Rachel is a census-designated place in Lincoln County, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 54; as the closest habitation to the Nellis Air Force Range and Area 51, Rachel enjoys a modest celebrity among aviation enthusiasts and UFO hunters. Rachel is over 100 miles north of Las Vegas in the Great Basin Desert, along Nevada Highway 375; the tiny town receives a substantial number of visitors and tourists, catered to by a small tourist shop, a 12-room motel, an alien-themed restaurant and bar, the Little A'Le'Inn. Several unpaved roads near Rachel lead from Highway 375 to the boundary of Area 51. Rachel's resident population numbers around 50, with some of them involved in ranching. Most of the year-round inhabitants live in mobile homes. Rachel has never had a post office; the children are bused to Nevada for school. North of the town is the Quinn Canyon Range. Rachel was founded in May 1973 by a local alfalfa farmer named D. C. Day; the community was first known as Tempiute Village, later as Sand Springs.
On February 15, 1977, the town was renamed Rachel after the first baby born in the valley, Rachel Jones. She died on May 23, 1980. In memory of her, Rachel residents created a memorial park. In 1980, the Rachel Baptist Mission, Rachel's only church, began service in a donated mobile home. Since a part-time pastor has come to Rachel for religious services every Sunday morning. On July 10, 1986, at about 4:10 pm, two F-16s of the Norwegian Air Force collided in mid-air while participating in Red Flag exercises near Rachel. One of them crashed within Rachel, only 25 yards from the edge of a mobile home park; the pilot of the downed fighter had ejected safely before the crash, the other F-16 made it back to Nellis Air Force Base. The pilot of the downed F-16 sustained no major injuries, he was transported from the site within 20 minutes of the crash by a U. S. Air Force helicopter. In 1995, the Rachel Baptist Mission moved into a permanent building at the same site which it had occupied previously. In 2006, KFC created a giant company logo on the ground at the north edge of Rachel and claimed it to be the first logo visible from space.
Constructed in early November, it took six days to assemble the 65,000 colored tiles on 87,500 square feet of flat desert terrain. The logo had a hidden message on the tie area of the logo that featured an impostor colonel holding a sign over his head, reading "Finger Lickin' Good"; the logo was removed in mid-2007. Rachel was featured in an episode of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends which covered the UFO subculture. Rachel was mentioned in a two-part episode of The X-Files entitled "Dreamland", in which a secret agent aware of the hidden backstory of the show, played by Michael McKean, resided in the town, it is a key place in the first-person shooter game BlackSite: Area 51. The producers of the movie Independence Day, which filmed some scenes in Rachel, gave the town a time capsule, installed near the inn.. While a local tungsten mine was operative, the community numbered over 500 inhabitants, but after the mine's closing in 1988, the population dwindled. D. C. Day, Rachel's founder, died on July 25, 1997.
Fay Day, his widow, died on March 13, 2011. She was buried in the Rachel Cemetery on March 19, 2011; the Area 51 Research Center, a small UFO souvenir shop, closed in the fall of 2001. It has since re-opened in a corner of the Little A'Le'Inn; the community's only gas station went out of business in the winter of 2006–07, shortly after being acquired by a new owner, an investor from California. The Little A'Le'Inn the Rachel Bar and Grill, is a small bar and motel located in Rachel, along the Extraterrestrial Highway; the business has been running for over 20 years and is frequented by visitors to the local Area 51. The business has a variety of Area 51 and UFO related merchandise for sale such as maps of the area, posters and toys, offers an "Alien Burger"; the inn opened circa 1989. The original owners were Pat Travis. In 1991 Joe and Pat wanted something unique for the Bar and Grill because they felt that "Joe and Pat's" was not exciting, they held a contest won by Bruce Hooker with "A'le'Inn".
