Saline Valley, California
Saline Valley is a large and arid valley in the northern Mojave Desert of California. Most of it became a part of Death Valley National Park when the expanded in 1994. This area had previously administered by the BLM. It is located northwest of Death Valley proper, south of Eureka Valley, and east of the Owens Valley. The valleys lowest elevations are about 1,000 feet and it lies in the shadow of the 14, 000-foot Sierra Nevada Range, plus the 11. A large dry lake occupies the center of the valley, the west end of the lake supports a salt marsh, which contains a variety of plant and animal life. The marsh is fed by a stream from Hunter Canyon. North of the lake is an area of low sand dunes. There are a number of hot springs in the northeast corner of the valley, the water temperature at the source of these springs averages at 107 °F. Saline Valley is a closed or endorheic basin, if filled with water it would be over 4000 feet deep, form a lake with a surface area of roughly 500 square miles, and hold approximately 500,000,000 acre feet of water.
Saline Valley Road is a maintained dirt road running north-south through the length of the valley. From SR168 in the north to SR190 in the south, it is 95 miles long and it goes through two mountain passes, the Inyo Mountains in the north, and the Nelson Range in the south. The northern pass is higher, but is maintained and is about 20 miles closer to the hot springs. One or both passes may be closed during the due to snow, ice, or washouts. The Road Closed signs are often left in place year-round in an attempt to deter motorists who may not realize how treacherous the road is and it is not a Park Service Road, and Inyo County is responsible for its maintenance. Officially, the length of the road is passable by non-4WD vehicles. High ground clearance and mounted full-size spare tires are strongly recommended, Saline Valley was inhabited in late prehistoric times by the Timbisha. The village in Saline Valley was known as Koon, which referred to the valley as a whole
Fault blocks are very large blocks of rock, sometimes hundreds of kilometres in extent, created by tectonic and localized stresses in the Earths crust. Large areas of bedrock are broken up into blocks by faults, blocks are characterized by relatively uniform lithology. The largest of these blocks are called crustal blocks. Large crustal blocks broken off from tectonic plates are called terranes and those terranes which are the full thickness of the lithosphere are called microplates. Continent-sized blocks are called variously microcontinents, continental ribbons, H-blocks, extensional allochthons, because most stresses relate to the tectonic activity of moving plates, most motion between blocks is horizontal, that is parallel to the Earths crust by strike-slip faults. However vertical movement of blocks produces much more dramatic results, landforms are sometimes formed when the faults have a large vertical displacement. Adjacent raised blocks and down-dropped blocks can form high escarpments, often the movement of these blocks is accompanied by tilting, due to compaction or stretching of the crust at that point.
Fault-block mountains often result from rifting, another indicator of tensional tectonic forces and these can be small or form extensive rift valley systems, such as the East African Rift zone. Death Valley in California is a smaller example, there are two types of block mountains and sloped. Another graben is the basin of the Narmada River in India, tilted type block mountains have one gently sloping side and one steep side with an exposed scarp, and are common in the Basin and Range region of the western United States. Orogeny Plummer, David McGeary, and Diane Carlson, physical Geology 8th ed. McGraw-Hill, Boston,1999. Monroe, James S. and Reed Wicander, the Changing Earth, Exploring Geology and Evolution. 2nd educational Belmont, Wadsworth Publishing Company,1997, ISBN 0-314-09577-2 Fault-Block Mountains — Universe Today
Owens Lake is a mostly dry lake in the Owens Valley on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in Inyo County, California. It is about 5 miles south of Lone Pine, today, some of the flow of the river has been restored, and the lake now contains some water. Nevertheless, as of 2013, it is the largest single source of dust pollution in the United States, Owens Lake was given that name by the explorer John C. Fremont, in honor of one of his guides, Richard Owens, before the diversion of the Owens River, Owens Lake was up to 12 miles long and 8 miles wide, covering an area of up to 108 square miles. In the last few hundred years the lake had a depth of 23 to 50 feet. In 1905, the water was thought to be “excessively saline. ”It is thought that in the late Pleistocene about 11-12,000 years ago Owens Lake was even larger, covering nearly 200 square miles. Starting in 1913, the river and streams that fed Owens Lake were diverted by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, as the lake dried, soda processing at Keeler switched from relatively cheap chemical methods to more expensive physical ones.
