Unified Interior Regions

Nevada

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The Southwest Region includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

News

Date published: December 5, 2019

Airplane to Make Low-Level Flights Over Parts of the Eastern Mojave Desert, California and Nevada

For about two months, starting around December 7, 2019, an airplane operated under contract to the USGS will be making low-level flights over parts of the eastern Mojave Desert.

Date published: October 15, 2019

The Ups and Downs of Groundwater Levels after the July 2019 Ridgecrest, CA Earthquakes

Effects from the two July 2019 Ridgecrest, CA earthquakes were observed in several USGS continuous groundwater-level monitoring sites in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

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Periphyton along the Nearshore of Lake Tahoe
Date Published: May 8, 2020
Status: Active

Nutrient Source Identification in Groundwater and Periphyton Along the Nearshore of Lake Tahoe

High concentrations of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) are responsible for excessive, or nuisance algal blooms in many ecosystems world-wide, and climate change is predicted to exacerbate the problem1,2. Excessive nutrients supplied to the nearshore zone of Lake Tahoe may have significant consequences to ecological communities, water clarity, and water quality. The nearshore zone...

Contacts: Ramon C Naranjo
Scientist prepares to go sample Alaskan lake
Date Published: March 25, 2020
Status: Active

Past Perspectives of Water in the West

In the intermountain west, seasonal precipitation extremes, combined with population growth, are creating new challenges for the management of water resources, ecosystems, and geologic hazards. This research contributes a comprehensive long-term context for a deeper understanding of past hydrologic variability, including the magnitude and frequency of drought and flood extremes and ecosystem...

Sediment cores collected in Guatemala
Date Published: October 23, 2019
Status: Active

Drivers and Impacts of North Pacific Climate Variability

Climate model forecasts indicate an increase in extreme hydrologic events, including floods and droughts, for California and the western U.S. in the future. To better understand what the consequences of this future change in climate may be, USGS scientists are studying the frequency, magnitude, and impacts of past hydroclimate variability and extremes in the region. This project produces well-...

USGS
Date Published: June 26, 2019
Status: Active

Information by Region - Nevada

  

cheatgrass
Date Published: May 23, 2019
Status: Active

Cheatgrass and Medusahead

Invasive annual grasses, such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), are one of the most significant stressors to rangeland ecosystems in the western U.S. Their expansion and dominance across this area are the most damaging ecosystem agents on this iconic landscape.

2017 Pacific Winter Floods Hydrograph for Nevada
Date Published: February 26, 2019
Status: Completed

2017 Pacific Winter Floods

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the 2017 Pacific Winter Floods caused by widespread rains across California and western Nevada.

Province 5019 Eastern Great Basin National Oil and Gas Assessments
Date Published: November 19, 2018
Status: Active

Eastern Great Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

The U.S. Geological Survey completed the following assessments of undiscovered oil and gas potential of the Eastern Great Basin Province of eastern Nevada, western Utah, southeastern Idaho, and northwestern Arizona 5019:

  • 2019 Continuous Assessment of Oil and Gas in Mississippian Delle Phosphatic Member (FS 2019-3062
  • ...
Image: Silicified Ridge At Goldfield, Nevada
Date Published: August 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Magmatic-Tectonic History and Component Sources of Major Precious Metal Deposits in the Tonopah, Goldfield, and Comstock Lode Districts, NV

Project objectives are refinement of stratigraphy, structure, and magmatic-hydrothermal evolution of the Tonopah, Goldfield, and Comstock Lode districts, and determination of the sources of hydrothermal mineral components. Results are expected to  include refined geologic and tectonic maps of important districts in the Walker Lane, reduced uncertainty in sources of elements in ore deposits,...