The current owners of the Little A'Le ` Inn are her daughter Connie. In popular culture, the Little A'Le'Inn is referred to in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, it can be found in Bone County, San Andreas nearby the Area 69 facility, using the name "Lil' Probe'Inn". It is featured in The X-Files season six episode "Dreamland II", in Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends season one episode 2 - "UFO's" and in the film Paul. Official website Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce KFC logo in Rachel, as seen from space Map of roads to Area 51
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
The United States Air Force facility known as Area 51 is a classified remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the correct names for the facility are Homey Airport and Groom Lake, though the name Area 51 was used in a CIA document from the Vietnam War; the facility has been referred to as Dreamland and Paradise Ranch, among other nicknames. USAF public relations has referred to the facility as "an operating location near Groom Dry Lake"; the special use airspace around the field is referred to as Restricted Area 4808 North. The base's current primary purpose is publicly unknown; the intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object folklore. Although the base has never been declared a secret base, all research and occurrences in Area 51 are Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information. On 25 June 2013, following a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2005, the CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of the base for the first time, declassifying documents detailing the history and purpose of Area 51.
Area 51 is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles north-northwest of Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large military airfield; the site was acquired by the United States Air Force in 1955 for the flight testing of the Lockheed U-2 aircraft. The area around Area 51, including the small town of Rachel on the "Extraterrestrial Highway", is a popular tourist destination; the original rectangular base of 6 by 10 miles is now part of the so-called "Groom box", a rectangular area measuring 23 by 25 miles, of restricted airspace. The area is connected to the internal Nevada Test Site road network, with paved roads leading south to Mercury and west to Yucca Flat. Leading northeast from the lake, the wide and well-maintained Groom Lake Road runs through a pass in the Jumbled Hills; the road led to mines in the Groom basin, but has been improved since their closure. Its winding course runs past a security checkpoint, but the restricted area around the base extends further east.
After leaving the restricted area, Groom Lake Road descends eastward to the floor of the Tikaboo Valley, passing the dirt-road entrances to several small ranches, before converging with State Route 375, the "Extraterrestrial Highway", south of Rachel. Area 51 shares a border with the Yucca Flat region of the Nevada Test Site, the location of 739 of the 928 nuclear tests conducted by the United States Department of Energy at NTS; the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository is 44 miles southwest of Groom Lake. Groom Lake is a salt flat in Nevada used for runways of the Nellis Bombing Range Test Site airport on the north of the Area 51 USAF military installation; the lake at 4,409 ft elevation is 3.7 miles from north to south and 3 miles from east to west at its widest point. Located within the namesake Groom Lake Valley portion of the Tonopah Basin, the lake is 25 mi south of Rachel, Nevada; the origin of the Area 51 name is unclear. It is most believed to come from a grid numbering system of the area by the Atomic Energy Commission.
Another explanation is. Lead and silver were discovered in the southern part of the Groom Range in 1864, the English Groome Lead Mines Limited company financed the Conception Mines in the 1870s, giving the district its name; the interests in Groom were acquired by J. B. Osborne and partners and patented in 1876, his son acquired the interests in the 1890s. Claims were incorporated as two 1916 companies with mining continuing until 1918 and resuming after World War II until the early 1950s; the airfield on the Groom Lake site began service in 1942 as Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, consisted of two unpaved 5000-foot runways aligned NE/SW, NW/SE 37°16′35″N 115°45′20″W. The Groom Lake test facility was established in April 1955 by the Central Intelligence Agency for Project AQUATONE, the development of the Lockheed U-2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft; as part of the project, the director, Richard M. Bissell, Jr. understood that, given the extreme secrecy enveloping the project, the flight test and pilot training programs could not be conducted at Edwards Air Force Base or Lockheed's Palmdale facility.