The Natural Soda Products Company sued the city of Los Angeles, a fire destroyed this plant shortly after it was built but the company rebuilt it on the dry lakebed in the 1920s. During the unusually wet winter of 1937, LADWP diverted water from the aqueduct into the lakebed, because of this the courts ordered the city to pay $154,000. After an unsuccessful attempt to the state supreme court in 1941, LADWP built the Long Valley Dam. The lake is currently a salt flat whose surface is made of a mixture of clay, and a variety of minerals including halite, mirabilite, thenardite. In wet years, these form a chemical soup in the form of a small brine pond within the dry lake. When conditions are right, bright pink halophilic archaea spread across the salty lakebed, also, on especially hot summer days when ground temperatures exceed 150° F, water is driven out of the hydrates on the lakebed creating a muddy brine. More commonly, periodic winds stir up noxious alkali dust storms that carry away as much as four million tons of dust from the each year.
The dust includes carcinogens such as cadmium and arsenic, the LADWP and the California State Lands Commission own most of the Owens Lake bed, though a few small parcels along the historic western shoreline are privately owned. In 2004, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife acquired a 218-acre parcel at the foot of Owens Lake, designated the Cartago Wildlife Area in 2007, it is one of the few remaining spring and wetland areas on the shore of Owens Lake. CDFW is using mitigation funds from CalTrans to enhance habitat, as part of an air quality mitigation settlement, LADWP is currently shallow flooding 27 square miles of the salt pan to try to help minimize alkali dust storms and further adverse health effects. There is about 3.5 square miles of managed vegetation being used as a dust control measure, the vegetation consists of saltgrass, which is a native perennial grass highly tolerant of the salt and boron levels in the lake sediments
A summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a maximum in elevation. The topographic terms acme, apex and zenith are synonymous, the UIAA definition is that a summit is independent if it has a prominence of 30 metres or more, it is a mountain if it has a prominence of at least 300 metres. This can be summarised as follows, A pyramidal peak is an exaggerated form produced by ice erosion of a mountain top, Summit may refer to the highest point along a line, trail, or route. In many parts of the western United States, the term refers to the highest point along a road, highway. For example, the highest point along Interstate 80 in California is referred to as Donner Summit while the highest point on Interstate 5 is Siskiyou Mountain Summit, geoid Hill List of highest mountains Maxima and minima Nadir Summit accordance Peak finder
Perityle inyoensis, known by the common names Inyo rockdaisy and Inyo laphamia, is a rare species of flowering plant in the aster family. It is endemic to Inyo County in eastern California and it is known from just 10 populations in the southern Inyo Mountains, at elevations of 1, 800–2,710 metres. Its habitat is dry, rocky slopes, often in limestone. Perityle inyoensis is a made up of a cluster of several hairy slender stems up to about 25 centimeters long. The hairy, glandular leaves are one or two long, oval to triangular and toothed on the edges. They may be arranged oppositely or alternately on the stems, the inflorescence bears one to three flower heads each under a centimeter wide. The head has yellow disc florets and no ray florets, the fruit is a fuzzy achene about 3 millimeters long. Conservation It is a California Native Plant Society listed Endangered species, and is threatened by proposed mining
Inyo National Forest
Inyo National Forest is a United States National Forest covering parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada of California and the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The forest covers 1,903,381 acres and includes nine designated wilderness areas which protect over 800,000 acres, most of the forest is in California, but it includes about 60,700 acres in western Nevada. It stretches from the side of Yosemite to south of Sequoia National Park. Geographically it is split in two, one on side of the Long Valley Caldera and Owens Valley. The John Muir Wilderness is a part of the Inyo National Forest and abuts Sequoia, the northern part of the Inyo National Forest is preserved as a part of the Ansel Adams Wilderness area, which borders Yosemite National Park. Together, the areas and parks form one contiguous area of protected wilderness of more than 1.5 million acres. The Inyo National Forest was named after Inyo County, the name Inyo comes from a Native American word meaning dwelling place of the great spirit.