Screenshot of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool with proposed treatment drawn on screen.
Date Published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Land Treatment Exploration Tool

The Land Treatment ExplorationTool provides a practical resource for managers who are planning restoration and rehabilitation actions on public lands. The tool generates a variety of spatial products while being user friendly for all levels of GIS expertise, even to those with little or no experience.

gravity map Mojave Desert
Date Published: May 8, 2018
Status: Active

Rare Earth Element Deposits in the Southeast Mojave Desert

In an effort to better understand domestic resource potential, the USGS is investigating the genetic relationship between rare earth element deposits at Mountain Pass, California and Music Valley (Pinto Mountains, California) and extend these studies across a 130-km long belt of alkaline Proterozoic rocks in the southeast Mojave Desert. Such a combined study would significantly improve our...

Contacts: David Ponce
Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
Date Published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

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USGS
May 11, 2020

These data were collected from the TOPGUN-SODA10 2AK core collected in 2010 by LacCore (University of Minnesota), the USGS. and the University of California (U.C.) Berkeley. The 8.9 meter length core had stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon sampled every 10 millimeters or so, and diatoms samples at every 50 millimeters to 200 millimeters depending on the depth in the core. mineralo

Black and grey map of the contiguous 48 states shaded by the number of people using domestic wells per square kilometer (2010)
April 23, 2020

Domestic wells provide drinking water supply for approximately 40 million people in the United States. Knowing the location of these wells, and the populations they serve, is important for identifying heavily used aquifers, locations susceptible to contamination, and populations potentially impacted by poor-quality groundwater. 

USGS
October 1, 2019

Beginning in November of 2015, a project was undertaken to reanalyze approximately 60,000 archived sample splits collected as part of the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) Hydrogeochemical and Stream Sediment Reconnaissance (HSSR) project from selected areas in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. A small amount (approximately 0.25

USGS
September 26, 2019

Groundwater age distribution and susceptibility to natural and anthropogenic contaminants were assessed for selected principal aquifers of the Western United States: the Central Valley aquifer system (CVAL), the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers (BNRF), the Rio Grande aquifer system (RIOG), the High Plains aquifer (HPAQ), the Columbia Plateau basaltic-rock aquifers (

USGS
September 6, 2019

Streamflow and basin-characteristic data are needed for a variety of scientific applications including estimation of flow in ungaged basins and hydro-ecological classification of rivers. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SRLCC), selected a subset of streamgages across the SRLC

USGS
June 1, 2019

This data release describes micrometeorological and soil-moisture data collected from January 1, 2017 through May 31, 2019 at the Amargosa Desert Research Site adjacent to a low-level radio­active waste and hazardous chemical waste facility near Beatty, Nevada. Micrometeorological data include precipitation, solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, saturated and amb

USGS
April 19, 2019

This dataset is the assembled analytical results of geochemical, petrographic, and geochronologic data for samples, principally those of unmineralized Tertiary volcanic rocks, from the Tonopah, Divide, and Goldfield mining districts of west-central Nevada. Much of the data presented here for the Tonopah and Divide districts are for samples collected by Bonham and Garside (1979) du

USGS
January 1, 2019

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Availability and Use Study Program (WAUSP) (https://water.usgs.gov/ogw/gwrp/activities/regional.html) supports quantitative assessments of groundwater availability in areas of critical importance. As part of a WAUSP study in the arid to semi-arid Northwest Volcanic Aquifer Study Area (NVASA), estimates of runoff and baseflow w

Interactive map and chart highlighting USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present
August 28, 2018

Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results for Continuous Assessments only from 2000-2018.

Screenshot of the Land Treatment Exploration Tool with proposed treatment drawn on screen.
May 3, 2018

The Land Treatment Exploration Tool is designed for resource managers to use when planning land treatments. The tool provides useful summaries of environmental characteristics of planned treatment areas and facilitates adaptive management practices by comparing those characteristics to other similar treatments within a specified distance or area of interest.  Provisional Software.

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Black and grey map of the contiguous 48 states shaded by the number of people using domestic wells per square kilometer (2010)
April 23, 2020

Domestic wells provide drinking water supply for approximately 40 million people in the United States. Knowing the location of these wells, and the populations they serve, is important for identifying heavily used aquifers, locations susceptible to contamination, and populations potentially impacted by poor-quality groundwater. 

