Talk:Great Basin

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Map[edit]

The map on this page shows a Great Basin Smaller than it actually is. Someone should show replace the map.

Richard knrstauch@msn.com

I agree. This is a very poor map and a confused article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.60.58.71 (talk) 00:18, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Information on great basin[edit]

The map should also show political boundaries. It is difficult to get a decent idea of where, in a human sense, the Great Basin is from the current map. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 68.6.59.166 (talkcontribs) .

I agree a map of the Great Basin with political boundaries would be useful, although I think this would work better on a close-up than on the full map of North America. – Avenue 23:50, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Flora and Fauna[edit]

The animals listed as uncommon are actually quite common. Pronghorn antelope are quite common in my area as are mule deer. I acutally live in the Great Basin and this statement needs to be changed to present and commonly seen. I know that people don't like to be edited, but if you need a citation I am glad to provide several.

I am not a biologist, but it seems that grouping pronghorn, mule deer, and elk (wapiti) together with bighorn sheep and mountain lions as saying "present but uncommon" is slightly inaccurate. In my experience, these animals are fairly regularly encountered by humans (particularly mule deer). Bighorns have a much smaller range of habitat than these species, and mountain lions are predators, so they are necessarily smaller populations. Perhaps there is a better way of wording this or grouping them together? 155.97.232.72 00:35, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Two groups, with different "common"ness. Ideal is to quote from a wildlife biologist - generally they have a more precise idea of "common", also whether "common" is being compared to other species, or other regions; most large mammals are going to be sparser in the Great Basin than in the adjoining regions. Stan 17:38, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Photos, geography[edit]

I think this page is getting to have enough photos. The picture of the rocky outcropping didn't really tell the reader anything about the Great Basin – there are rocky outcroppings everywhere. Other photos do show landscapes fairly well, but it's near the point where enough's enough.

As for geography of the Great Basin, I would recommend not removing Lancaster and Palmdale, which are in the Great Basin. Remember, the Great Basin extends into Mexico and Oregon. It's not just a Utah/Nevada thing. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MojaveNC (talkcontribs) 12:13, 6 February 2007 (UTC).

I believe that Sevier Lake and the "Little Salt Lake" are one and the same. Wikipedia has a Sevier Lake article but not a Little Salt Lake article. My belief is based on a driving trip where the map we used said "Little Salt Lake" but signs on the road said "Sevier Lake". 24.27.31.170 (talk) 18:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC) Eric

Black Rock Desert extends into Oregon?[edit]

Judging by the map (I'm using Widows Live Local), the Black Rock Desert doesn't extend into Oregon. Perhaps its drainage basin does? Does someone have a citation for this? If true I'd like to add the Black Rock Desert to the Deserts of Oregon category. Thanks. Katr67 20:08, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You have to parse the article carefully, but what it says is that the watershed of the Black Rock Desert extends into Oregon, which it does just barely. The Black Rock Desert proper ends well south of the Oregon border. Might be better to change the item to "Black Rock Desert/Quinn River Valley". Or you could just remove the Oregon - by the same token the Pyramid Lake watershed extends into California, which is not indicated in the article (probably because the California portion of the watershed is not commonly considered part of the Great Basin). Toiyabe 20:45, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Southern end of California's San Joaquin valley has no outlet to the sea[edit]

A large alluvial fan where the Kings River exits the Sierra Nevada foothills and reaches the flat floor of the San Joaquin Valley forms a low divide where water can flow north to the San Joaquin River and ultimately to the Pacific, or south to the Tulare Basin which had several interconnected terminal lakes (Tulare, Buena Vista, Kern and Goose) before manmade irrigation projects appropriated virtually all water flowing in from surrounding mountains. Although the Tulare Basin is not conventionally included in hydrographic Great Basin, it is contiguous with it and seems to fit the definition.

