Anyone who has read an American Western is familiar with The Great Basin that spans most of Nevada and also includes portions of California, Idaho Oregon and Utah, and even a small part of Wyoming.
“The Great Basin is considered one of North America’s most fascinating geological regions,” according to AI-Pro. “Its story is one steeped in ancient history, rich cultural heritage and a diverse array of plants and animals.”
The basin itself covers about 209,000 square miles.
“It gets its name from the term ‘basin and range,’ describing the pattern of valleys and mountains that make up the region,” according to AI-Pro. “A ‘basin’ in the geographical sense isn’t about collecting water — it is an area of land that drains all precipitation into a river or reservoir but has no outlet to other external bodies. Thus, The Great Basin has no outlet to the ocean, yet it encompasses hundreds of discrete basins and more than a hundred separate mountain ranges.
“The story of the Great Basin starts over 500 million years ago, during the Early Paleozoic Era, when Nevada was covered by a warm, shallow sea. Over millions of years, the motion of tectonic plates and volcanic activities led to the formation of the varied landscape we see today.”
The Great Basin was inhabited by numerous Native American, including the Goshute, Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe tribes.
“The tribes’ rich cultural heritage added to the historical significance of the region, with many sites still bearing ancient petroglyphs and artifacts from their settlements.”
Today, some of the tribes’ members are integral members of the Northern Nevada community.
Great Basin(Editor's note: This digital artwork was inspired by the Great Basin in Northern Nevada.)<br/> <br/>
“An important part of the story of The Great Basin is its biodiversity,” according to AI-Pro. “It features a vast collection of ecosystems, ranging from salt flats to mountain terrain. The vast area of The Great Basin Desert is home to unique wildlife such as the desert bighorn sheep and the endangered desert tortoise. Furthermore, the region’s plant life is incredibly adaptive, able to withstand the harsh climate, including the iconic Great Basin bristlecone pine, which holds the title of being one of the oldest living trees on Earth.”
With the advent of Manifest Destiny and the natural exploration farther west by American settlers, things were about to change forever.
“European exploration of The Great Basin began with the Spanish in the late 18th century, but it was John Fremont’s journey in 1843-1844, guided by Kit Carson, which brought the region into the American psyche,” according to AI-Pro. “During their journey, they were the first to apply the term ‘Great Basin.’”
Personally, I’m not a fan of Kit Carson and consider some of the settlers’ and U.S. Army’s actions genocidal in their horrific persecution of Native Americans.
Eventually, the area would boom.
“From the historical discovery of silver in The Comstock Lode leading to the mining boom, to the establishment of the Great Basin National Park in 1986, the Great Basin in Nevada continues to play a significant role in the story of American growth, discovery, and preservation,” according to AI-Pro. “Today, it stands as a testament to the ages, with its vast landscape telling stories of the Earth’s past, human history and the enduring beauty of nature.”