CITE
January 10, 2018

Scientists at WERC's Dixon Field station have fitted Cinnamon Teal with GPS backpacks. Using R, the telemetry locations are displayed on an image every two weeks.

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

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Year Published: 2018

Aeromagnetic map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada

Magnetic investigations of Mountain Pass and vicinity were begun as part of an effort to study regional crustal structures as an aid to understanding the geologic framework and mineral resources of the eastern Mojave Desert. The study area, which straddles the state boundary between southeastern California and southern Nevada, encompasses Mountain...

Ponce, David A.; Ponce, David A.; Denton, Kevin M.
Ponce, D.A., and Denton, K.M. (D.A. Ponce, ed.), 2018, Aeromagnetic map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3412–B, scale 1:62,500, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3412B.

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Year Published: 2018

Isostatic gravity map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada

Gravity investigations of Mountain Pass and vicinity were begun as part of an effort to study regional crustal structures as an aid to understanding the geologic framework and mineral resources of the eastern Mojave Desert. The study area, which straddles the state boundary between southeastern California and southern Nevada, encompasses Mountain...

Ponce, David A.; Ponce, David A.; Denton, Kevin M.
Ponce, D.A., and Denton, K.M. (D.A. Ponce, ed.), 2018, Isostatic gravity map of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3412–A, scale 1:62,500, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3412A.

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Year Published: 2018

Geophysical and geologic maps of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California and Nevada

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3412 is a series of products that consists of geophysical and geologic maps of Mountain Pass and vicinity, California. Maps A and B (red outline in above map image) are gravity and aeromagnetic maps, respectively. The map series was begun as part of an effort to study regional crustal structures...

Ponce, David A.

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Year Published: 2018

Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity

Rock mechanics studies and dynamic earthquake simulations show that patterns of seismicity evolve with time through (1) accumulation phase, (2) localization phase, and (3) rupture phase. We observe a similar pattern of changes in seismicity during the past century across California and Nevada. To quantify these changes, we correlate GPS strain...

Zeng, Yuehua; Petersen, Mark D.; Shen, Zheng-Kang
Zeng, Y., Petersen, M. D., & Shen, Z.-K.(2018). Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075967

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Year Published: 2017

The 2008 Wells, Nevada earthquake sequence: Source constraints using calibrated multiple event relocation and InSAR

The 2008 Wells, NV earthquake represents the largest domestic event in the conterminous U.S. outside of California since the October 1983 Borah Peak earthquake in southern Idaho. We present an improved catalog, magnitude complete to 1.6, of the foreshock-aftershock sequence, supplementing the current U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Preliminary...

Nealy, Jennifer; Benz, Harley M.; Hayes, Gavin P.; Berman, Eric; Barnhart, William D.
Nealy, J. L., Benz, H. M., Hayes, G. P., Bergman, E. A., & Barnhart, W. D. (2017). The 2008 Wells, Nevada, Earthquake Sequence: Source Constraints Using Calibrated Multiple‐Event Relocation and InSAR. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

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Year Published: 2017

A paleoseismic transect across the northwestern Basin and Range Province, northwestern Nevada and northeastern California, USA

We use new and existing data to compile a record of ∼18 latest Quaternary large-magnitude surface-rupturing earthquakes on 7 fault zones in the northwestern Basin and Range Province of northwestern Nevada and northeastern California. The most recent earthquake on all faults postdates the ca. 18–15 ka last glacial highstand of pluvial Lake Lahontan...

Personius, Stephen; Briggs, Richard W.; Maharrey, J. Zebulon; Angster, Stephen J.; Mahan, Shannon A.
Personius, Stephen F., Briggs, Richard W., Maharrey, J. Zebulon, Angster, Stephen J., and Mahan, Shannon A., 2017, A Paleoseismic transect across the northwestern Basin and Range Province, northwestern Nevada and northeastern California, USA: Geosphere, v. 13, no. 3, p. 782–810, doi:10.1130/GES01380.1.