West of the Tulare Basin in the coastal "foothills" a smaller basin called the Carrizo Plain also has a closed drainage system. 76.80.9.100 17:22, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Confusion between hydrographic Great Basin and Great Basin Desert[edit]

The hydrographic Great Basin includes most of the Mojave Desert south of the Great Basin Desert as far as the Transverse Ranges of California. South of these ranges the hydrographic Great Basin continues into the lower, hotter Sonoran Desert, crossing into Mexico south of the Salton Sea.

However in discussions of flora and fauna, the article limits itself to organisms found in the Great Basin Desert, ignoring those found in the Mojave and Sonoran Desert sections of the hydrographic Great Basin. Would it be better to post a separate Great Basin Desert article and refer readers to the Mojave and Sonoran articles? 76.80.9.100 17:29, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Why are all of the photos from Utah[edit]

There seems to be a rather noticeable Utah bias to this article. Both the Great Basin Desert and Region occupy much, much more of Nevada than Utah, but ALL of the photos were taken in Utah. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Austinfidel (talkcontribs) 00:00, 26 April 2008

Unsourced "speculation"[edit]

Remove the following:

The Great Basin is considered by geologists to be in the process of stretching and cracking. Although elevated, the crust here is actually relatively thin, and getting thinner. Some geologists speculate that the East Pacific Rise rift zone may be destined in the distant future to split the Great Basin, possibly by way of the Imperial Valley, letting the sea in from the Gulf of California.
The Walker Lane is a trough running from Oregon to Death Valley which may represent the alignment of this future inlet.

as unsourced and speculative. May be valid, but if so source it. Vsmith (talk) 01:08, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Do you consider the sources in Walker Lane adequate? --JWB (talk) 05:48, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Confusion regarding great basin boundaries - What to include, and what to exclude[edit]

The entire Great Basin article seems to suffer from confusion regarding exactly what is in the Great Basin and what isn't, geographically. Other discussions here have noted that the Great Basin itself includes land from Oregon to Mexico, while much of the article focuses exclusively on Utah and Nevada. Those two states contain nearly all of the Great Basin Desert but not the entire Great Basin region. Solutions potentially require major rewrites. The information here may need to be either split between the Great Basin and Great Basin Desert articles, or combined into one. It seems to me that combining the articles would be the most elegant solution. Thoughts? Roundelmike (talk) 23:12, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

USGS Great Basin HUC Subregion[edit]

I removed the section about the USGS Great Basin HUC (Hydrologic Unit Code) Region's Subregions because everything in it was about the USGS HUC California Region rather than the Great Basin Region. Here is a map of the 21 USGS HUC Regions. The Great Basin Region's HUC number is 16. The California Region HUC is 18 (mouse over or click and see each Region's Subregions). A text source is this USGS HUC info page. It lists "Region 16 Great Basin Region", "Region 18 California Region", and "Region 17 Pacific Northwest Region".

Unfortunately the USGS uses the term "Great Basin" for both its HUC Region 16 and in a more general sense. So despite Region 16 being the Great Basin Region under the USGS HUC system, there are HUC Subregions in other Regions that the USGS describes using the term "Great Basin". For example, in the Pacific Northwest Region (HUC 17) there is a Subregion 1712 called "Oregon closed basins". The USGS confusingly describes this subregion: "The drainage of the Great Basin that discharges into the state of Oregon." The USGS is using the term Great Basin here in the general sense of all closed basins in the western US. They are not saying that waters from the HUC 16 Great Basin Region drain into HUC 17 Pacific Northwest Region.

In short, the USGS uses the term Great Basin in two very different ways. If pages are to describe things in terms of HUCs, care needs to be taken to make sure the meaning of HUC names is kept distinct from other meanings of the same names. The closed basins of Oregon may be part of the Great Basin in the general sense of the term, but they are not part of HUC 16, Great Basin Region.

