Land and Water

Golden Currant

One of several species of wild currants, the golden currant (Ribes aureum) is a member of the gooseberry family. It is an attractive, perennial shrub with golden yellow flowers found in many areas of Nevada. Golden currant was considered a tasty and valuable food for the Indians of the region, specifically the Washoe, Paiute, and Western Shoshone.

Garter Snakes

Garter snakes (genus Thamnophis) are the familiar striped "garden snakes" of North America. All of them bear live young rather than laying eggs, and most are fast–moving snakes that are active during the day. Because garter snakes tend to be found near water or in moist habitats, they are less common in arid Nevada than in many other states. Nonetheless, three species occur in the state, and a fourth apparently was found in Nevada in historic times.

Flora and Fauna of the Great Basin Mountains

The Great Basin, despite its name, is a mountainous region. It contains hundreds of mountain ranges, including thirty-three that reach a height of more than 10,000 feet.

Empire, San Emidio Desert Geothermal Field

The San Emidio Desert is an area of major displacement of a fault southwest of Gerlach, Nevada. Geothermal potential in the San Emidio Desert was unknown until the late 1960s, when exploration drilling for sulfur along the east side of the desert encountered hot water. An approximately 4.4 km long zone, presumably the surface expression of a fault, exhibited hydrothermal alteration and the presence of mercury and sulfur, but no surface springs were present. Water in shallow drill hole–1 m below ground surface–had a temperature of 53C.

Earthquakes in Dixie Valley

East of Fallon, south of Highway 50, lies Fairview Peak where, at 3:08 a.m. on December 16, 1954, an earthquake measuring 7.3 magnitude not only shocked locals, but was widely felt in many of the western states. Slightly further east and just north of Highway 50, between the Stillwater Range and the Clan Alpine Mountains in Dixie Valley, a second severe (magnitude 7.1) earthquake jolted the area on the same day.

Early Lumber Industry

Wood was essential to development in the nineteenth-century Great Basin. Unfortunately, forests were scarce, particularly when construction needed straight grained pines. Mines required wood for building, to fuel furnaces, and to assemble support systems underground.

Desert Peak Geothermal Field

The Desert Peak geothermal field is located in the northern part of the Hot Springs Mountains about 6.4 km southeast of Brady's Hot Springs, near Fernley, Nevada. It is named for a prominent peak 3-5 km to the northwest of the geothermal area. There are no surface thermal indications at the area other than a few small occurrences of opal-cemented sand and travertine from inactive springs.


Coyotes (Canis latrans) are medium-sized mammals that belong to the dog family (Canidae). Prior to the arrival of European people in North America, coyotes were found only in the central part of the United States and in northern Mexico. However, today coyotes are found from Alaska to Costa Rica and from coast to coast in the United States. The main reason for this population expansion is that coyotes are extremely adaptable and can become accustomed to almost any habitat type.

Coyote Willow

The Coyote Willow (scientific name Salix exigua) is a hearty tree commonly found throughout Nevada and is also known as Sandbar Willow. It has been used for many years by the Great Basin Indians, specifically the Washoe, Paiute, and Shoshone. It was extremely important as a part of their culture for both material goods and medicinal uses.


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