Mexico".

Hmm, I see what he's saying. Below is a color - coded relief map (relief: the ups and downs of the landscape) of NV.

The mountains are uplifted parts of older continental crust. This area was being pulled apart, slowly, and the pieces in-between sank lower. The valleys are filled with a lot of sediment that has eroded from the ranges and partially filled them up. This is what the area looks like from the air.
[End quoting]
Some of these peaks are significant. Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park is about 13,000 ft (4000 m) tall. What little rain or snow there is falls on these peaks and so the heights are green with pine trees, even white with snow. It is quite different from the dry, hot, desert valleys in between!

There is a wonderful part of the East Humboldt Range where erosion had sculpted the ridges in amazing ways, and the ridge is so thin that there is a hole right through it! This, of course, is called the Hole-in-the-Wall (or Lizzie's Window), near Hole-in-the-Wall Mountain. Please see this website for hiking in the area. The photos are amazing, but copyrighted, so I am not going to reproduce them here.

Las Vegas is way to the south of the state. Many areas in the middle of the state are very sparsely populated. With renewed gold mining in some areas in the north, population has grown somewhat.
Much more detail from
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology:



MrCachet said...

Do you have one for each state? If you do, that's quite a collection!

AnitaNH said...

That Generalized Geologic Map of Nevada could pass as abstract art. Maps are so beautiful, aren't they?

maryt/theteach said...

Seems to me there should be some great hiking in the area. Thanks for all the info, Viridian! You do such a good job! :)

Anonymous said...

I was struck by the beauty of the pattern. Nevada has such wonderful landscapes.

Snap said...

I love your geologic postcards. Your posts are full of information and love the idea of *modern/contemporary art* that is educational.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

It's all so very interesting. I don't know a great deal about Nevada, apart from desert. The caterpillars look to me as though they're coming from California, but don't tell anyone.

Beth Niquette said...

How colorful and interesting! I LOVE these postcards. Happy PFF!

Postcardy said...

the map does look like an army of caterpillars.

dmarks said...

I think I have one or two geo cards. Wish I had more.

Mary said...

These geo cards are spectacular. Reminds me of driving across Nevada on Highway 50 the "loneliest highway in America". Beautiful, but barren.

Aimee said...

wow, that's really interesting!


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