A search for a suitable testing site for the U-2 was conducted under the same extreme security as the rest of the project. He notified Lockheed. According to Lockheed's U-2 designer Kelly Johnson: "We flew over it and within thirty seconds, you knew, the place... it was right by a dry lake. Man alive, we looked at that lake, we all looked at each other, it was another Edwards, so we wheeled around, landed on that lake, taxied up to one end of it. It was a perfect natural landing field... as smooth as a billiard table without anything being done to it". Johnson used a compass to lay out the direction of the first runway; the place was called "Groom Lake". The lakebed made an ideal strip from which they could test aircraft, the Emigrant Valley's mountain ranges and the NTS perimeter, about 100 mi north of Las Vegas, protected the test site from visitors; the CIA asked the AE
Groom Mine, located in Lincoln County, first opened in the 1870s. Most mining in the area of silver chloride ores, had finished by 1874. Groom Mine continued to operate ceasing operations in 1954. By 1956, official recordings of products of the Groom Mining District, which includes Groom Mine, shows that lead was the bulk of minerals harvested, which included 145,000 troy ounces of silver and about 45 troy ounces of gold. During World War II, Groom Mine became surrounded by military activity, which continued into the 21st century. In the 1950s, the mine was exposed to fallout from nuclear testing, being carried out at the Nevada Test Site. During the late 20th century, military activities, including the destruction of a mill and the restriction of access to the mine, continued to affect work there; the United States Government seized the mine under eminent domain from its previous owners in 2015. The rocks in the range date back to the Paleozoic era. Prior to European exploration, the region was inhabited by Southern Paiute Native Americans.
Following the discovery of minerals in the Comstock Lode in 1859, prospecting of other areas in Nevada began. Mining in the area began in the late 1860s, after minerals were discovered in the Groom Range in 1864. A mining district to organize claims, called Groom District, was formed in 1869. In 1871, the area was documented in the Wheeler Survey. Human habitation at the Groom Mine site may have begun as early as 1866. A patent for the Groom Mine was issued in 1872 and in 1885, the Sheahan family acquired the property; the mine was three days' travel from Indian Springs and 5,250 feet above sea level, making it isolated. According to Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology in 1998, the property claim, referred to as Groom, is named "Conception". In addition to the Conception claim, other claims in Groom Distract were made and held by the Sheahan family. From 1915 until 1917, the mine was leased to Tom McCormick. In September 1917, a miner from Austria-Hungary, employed by Groom Mining Company died at the mine.
In the mid-to-late 1910s the mine produced silver worth about $250,000. The shipping of mined products became difficult with the closing of the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad at the end of that decade, which caused the mine to become temporarily idle. By 1922, the mine had the longest being 200 feet deep. In 1942, construction of a mill that used a gravity and flotation method began. By 1951, four people were living at the mine and the concentration mill had been completed. Ore from Groom Mine, from which lead and silver were extracted, was found to contain cerussite and galena. Beginning in 1950, roads approaching the mine from the west were closed due to military activities, leading to the Sheahan family and Lincoln County to build a road from the east. During the 1950s, mining operations paused due to nearby nuclear tests. In 1954, production from the mine ended due to the destruction of a mill at the mine; until 1956, the mine product totaled a million dollars in several minerals, including copper and gold.
It was the most productive mine in the Groom Mining District and had been worked on by three generations of the Sheahan family. Based on panning samples near Groom Mine, the area may contain deposits of antimony, lead and zinc. By 1959, the Sheahan family visited their property regularly. In 1984, the Sheahan family, who still owned the Groom Mine had the legal rights to most of the other 22 patented mining claims nearby. According to the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, it was estimated in 1963 that there is 30,000 tonnes of material that can be mined at Groom Mine. A 1990 Bureau of Land Management report stated that due to restricted access to the mine, it would lead to "potential loss of income through inability to expand or further develop the claims"; until late 2015, the Sheahan family periodically blasted for minerals at the mine. In 1941, Groom Mine was visited by individuals who stayed at the mine with the Sheahan family while surveying the area for a gunnery and bombing range to be used during World War II.
The outhouse and bunkhouse at the mine were accidentally strafed during the war by aircraft using the Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range. Beginning in the 1950s, Groom Mine began to be impacted by nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site. In 1951, the Atomic Energy Commission, informed the Sheahan family of the planned detonations and set up instrumentation at the mine; the instrumentation was monitored by an employee of the United States Public Health Service, who lived at the mine along with the Sheahan family. The first mention of a nuclear tests impacting operations at Groom Mine was the Operation Tumbler–Snapper Easy Test, which led to the mine being evacuated due to its proximity to the detonation. Following the detonation, measurements of radiation at the mine reached 0.19 roentgen per hour. It caused some structural damage. Further away, fallout impacted nearby Tempiute. Returning to the mine had to be done using a different route; the following Fox test in late May 1952 led to fallout falling on the mine.
