First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Landing number 2200; A Landing A Day blog post number 628.
Dan: AYKM? Once again, I landed in that big bad OSer . . . NV; 92/79; 4/10; 1; 151.1.
I’m going to repeat my standard Nevada paragraph (most recently presented two landings ago), just updating the numbers and percentages a little:
Between landing 2121 and landing 2200 (80 landings), I’ve landed in NV 10 times! Ten is 12.5% of 80. Nevada’s area is 110,567 sq mi; that of the lower 48 is 3,061,363 sq. mi. Nevada’s area is 3.6% of that of the lower 48. So I’ve landed in Nevada at almost 4 times the rate that I should have over the last 80 landings. That’s what Over-Subscribed (OS) is all about . . .
Here’s my regional landing map:
And my local landing map:
Without resorting to a streams-only map, you can see that I landed in the watershed of the Humboldt River (27th hit). It goes without saying that the Humboldt River goes nowhere.
OK, so “nowhere” isn’t exactly correct. Here’s the afore-mentioned streams-only map:
I landed near the dead end of the Humboldt River. If there’s enough flow, the water will make it to Toulon / Humboldt lakes.
It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the Humboldt Valley. (Click below and hit the back button when you’re done).
Of course, I checked out Street View coverage for bridges over the Humboldt. Close to Lovelock, I found two spots:
Here’s the upstream Street View shot of the river:
For Nevada, I’d say this is quite the substantial river! Now, let’s look at the downstream Street View shot of the river:
Oh oh. What happened to all of the water? I’ll zoom in to get a closer look at the river near the downstream shot:
So they dammed up the river and stole all of the water (reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell’s “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”). Anyway, what happens to the water? This . . .
A 15-mile stretch of farmland surrounding Lovelock.
So, what about Lovelock? From Wiki:
The area around what would become Lovelock came to prominence as a lush way station on the Humboldt Trail to California. According to an 1849 description of what were then called the Big Meadows, “This marsh for three miles is certainly the liveliest place that one could witness in a lifetime. There is some two hundred and fifty wagons here all the time. Trains going out and others coming in and taking their places is the constant order of the day. Cattle and mules by the hundreds are surrounding us, in grass to their knees, all discoursing sweet music with the grinding of their jaws.”
A few settlers stopped on there to harvest the wild rye growing in the meadows and scythe the hay each fall, which they then sold on. Arriving there from California in 1866, the English settler George Lovelock (1824–1907) bought the squatters’ right for 320 acres and got with it the oldest water rights on the Humboldt River.
So, Lovelock’s raison d’etre is the Humboldt River and the wetlands / meadows that were present at the downstream end of the river.
Staying with the Humboldt for a little longer, I found a Nevada State publication entitled “Humboldt River Chronology.” The publication emphasizes the fact that the Humboldt River is part of the “Great Basin.” The Great Basin is a large area that is entirely internally-drained; i.e., precipitation that falls here never makes it to an ocean. Here’s a map:
Funny thing. I’ve been tracking watersheds and talking about internally-drained basins for years, but I’ve never formally addressed “The Great Basin” before. It’s about time! From the Nevada State publication:
The Humboldt River Basin lies wholly within a vast Intermountain region which was first recognized for its unique geophysical structure by John C. Frémont, who fittingly named it the “Great Basin”. The Great Basin is defined as an area of internal drainage systems bordered by the Rocky Mountains on the east, the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Columbia Plateau on the north and the Colorado Plateau on the south. Surface waters within this expansive area never reach the ocean, but are confined to closed basins which ultimately drain to terminal lakes, playas, or sinks.
The GreatBasin covers an area of approximately 205,780 square miles and includes nearly all of Nevada, much of eastern California, western Utah, southeastern Oregon, and portions of southern Idaho.
The Great Basin is characterized by considerable variation in its topography, with one record example for adjacent valley bottoms and mountain tops being the vertical relief of 11,331 feet between Badwater in Death Valley (282 feet below sea level) and nearby Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range (elevation 11,049 feet).
[Personal note: During a 1972 Lafayette College geology field trip, I stood across Death Valley from Telescope Peak, gazing at the 11,331 feet of elevation difference right in front of me.]
The most extreme example of this variable topography within the Great Basin is the elevation difference of 14,744 feet over a distance of 84 miles which separates Death Valley from the summit of Mount Whitney (14,462 feet).
More typically, the difference between the Great Basin’s mountaintops and valley bottoms ranges from 3,800 feet to 7,600 feet with an average difference of 5,800 feet.
Back to Wiki, a little more about Lovelock:
Some twenty miles south of the town is the Lovelock Native Cave, a horseshoe-shaped cave of about 35 ft width and 150 ft length where Northern Paiute natives anciently deposited a number of duck decoys and other artifacts.
Could use a little editing. Not a word about how ancient, and “anciently deposited” is a peculiar way to describe what the natives did to duck decoys. But worth investigating. From the Wiki entry about the cave:
The large rock shelter is next to the shore of the Pleistocene Lake Lahontan a large lake that covered much of Nevada during the most recent glacial epoch. It was formed by the lake’s currents and wave action. It was first a rock shelter. Eventually an earthquake collapsed the overhang of the mouth.
To give you an idea of how big the lake was, here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Baker7598 looking across the valley from the mouth of the cave. Keep in mind that lake wave action helped form the cave:
Back to the Wiki write-up:
The dry environment of the cave resulted in a wealth of well-preserved artifacts that provide a glimpse on how people lived in the area. Lovelock Cave was in use as early as 2580 BC but was not intensely inhabited until around 1000 BC. People occupied Lovelock Cave for over 4,000 years.
In 1911 two miners, David Pugh and James Hart, were hired to mine for bat guano from the cave to be used as fertilizer. They removed a layer of guano estimated to be three to six feet deep, and dumped it in a heap outside of the cave. The miners were aware of the artifacts but only the most interesting specimens were saved.
L.L. Loud of the Paleontology Department at the University of California was contacted by the mining company when the refuse left by the ancient people proved so plentiful that fertilizer could no longer be collected.
The most renowned discovery at Lovelock Cave was a cache of eleven duck decoys. M.R. Harrington and L.L. Loud found when they were digging for the Museum of the American Indian in 1924. The remarkable decoys were made from bundled tule, a long grass-like herb, covered in feathers and painted.
Here’s a Wiki picture of one of the decoys by Mark R. Harrington:
Before closing this post out with my usual Panoramio shots, here’s a true confession. I had finished up the draft of this post, and was typing the “tags.” As I started to type “Lovelock,” Word Press finished it for me, saying “Lovelock Nevada.” Oops, I thought, I landed here previously and never checked out my previous post! Well, in fact I did land here previously (October 2009). There’s just a minor bit of repetition, so I strongly recommend that upon finishing up this post, you type “Lovelock” in the search box, and check out my earlier post. It’s excellent!
All righty then. It’s time for some Panoramio shots from near my landing. Here’s a shot just 1.5 miles NW of my landing by Nitro929:
I’ll close with this shot taken a couple of miles north of my landing, looking west on Coal Canyon Road, heading down to the Humboldt Valley (by David Goulart):
That’ll do it . . .
© 2015 A Landing A Day