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Year Published: 2017

Cyanide poisoning of a Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

A Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) was found dead in a ditch leading from a heap leach pad at a gold mine in Nevada. Observations at autopsy included an absence of external lesions, traces of subcutaneous and coronary fat, no food in the upper gastrointestinal tract, and no lesions in the viscera. Cyanide concentrations (µg/g ww) were 5.04 in...

Franson, J. Christian

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Year Published: 2016

Chemical abrasion-SIMS (CA-SIMS) U-Pb dating of zircon from the late Eocene Caetano caldera, Nevada

Zircon geochronology is a critical tool for establishing geologic ages and time scales of processes in the Earth's crust. However, for zircons compromised by open system behavior, achieving robust dates can be difficult. Chemical abrasion (CA) is a routine step prior to thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) dating of zircon to remove...

Watts, Kathryn E.; Coble, Matthew A.; Vazquez, Jorge A.; Henry, Christopher D.; Colgan, Joseph P.; John, David A.

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Year Published: 2016

Gravity and magnetic studies of the eastern Mojave Desert, California and Nevada

IntroductionFrom May 2011 to August 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected gravity data at more than 2,300 stations and physical property measurements on more than 640 rock samples from outcrops in the eastern Mojave Desert, California and Nevada. Gravity, magnetic, and physical-property data are used to study and locate regional...

Denton, Kevin M.; Ponce, David A.
Denton, K.M., and Ponce, D.A., 2018, Gravity and magnetic studies of the eastern Mojave Desert, California and Nevada (ver 1.1, August 2018): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1070, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161070.

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Year Published: 2016

Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974

The Defense Minerals Administration (DMA), Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA), and Office of Minerals Exploration (OME) mineral exploration programs were active over the period 1950–1974. Under these programs, the Federal Government contributed financial assistance in the exploration for certain strategic and critical minerals. The...

Frank, David G.
Frank, D.G., 2016, Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1004, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1004.

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Year Published: 2016

Terrestrial cosmogenic surface exposure dating of glacial and associated landforms in the Ruby Mountains-East Humboldt Range of central Nevada and along the northeastern flank of the Sierra Nevada

Deposits near Lamoille in the Ruby Mountains-East Humboldt Range of central Nevada and at Woodfords on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada each record two distinct glacial advances. We compare independent assessments of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) surface exposure ages for glacial deposits that we have determined to those obtained by...

Wesnousky, Steven G.; Briggs, Richard W.; Caffee, Marc W.; Ryerson, Rick J.; Finkel, Robert C.; Owen, Lewis A.
Wesnousky, S.G., Briggs, R.W., Caffee, M.W., Ryerson, F.J., Finkel, R.C., and Owen, L.A., 2016, Terrestrial cosmogenic surface exposure dating of glacial and associated landforms in the Ruby Mountains-East Humboldt Range of central Nevada and along the northeastern flank of the Sierra Nevada: Geomorphology, v. 268, p. 72-81.

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Year Published: 2015

Fish tag recovery from Anaho Island nesting colony, Pyramid Lake, Nevada

In 2001, tags applied to the federally endangered species cui-ui (Chasmistes cujus) to study their population dynamics were discovered strewn throughout the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) nesting colony on Anaho Island, Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Cui-ui are endemic to Pyramid Lake, and Anaho Island harbors one of North America’s...

Scoppettone, G. Gary; Fabes, Mark C.; Rissler, Peter H.; Withers, Donna
Scoppettone, G.G., Fabes, M.C., Rissler, P.H., and Withers, Donna, 2016, Fish tag recovery from Anaho Island nesting colony, Pyramid Lake, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1242, 28 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151242.

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person kneeling on stream bank surrounded by sampling equipment
September 5, 2019

collecting eDNA samples

A USGS Hydrologic Technician collects eDNA samples alongside a stream in the Nevada wilderness

July 29, 2019

Surveying High-Water Marks and Cross-Sections for Indirects

This video describes how to survey high-water marks and cross-sections for indirect measurements. Included are tips and tricks for getting across non-wadeable sections of the stream.
 