Likewise, the USGS Subregion 1803, "Tulare-Buena Vista Lakes", is part of the USGS California Region, not the Great Basin Region. I'm not sure California's Kings River, San Joaquin River, and so on, are even considered part of the Great Basin in the general, non-HUC sense. In any case, one should take care not to confuse the technical HUC term with the general term, Great Basin. They are not equivalent. Pfly (talk) 10:26, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Merging[edit]

There seem to be a number of stubby articles that are about differing definitions of the Great Basin: hydrological,geographical, ecological. In my opinion, none of these has enough material to yet stand on their own. I think it would be a service to our readers to merge them all here, providing one place to discuss the differing definitions. What do other editors think? —hike395 (talk) 05:54, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

  • If you think they are stubs, then tag them as such--but the notability of the topics that differ from the topic Great Basin, and as such the clear validity of having them as separate articles, is what is the service to readers. Combining separate topics into an article about a separate topic (e.g., because it is the eponym) as a catch all is what would be a disservice to readers. As a minimum, the exhorbitant number of categories after a merge would be ridiculous (and misleading): e.g., (notionally) [[Category:montane forests]], [[Category:United States physiographic province]], etc. Bottom line, this proposal is recommending the scope of the Great Basin article become overly ambiguous. 64.134.29.135 (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
This proposal isn't about notability. Each of the subtopics is notable (in my opinion). The problem is that there is no single place that talks about the different aspects and definitions of the Great Basin. Instead, we have a bunch of stubs that don't have any detail, and talk about different aspects. I would encourage the anon editor to look at WP:SUMMARYSTYLE. The natural way for a topic to grow to to start with a general article that contains many aspects, then spin out subarticles when we have enoguuh detail. Notice that the merge soes not have to last forever: as editors add material, we can recreate the subtopic pages, no problem. —hike395 (talk) 03:51, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Conditional support I think that makes sense as I believe those other articles are pretty neglected. Could you link all the articles you propose to merge to Great Basin here for context so it is easier to look at them and help us decide? Valfontis (talk) 07:29, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Why does an allegation of "neglect" indicate a notable article should be deleted (baby/bathwater)? ...rather than edited? And it appears the articles have had numerous edits for each, so "neglect" seems inaccurate. 64.134.29.135 (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Good point. I propose merging:
  1. Great Basin Desert
  2. Great Basin section
  3. Great Basin Province (currently a redirect)
  4. Great Basin shrub steppe
  5. Central Basin and Range ecoregion
hike395 (talk) 07:54, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Why doesn't the list have Northern Basin and Range ecoregion--its nearly the entire northern portion of the Great Basin!?! Likewise for Mojave Desert, Nevada, Utah...
  • Oppose merging in Great Basin Desert. This is listed as one of the major deserts. While the article is smallish at this point, it is well enough developed to stand on its own. However if some merging occurs, I expect that there will be some movement of material and this could become a stub. I'm sure that there is ample material to greatly improve this article if that happens. If anything is merged, the categories should probably remain on the redirects for accuracy in the titles as they appear within the categories. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:27, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Glancing over the above articles again, I question the merge of the desert article as well. I hope some bioregion experts are around to weigh in, though I think many of those type of articles were created as "drive-bys". I'm no expert, so don't know much about the relative importance of the various naming schemes, but they all seem to be different ways of classifying the same geographic area. Valfontis (talk) 19:07, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
My main question is: how is the Great Basin Desert distinguished from the Great Basin itself? The current article doesn't say, and in fact has very little information or references to define the desert. I would be happy to have a separate article on any of these topics, if it were well supported. The main Great Basin can certainly grow, and we can spin off separate articles as they became viable. —hike395 (talk) 23:03, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Another piece of data: Britannica does not distinguish between the Great Basin and the Great Basin Desert [1]. Help in finding any reliable sources to distinguish the two is deeply appreciated. —hike395 (talk) 07:16, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Good idea. I'll add it to the list of merges. —hike395 (talk) 23:03, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Keep seperate articles.i just finished a summer internship in the southern Sierra Nevada area of the Great Basin before my senior year. After seeing the message at the top of Great Basin montane forest, I saw this recommendation to merge the different notable topics and thought I'd try to post (hopefully it show up OK, I'm not sure of the bold html code for the first word, and how do you indent?) These are all different topics and are notable in their own right, so they should be separate articles, right? The guy's reasoning about the United States article being justification for deleting subarticles doesn't seem right --is that recommendation claiming that the main article United States' subarticles United States federal government, United States territories, United States ecology, etc. all be merged together? Since they are distinct and notable topics, that seems absurd and merging all the articles that happen to be namesaks of the Great Basin would be even more absurd. Oh, and the area I worked was on the west Sierra slope and was also in the Great Basin (i.e., part of the large area not in the Pacific Watershed), north/west of the Sierra Crest. Should there be an article on the Sierra Nevada ecology of the Great Basin to cover the large overlaping sections that are in the area common to the topo and the hydro landforms? I can write the first version and, if its as simple as posting like this seems to be, can upload it. BTW, the Great Basin article needs to identify the overflow points into the Pacific Watershed (rare as with rain in a desert). There's much more of other notable info missing that's n/a to the Great Basin sub articles recommended for deletion, but with the extensive contention associated with the main article (the posts herein seem mostly ranting with false rationale for keeping), I'll wait before posting the improvements which means don't hold your breath (homework & exams). Also, why did the one guy claim the issue isn't whether the sub-articles are notable -- I thought I read that seperate articles are to be for notable topics, only--and notable subtopics are specifically supposted to be split out so the reader can just use the hyperlink if they want to read the distinct info? and not have to look past extensive sub-topic info to get to the other info or link to info he wants to see? ~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.134.151.58 (talkcontribs) 18:12, 1 October 2011

