Earth Science Week guided tour explores water in western Nevada

Tour western Nevada’s hydrologic cycle and rapidly evolving landscapes with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Saturday, October 16

Photo of the Truckee River in fall.

Earth Science Week guided tour explores water in western Nevada

Tour western Nevada’s hydrologic cycle and rapidly evolving landscapes with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Saturday, October 16

Photo of the Truckee River in fall.

After a hiatus from in-person field trips due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Earth Science Week field trip is back. Earth Science Week will be observed this year Oct. 10-16. The theme for this year is “Water Today and for the Future.”

The field trip will be held on Saturday, October 16 by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, a public service unit in the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno and the state’s geological survey.

To celebrate the watery theme, the topic of the tour is “A Tale of Three Rivers and the Rapidly Evolving Landscapes of Western Nevada.” The field trip will tour three rivers in Western Nevada to learn about how the rivers have influenced the region’s geology. The trip will feature stops along the Walker, Carson and Truckee Rivers, as well as the Wabuska Geothermal Plant and an open pit copper mine in Yerington.

The tour will be led by several geologists from the Bureau, including Bridget Ayling, an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering and Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy.

“Nevada’s high desert environment is an ideal location to learn about water and the hydrologic cycle,” Ayling said. “In western Nevada near Reno, we can see the beginning and end of several major river systems that begin as snowmelt from the Sierra winter snowpack and terminate in desert lakes. These hydrologic systems provide western Nevada water for drinking, agriculture, and recreation, as well as hosting important ecological niches for flora and fauna.”

Due to the pandemic, the Bureau strongly encourages everyone on the trip to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status and to socially distance. To learn more about the stops featured on the tour and for updates on COVID-19 protocols, visit the Bureau’s webpage.

Earth Science Week was started in October 1998 by the American Geosciences Institute to help the public learn more about geosciences. Each year around Earth Science Week, the Bureau plans a field trip to provide the community with an opportunity to engage in and learn about local geology. Last year’s theme was “Earth Materials in Our Lives,” and the Bureau created a virtual field trip to continue the programming despite the coronavirus pandemic. The field trips are always free and open to the public. To sign up for this year's guided tour, visit the Bureau's website.

Enjoy Earth Science year-round

Along with Earth Science Week comes the Bureau’s Nevada Geology 2022 calendar. The calendar is full of beautiful photos highlighting Nevada’s scenic wonders and features a different geologic topic each month: Goblin Knobs, South Pahroc Range, Columnar Joints, Big Den Creek Canyon, Hot Springs, Peak Bagging, Beatty Mountain, Pinto Valley Wilderness, Santa Rosa Range, Goshute Mountains, Lake Tahoe, and Cavernous Weathering. Interesting facts about Nevada and Nevada geology are also included. Photos are selected by way of an annual photo competition. Funds raised from the sale of the Nevada Geology 2022 calendar calendar support the Bureau’s work as a research and public service unit of the University and the State’s geological survey.

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