It was, the view of the Atomic Energy Com
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, one of the seven American uniformed services. Formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U. S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, it is the youngest branch of the U. S. Armed Forces, the fourth in order of precedence; the USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control; the U. S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense; the Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation.
The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force components are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commands, neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them. Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U. S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field; as of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty airmen, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, 105,700 Air National Guard airmen. According to the National Security Act of 1947, which created the USAF: In general, the United States Air Force shall include aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned.
It shall be organized and equipped for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. The Air Force shall be responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war. §8062 of Title 10 US Code defines the purpose of the USAF as: to preserve the peace and security, provide for the defense, of the United States, the Territories and possessions, any areas occupied by the United States. The stated mission of the USAF today is to "fly and win...in air and cyberspace". "The United States Air Force will be a trusted and reliable joint partner with our sister services known for integrity in all of our activities, including supporting the joint mission first and foremost. We will provide compelling air and cyber capabilities for use by the combatant commanders. We will excel as stewards of all Air Force resources in service to the American people, while providing precise and reliable Global Vigilance and Power for the nation".
The five core missions of the Air Force have not changed since the Air Force became independent in 1947, but they have evolved, are now articulated as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control. The purpose of all of these core missions is to provide, what the Air Force states as, global vigilance, global reach, global power. Air superiority is "that degree of dominance in the air battle of one force over another which permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force". Offensive Counterair is defined as "offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft, launch platforms, their supporting structures and systems both before and after launch, but as close to their source as possible". OCA is the preferred method of countering air and missile threats since it attempts to defeat the enemy closer to its source and enjoys the initiative.
OCA comprises attack operations, sweep and suppression/destruction of enemy air defense. Defensive Counter air is defined as "all the defensive measures designed to detect, identify and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to penetrate or attack through friendly airspace". A major goal of DCA operations, in concert with OCA operations, is to provide an area from which forces can operate, secure from air and missile threats; the DCA mission comprises both passive defense measures. Active defense is "the employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy", it includes both ballistic missile defense and air-breathing threat defense, encompasses point defense, area defense, high-value airborne asset defense. Passive defense is "measures taken to reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action without the intention of taking the initiative", it includes warning.
Nevada is a state in the Western United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast and Utah to the east. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, the 32nd most populous, but the 9th least densely populated of the U. S. states. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada's people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area where three of the state's four largest incorporated cities are located. Nevada's capital, however, is Carson City. Nevada is known as the "Silver State" because of the importance of silver to its history and economy, it is known as the "Battle Born State", because it achieved statehood during the Civil War. Nevada is desert and semi-arid, much of it within the Great Basin. Areas south of the Great Basin are within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada lie on the western edge. About 86% of the state's land is managed by various jurisdictions of the U. S. federal government, both civilian and military.
Before European contact, Native Americans of the Paiute and Washoe tribes inhabited the land, now Nevada. The first Europeans to explore the region were Spanish, they called the region Nevada because of the snow. The area formed part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, became part of Mexico when it gained independence in 1821; the United States annexed the area in 1848 after its victory in the Mexican–American War, it was incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. The discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to a population boom that became an impetus to the creation of Nevada Territory out of western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, as the second of two states added to the Union during the Civil War. Nevada has a reputation for its libertarian laws. In 1940, with a population of just over 110,000 people, Nevada was by far the least-populated state, with less than half the population of the next least-populated state. However, legalized gambling and lenient marriage and divorce laws transformed Nevada into a major tourist destination in the 20th century.
