A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Tufa’

Hazen, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on September 17, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week 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 2121; A Landing A Day blog post number 549.

Dan:  I’m staying out west and staying with the OSers (in fact, 6 of my last 7 landings have been OSers), thanks to this landing in . . . NV; 83/77; 4/10; 7; 149.0.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

Fasten your seatbelts and let’s go via Google Earth from Swan Lake MT (my last landing) to this one:


Here’s a ground-level GE shot looking general east past my landing.  Pretty cool, eh?

 GE 2

Zooming back a little, you can see I landed on a double-humped hill:

GE - island

This is one of the landings (like Drummond Island MI), where a quick elevation trace on Google Earth (GE) shows my drainage pathway.  It goes in a fairly straight line between my landing and a local low point about two miles away:

 GE - drainage

OK, so if it was a huge rain and the local low filled up, I suppose I could extend the drainage analysis, but I’m in the Nevada desert and we all know any rain ain’t goin’ nowhere.

So, I checked out Fernley.  Not much in the way of a hook.  But let me tell you, this is a thriving community.  Just like I did 12 posts ago for Lonerock and Hardman, Oregon, I’ll present a population trend analysis.  By the way – before I do Fernley, let me remind you that Lonerock and Hardman peaked at less than 200 folks back in 1920 and have been going downhill ever since.  But check out Fernley:

 Fernley pop

OK, so an Amazon.com distribution center just announced it was relocating from Fernley to nearby Reno (about 30 miles away), but obviously, Fernley has more going for it than just Amazon . . .

So, I looked at Wadsworth. Wiki tells me that Joe Conforte was the owner of the first legal brothel in the United States (the Mustang Ranch in 1967).  But the Mustang Ranch was not in Wadsworth.  Back in 1957 or so, he opened the Triangle River Ranch in Wadsworth, with some questionable (read illegal) activities going on.  In 1959, Conforte served 22 months in jail after attempting to blackmail Washoe County District Attorney Bill Raggio, who summarily had the ranch burned down.

Now wait a second.  This scoundrel . . . er – I mean entrepreneur . . . is arrested and convicted of blackmailing a DA (and operating an illegal brothel).  And then, a mere 8 years later, the State of Nevada decides that he’s the right guy to open the first legal brothel.  Yea, right . . .

OK, moving right along.  How about Hazen?  Well, I had to use Hazen as my titular town, because . . . 

It's happening in Hazen

So let’s see.  Well, Hazen is the site of the last lynching in Nevada (a gentlemen named Red Wood in 1905), but that’s no hook. 

OK, there’s a Hazen site on the National Register of Historic Places.  Here’s a Wiki picture of the Hazen Store:

 800px-HazenStore2 wiki

Part of it was built in 1904, then moved to its current location in 1944, when the rest of the structure was built.  According to Wiki, it’s on the Register “as an illustration of a commercial property on the Reno Highway.”  Yea but – so’s the Dunkin’ Donuts in Fernley . . .

So it turns out that there’s no hook at all.  But there are some cool back-in-the-day pictures.  First this old Lincoln Highway road sign (taken on Route 50 about halfway between Fernley & Hazen):

 hazen motorcities.org lincoln highway sign

And this 1911 shot of the Palace Hotel.  Quite the place . . .


With a very nice lobby!


Here’s a shot of the Recreation Inn Café & Bar.  I wonder what sort of recreation goes on at the inn?

 hazen - old time

And this shot (most prevalent on the web) of “Saloons and Disreputable Places of Hazen, 1905”:

 hazen- Saloons_and_disreputable_places_of_Hazen_(Nev.)_June_24,_1905.-_By_Lubkin_-_NARA_-_

Moving right along.  Of course, I checked out Panoramio photos close to my landing.  The closest one is this, posted by Robert Stolting (of Fernley) with an intriguing title:  “Sculptor’s Work, High and Dry.”

 pano robert stolting .67 mi se tufa

The caption for the photo:  “Tufa formation, formed thousands of years ago from calcium carbonate precipitating out of a spring entering an ancient crash water lake.”

Right out of the gate, I had to see what a “crash water lake” is.  I mean, I’m a geologist and that’s an expression I’ve never run across.  After a quick Google search, it looks like no one else has ever run across it, either.  I think that Mr. Stolting intended to say “fresh water lake.”

Once that change is made, the caption makes perfect sense.  Tufa is a limestone rock formed when spring water, enriched with calcium carbonate (the stuff of limestone), discharges underwater into a fresh water lake.  The calcium carbonate precipitates out of solution, progressively forming tufa one microscopic layer at a time (all of this under water).  When the water levels retreat, out pops the tufa!  Tufa can result in some very interesting-looking formations. 

Here are two tufa shots (or is that tu twofa shots) at Pyramid Lake (located about 30 mi NW of my landing; just NW of Nixon on my local landing map above).  First this, from Photo River Blog (Hammon Photography):

 hammon photography photo river blog

And this, from Rachid Photo:

 rachid photo

Any question why it’s called Pyramid lake?  

So, we need a big ol’ lake near my landing.  As discussed in my Susanville CA post, the lake is Lake Lahontan, of which Pyramid Lake is a remnant.  Here’s a map of the lake (from Stanford U.):  

 stanford lake lanohan

You can see that my landing was right on the shoreline (more about that later).  Also – see the portion of the lake that crosses the border into California?  That’s near Susanville (mentioned above).

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the lake:

At its peak approximately 12,700 years ago (as the continental glaciers were in retreat), the lake had a surface area of over 8,500 square miles. The depth of the lake was about 900 feet at present day Pyramid Lake, and 500 feet at the Black Rock Desert. Lake.  At its peak, Lahontan, would have been one of the largest lakes in North America.

So let’s look a little closer at my landing location (thanks to a USGS map), and the location of the tufa deposit in Robert Stolting’s Pano photo:

 usgs lahonton map

Note that the lake elevation is 4370, and my landing elevation is 18′ above that.  So, I landed right on the shore of the lake, or even more likely, on an off-shore island (the double-humped hill shown on the GE shot near the beginning of the post).  The tufa (and its associated underwater spring) was less than a mile to the south of the island (in about 140’ of water, at the deepest).  

There you have it.

Moving right along (and keeping with Robert Stolting).  The second closest Pano shot to my landing is another of his photos, about 1.5 mi NE of my landing:

 pano robert stolting 2 mi NE

I’ll close with this shot by SlakingFool, about 12 mi SW of my landing:

 pano slakingfool, e of fernley looking towards hazen

That’ll do it.




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