The forest spans parts of Inyo, Tulare and Madera counties in California, the forests headquarters are in Bishop, with ranger district offices in Bishop, Lee Vining, Lone Pine, and Mammoth Lakes. The forest was established on May 25,1907, on July 1,1945 land from the former Mono National Forest was added. There are nine wilderness areas lying within Inyo NF that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. One of these Bristlecone Pines is Methuselah, the second oldest known living tree on earth, over 4,839 years old. It was the location of the 1998 Sci-fi film. Inyo Forest served as the location for the second half of the second episode in BBCs Walking with Monsters. Forest Service Inyo National Forest Map
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America. The region spans several physiographic divisions, biomes/ecoregions, and deserts, the term Great Basin is applied to hydrographic, floristic, physiographic and ethnographic geographic areas. The name was coined by John C. Frémont, based on information gleaned from Joseph R. Walker as well as his own travels, the hydrographic definition is the most commonly used, and is the only one with a definitive border. The other definitions yield not only different geographical boundaries of Great Basin regions, the Great Basin physiographic section is a geographic division of the Basin and Range Province defined by Nevin Fenneman in 1931. The United States Geological Survey adapted Fennemans scheme in their Physiographic division of the United States, the section is somewhat larger than the hydrographic definition. The culture area covers approximately 400,000 sq mi, or just less than twice the area of the hydrographic Great Basin, the hydrographic Great Basin is a 209,162 square miles area that drains internally.
All precipitation in the region evaporates, sinks underground or flows into lakes, as observed by Frémont, streams, or rivers find no outlet to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean. The region is bounded by the Wasatch Mountains to the east, the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges to the west, the south rim is less distinct. The Great Basin includes most of Nevada, half of Utah, substantial portions of Oregon and California and small areas of Idaho, the term Great Basin is slightly misleading, the region is actually made up of many small basins. The Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake, and the Humboldt Sink are a few of the drains in the Great Basin, the Salton Sink is another closed basin within the Great Basin. The Great Basin Divide separates the Great Basin from the watersheds draining to the Pacific Ocean, the southernmost portion of the Great Basin is the watershed area of the Laguna Salada. The Great Basins longest and largest river is the Bear River of 350 mi, Lake Tahoe, North Americas largest alpine lake, is part of the Great Basins central Lahontan subregion.
The hydrographic Great Basin contains multiple deserts and ecoregions, each with its own set of flora. The ecological boundaries and divisions in the Great Basin are unclear, the Great Basin overlaps four different deserts, portions of the hot Mojave and Colorado Deserts to the south, and the cold Great Basin and Oregon High Deserts in the north. The deserts can be distinguished by their plants, the Joshua tree and creosote bush occur in the hot deserts, the cold deserts are generally higher than the hot, and have their precipitation spread throughout the year. The climate and flora of the Great Basin is strongly dependent on elevation, as the elevation increases, because of this, forests occur at higher elevations. Utah juniper/single-leaf pinyon and mountain mahogany form open pinyon-juniper woodland on the slopes of most ranges, stands of limber pine and Great Basin bristlecone pine can be found in some of the higher ranges
Caulostramina is a monotypic plant genus in the mustard family containing the single species Caulostramina jaegeri, which is known by the common name cliffdweller. The cliffdweller is a plant endemic to Inyo County, California. This plant grows on rocky mountainsides and sprouts from cliffs, Caulostramina jaegeri is a hardy woody perennial herb bearing hairless green leaves and white to pale purple flowers with spoon-shaped, purple-streaked petals. The seeds are borne in cylindrical fruits, jepson Manual Treatment - Caulostramina jaegeri USDA Plants Profile, Caulostramina jaegeri Caulostramina jaegeri - Photo gallery
In Sonora, it is more commonly called hediondilla. It is a plant in the family Zygophyllaceae. The specific name refers to its three-toothed leaves. The species grows as far east as Zapata County, Texas, L. tridentata is an evergreen shrub growing to 1 to 3 m tall, rarely 4 m. The stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 7 to 18 mm long and 4 to 8.5 mm broad. The flowers are up to 25 mm in diameter, with five yellow petals, galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which the name derives. In the regions where it grows, its smell is associated with the smell of rain. As the creosote bush grows older, its oldest branches eventually die and this normally happens when the plant is 30 to 90 years old. Eventually, the old crown dies and the new one becomes a clonal colony from the previous plant, the King Clone creosote ring is one of the oldest living organisms on Earth.