July 29, 2019

Selection of Roughness Coefficients

This video describes the field selection of roughness coefficients, or Manning's "n" values. Both the comparative (photos) and analytical (Cowan's) methods are discussed.
 

July 29, 2019

Plotting High-Water Marks in the Field Using SAC-GUI

This video describes how to use SAC-GUI in the field to plot high-water mark profiles. Plotting high-water marks in the field is required for most indirect measurement techniques
 

July 26, 2019

Theory of the Slope-Area Method

This video covers the theory behind a slope-area indirect measurement, the most common type of indirect measurement used in the USGS. 
 

July 26, 2019

Surveying Slope-Area Measurements

This video goes into detail about where to flag high-water marks and how to survey a slope-area measurement. A simple one-setup Total Station survey is demonstrated.

July 8, 2019

Survey Requirements for Critical Depth Indirect Measurements

This video describes the high-water marks needed along with cross-section locations for critical depth indirect measurements. Critical depth computations are those performed when flow goes through a critical flow regime at a drop, such as at a waterfall. 
 

July 2, 2019

Survey Requirements for Culvert Indirect Measurements - Culvert Survey

This video describes the survey requirements for culvert indirect measurements, specifically how to measure various aspects of the culvert itself. This video provides a general overview of how to survey culvert attributes, such as the invert and length.
 

June 30, 2019

Survey Requirements for Non-Standard Culverts

This video discusses how to measure various aspects of non-standard culverts, such as mitered culverts. Using the slope-area method inside a culvert is also discussed. 
 

June 30, 2019

Surveying Indirect Measurements with GNSS

This video details how to survey indirect measurements with GNSS. Both RTN and RTK setups are discussed, along with tips and tricks and troubleshooting.
 

June 25, 2019

Survey Requirements for Culvert Indirect Measurements - Overview

This video describes the survey requirements for culvert indirect measurements, including high-water mark and cross-section locations. 
 

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Satellite imagery of the December 2019 low flying survey looking at geology, hydrology and natural resources of the region
December 5, 2019

For about two months, starting around December 7, 2019, an airplane operated under contract to the USGS will be making low-level flights over parts of the eastern Mojave Desert.

aerial view of road damage after the Ridgecrest, CA earthquake
October 15, 2019

Effects from the two July 2019 Ridgecrest, CA earthquakes were observed in several USGS continuous groundwater-level monitoring sites in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

A huge canyon surrounded by deep-set cliffs opens to reveal a sunny gorge and part of the Colorado River.
April 11, 2019

A new study shows that mysterious cycles in salinity in the lower Colorado River are a result of precipitation patterns in the headwaters of the upper basin more than a thousand river miles away. The salinity levels generally repeat about every 10 years.

photo of grasslands surrounding Winnemucca, Nevada
June 12, 2018

The advent of remote sensing was a boon to the ancient science of phenology.

Satellite data offered a global view of nature’s seasonal life cycles that historical tabulators of budding trees and buzzing bees could scarcely imagine.

From the start, however, remotely sensed phenology has come with caveats.

A wildfire in a forest
September 7, 2017

A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image: Burning Sagebrush
September 6, 2017

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

USGS science for a changing world
August 14, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey awarded approximately $4.9 million this week to six universities and a university-governed non-profit, to support transitioning the west coast “ShakeAlert” earthquake early warning system into a production system.

Image shows a color-based map of the various magnetic readings of the Great Basin
May 3, 2017

Vast mineral wealth has been discovered in the Great Basin since the 1800s. As each new generation of prospectors and geologists brings their cutting-edge tools with them, the arid ridgelines of the desert Southwest have shown more and more potential.

Walker Lake on a Spring day
April 24, 2017

USGS model simulations suggest that Walker Lake will rise by as much as 15 to 18 feet this year, the most in a single year in recorded history.

Image shows a map of U.S. states colored based on the value of their mineral industry
April 14, 2017

In 2016, these five states led the pack in mineral production, accounting for about one third of the total mineral production value for the entire country.

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