Nevada is the only U. S. state where prostitution is legal, though it is illegal in Clark County, Washoe County and Carson City. The tourism industry remains Nevada's largest employer, with mining continuing as a substantial sector of the economy: Nevada is the fourth-largest producer of gold in the world; the name "Nevada" comes from meaning "snow-covered", after the Sierra Nevada. Most Nevadans pronounce the second syllable of their state name using the TRAP vowel. Many from outside the Western United States pronounce it with the PALM vowel. Although the latter pronunciation is closer to the Spanish pronunciation, it is not the pronunciation preferred by most Nevadans. State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson proposed a bill to recognize the alternate pronunciation of Nevada, though the bill was not supported by most legislators and never received a vote; the Nevadan pronunciation is the de facto official one, since it is the one used by the state legislature. At one time, the state's official tourism organization, TravelNevada, stylized the name of the state as "Nevăda", with a breve mark over the a indicating the locally preferred pronunciation, available as a license plate design.
Nevada is entirely within the Basin and Range Province, is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin. Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; the state's highest recorded temperature was 125 °F in Laughlin on June 29, 1994. The coldest recorded temperature was −52 °F set in San Jacinto in 1972, in the northeastern portion of the state; the Humboldt River crosses the state from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker and Carson rivers. All of these rivers are endorheic basins, ending in Walker Lake, Pyramid Lake, the Carson Sink, respectively. However, not all of Nevada is within the Great Basin.
Tributaries of the Snake River drain the far north, while the Colorado River, which forms much of the boundary with Arizona, drains much of southern Nevada. The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet, harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species; the valleys are no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet, while some in central Nevada are above 6,000 feet. The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert; the area is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is lower below 4,000 feet, creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights. Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line as a state boundary at just over 400 miles; this line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, the natural hazards that threaten it; the organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility; the USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS employs 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia; the USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, Menlo Park, California. The current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is "science for a changing world." The agency's previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary, was "Earth Science in the Public Service." Since 2012, the USGS science focus is directed at six topical "Mission Areas", namely Climate and Land Use Change, Core Science Systems, Ecosystems and Minerals and Environmental Health, Natural Hazards, Water.
In December 2012, the USGS split the Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health Mission Area resulting in seven topical Mission Areas, with the two new areas being: Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health. Administratively, it is divided into six Regional Units. Other specific programs include: Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide; the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location and magnitude of global earthquakes. The USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System; the USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, the public, both domestic and worldwide, about significant earthquakes. It maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research, it conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards. USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast.
As of 2005, the agency is working to create a National Volcano Early Warning System by improving the instrumentation monitoring the 169 volcanoes in U. S. territory and by establishing methods for measuring the relative threats posed at each site. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time; the USGS collaborates with Canadian and Mexican government scientists, along with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to produce the North American Environmental Atlas, used to depict and track environmental issues for a continental perspective. The USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center implements partner-driven science to improve understanding of past and present land use change, develops relevant climate and land use forecasts, identifies lands and communities that are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of change from the local to global scale.
Since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. In collaboration with Stanford University, the USGS operates the USGS-Stanford Ion Microprobe Laboratory, a world-class analytical facility for U--Pb geochronology and trace element analyses of minerals and other earth materials. USGS operates a number of water related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program and National Water-Quality Assessment Program. USGS Water data is publicly available from their National Water Information System database; the USGS operates the National Wildlife Health Center, whose mission is "to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues." It is the agency responsible for surveillance of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in the United States.
The USGS runs 17 biological research centers in the United States, including the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The USGS is investigating collaboration with the social networking site Twitter to allow for more rapid construction of ShakeMaps; the USGS produces several national series of topographic maps which vary in scale and extent, with some wide gaps in coverage, notably the complete absence of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps or their equivalent. The largest and best-known topographic series is the 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 scale, quadrangle, a non-metric scale unique to the United States. Each of these maps covers an area bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude spaced 7.5 minutes apart. Nearly 57,000 individual maps in this series cover the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, U. S. territories, areas of Alaska near Anchorage and Prudhoe Bay. The area covered by each map varies with the latitude of its represented location due to convergence of the meridians. At lower latitudes, near 30° north, a 7.5-minute quadrangle contains an area of about 64 square miles.
At 49° north latitude, 49 square miles are contained within a quadrangle of that size. As a unique non-metric map scale, the 1:24,000 scale requires a separate and specialized romer scale for pl