It has been alive an estimated 11,700 years, in the central Mojave Desert near present-day Lucerne Valley, California. Measurements of the plant, as well as radiocarbon dating of fragments, were used to determine the plants mean annual growth rate outward from the center of the ring. By measuring the diameter of the ring, its age could be estimated. It is within the Creosote Rings Preserve of the Lucerne Valley, Creosote bush is most common on the well-drained soils of alluvial fans and flats. In parts of its range, it may cover areas in practically pure stands. Chemicals found in creosote bush roots have shown to inhibit the growth of burro bush roots. Creosote bush stands tend to display an evenly spaced distribution of plants, originally, it was assumed that the plant produced a water-soluble inhibitor that prevented the growth of other bushes near mature, healthy bushes. Owing to the harshness of the germination environment above mature root systems, germination is actually quite active during wet periods, but most of the young plants die very quickly unless water conditions are optimal
Desert bighorn sheep
Desert bighorn sheep is a subspecies of bighorn sheep, that is native to the deserts of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. The trinomial of this species commemorates the American naturalist Edward William Nelson, the characteristics and behavior of desert bighorn sheep generally follow those of other bighorn sheep, except for adaptation to the lack of water in the desert. They can go for extended periods of time without drinking water, the range of Desert bighorn sheep includes habitats in the Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, and Sonoran Desert. Populations of the desert bighorn sheep declined drastically with European colonization of the American Southwest beginning in the 16th century and these declines were followed by a period of population stabilization ascribed to conservation measures. As of 2004, desert bighorn sheep numbers remain extremely low, Desert bighorn sheep are stocky, heavy-bodied sheep, similar in size to mule deer. Weights of mature rams range from 115 to 280 pounds, while ewes are somewhat smaller, due to their unique concave elastic hooves, bighorn are able to climb the steep, rocky terrain of the desert mountains with speed and agility.
They rely on their keen eyesight to detect predators, such as mountain lions and bobcats. Both genders develop horns soon after birth, with growth continuing more or less throughout life. Older rams have impressive sets of curling horns measuring over three feet long with more than one foot of circumference at the base, the ewes horns are much smaller and lighter and do not tend to curl. After eight years of growth, the horns of an adult ram may weigh more than 30 pounds, annual growth rings indicate the animals age. The rams may rub their own horns to improve their field of view, both rams and ewes use their horns as tools to break open cactus, which they consume, and for fighting. Desert bighorn sheep typically live for 10–20 years, the typical diet of a desert bighorn sheep is mainly grasses. When grasses are unavailable, they turn to food sources, such as sedges, forbs. The desert bighorn has become adapted to living in the desert heat and cold and, unlike most mammals. During the heat of the day, they often rest in the shade of trees and caves, southern desert bighorn sheep are adapted to a desert mountain environment with little or no permanent water.
Some may go without visiting water for weeks or months, sustaining their body moisture from food and they may have the ability to lose up to 30% of their body weight and still survive. After drinking water, they recover from their dehydrated condition. Wildlife ecologists are just beginning to study the importance of this adaptive strategy, Desert bighorn sheep are social, forming herds of eight to 10 individuals, sometimes herds of 100 are observed
A bristlecone pine is one of three species of pine trees. All three species are long-lived and highly resilient to harsh weather and bad soils, One of the three species, Pinus longaeva, is among the longest-lived life forms on Earth. The oldest Pinus longaeva is more than 5,000 years old, despite their potential age and low reproductive rate, bristlecone pines, particularly Pinus longaeva, are usually a first-succession species, tending to occupy new open ground. They generally compete poorly in less-than-harsh environments, making hard to cultivate. In gardens, they succumb quickly to root rot and they do very well, where most other plants cannot even grow, such as in rocky dolomitic soils in areas with virtually no rainfall. Bristlecone pines grow in scattered subalpine groves at high altitude in arid regions of the Western United States, the name comes from the prickles on the female cones. There are three related species of bristlecone pines, Great Basin bristlecone pine in Utah, Nevada.
The famous longest-lived species, often the term Bristlecone pine refers to this tree in particular, Rocky Mountains bristlecone pine in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The most populous species, capable of forming closed canopies and, foxtail pine with two disjunct populations found in the Klamath Mountains and the southern Sierra Nevada. A small outlying population was reported in southern Oregon, but was proven to have been misidentified, forms the thickest groves of the three. At least some of the three species can hybridize in cultivation, but the ranges of wild populations do not overlap, Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves just below the tree line, between 5,600 and 11,200 ft elevation on dolomitic soils. The trees grow in soils that are shallow lithosols, usually derived from dolomite and sometimes limestone, dolomite soils are alkaline, high in calcium and magnesium, and low in phosphorus. Those factors tend to other plant species, allowing bristlecones to thrive. Because of cold temperatures, dry soils, high winds, and short growing seasons, even the trees needles, which grow in bunches of five, can remain on the tree for forty years, which gives the trees terminal branches the unique appearance of a long bottle brush.
The bristlecone pines root system is composed of highly branched, shallow roots, while a few large. The bristlecone pine is extremely drought tolerant due to its branched shallow root system, its waxy needles, the wood is very dense and resinous, and thus resistant to invasion by insects and other potential pests. The trees longevity is due in part to the extreme durability. While other species of trees that grow nearby suffer rot, bare bristlecone pines can endure, even death, often still standing on their roots
The mountain peaks on either side reach above 14,000 feet in elevation, while the floor of the Owens Valley is at 4,000 feet, making the valley one of the deepest in the United States. The Sierra Nevada casts the valley in a shadow, which makes Owens Valley the Land of Little Rain. The bed of Owens Lake, now a predominantly dry endorheic alkali flat and these episodes inspired aspects of the film Chinatown. Towns in the Owens Valley include Bishop, Lone Pine, the major road in the valley is U. S. Route 395. Owens Valley is a graben—a downdropped block of land between two vertical faults, Owens Valley is the westernmost graben in the Basin and Range Province. It is part of a trough which extends from Oregon to Death Valley called the Walker Lane, the western flank of much of the valley has large moraines coming off the Sierra Nevada. These unsorted piles of rock and dust were pushed to where they are by glaciers during the last ice age, an excellent example of a moraine is on State Route 168 as it climbs into Buttermilk Country.
This graben was formed by a series of earthquakes, such as the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake. The topmost part of this escarpment is exposed at Alabama Hills, the Owens Valley is part of the Long Valley Caldera, a super-volcano that last erupted 260,000 years ago. It is filled with many mini-volcanoes, which look like hills, see also and Mono Craters. Smaller versions of the Devils Postpile, can be found, for example, the valley contains plants adapted to alkali flat habitat. One of these, the Owens Valley checkerbloom, is endemic to Owens Valley, the valley was inhabited in late prehistoric times by the Timbisha in the extreme south end around Owens Lake and by the Mono tribe in the central and northern portions of the valley. The Timbisha speak the Timbisha language, classified in the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan language family, the closest related languages are Shoshoni and Comanche. The Eastern Mono speak a dialect of the Mono language which is Numic, the Timbisha presently live in Death Valley at Furnace Creek although most families have summer homes in the Lone Pine colony.
The Eastern Mono live in colonies from Lone Pine to Bishop. Trade between Native Americans of the Owens Valley between coastal tribes such as the Chumash has been indicated by the archaeological record, on May 1,1834, Joseph R. Walker entered Owens Valley at the mouth of Walker Pass. He and his group of 52 men traveled up the valley on their way back to the Humboldt Sink, fremont named the Owens valley and lake for Richard Owens, one of his guides. Camp Independence was established on Oak Creek nearby modern Independence, California, on July 4,1862, from 1942 to 1945 during World War II, the first Japanese American Internment camp operated in the valley at Manzanar near Independence, California