Consider this a Support The problem is that there are 3 different ecosystem classification schemes plus the similar United States physiographic regions and folks have been making separate articles using the terminology for each of the respective schemes. Really we should have a single article on the geographic feature and it could discuss the various definitions rather than a separate article for each definition. In the case of the Great Basin I could see this potentially spun out as an Ecology of the Great Basin article if it got too long, but that would still be a lot better than the current mish-mash. Kmusser (talk) 00:05, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I like the idea for the Ecology of the Great Basin article, which would be parallel to Ecology of the North Cascades and Ecology of the Sierra Nevada. We can do this when we have enough material. —hike395 (talk) 07:16, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
The eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada are both in the hydrological Great Basin, and also, up to ~6000 ft, in the Great Basin ecozone (i.e., sagebrush, high desert). So, it makes perfect sense to have an Great Basin ecology article covering part of the Sierra Nevada. —hike395 (talk) 03:51, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Also, it's not a "problem" that there are different professionally-designated eco-classifications -- nor are physiographic, nor other political subdivisions of geographic area. Each serves a valid purpose and to characterize it as a problem is misleading. 64.134.29.135 (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
  • STRONGLY Oppose since this would make the Great Basin article an ambiguous multi-topic page that fully-describes (rather than provide links to) lots of topically SEPARATE topics that happen to be geographically in, or somewhat overlapping with the Great Basin (apples/oranges). The separate things that are Great Basin namesakes are already clearly defined at Great Basin (disambiguation), and the professionally-defined entities that differ from the Great Basin--including the ...montane forest, ...shrub steppe, ...physiographic section etc.; as well as the so-called Great Basin Desert-- are generally only related by the name, not by geography. Adding those article's descriptions, which meet the notability requirements for separate articles, improperly expands Great Basin just as if all county articles were moved into the corresponding US state article. Dumb, dumb, dumb--as if the states of the Great Basin should be described in the Great Basin article rather than have their own articles. And what rationale for moving Great Basin Desert contents to Great Basin doesn't apply to Great Salt Lake Desert, to Mojave Desert, to Black Rock Desert, to Sevier Desert, to Escalante Desert, etc.--i.e., are they all going to be incorporated into Great Basin? Isn't there a policy that separate topics are to be in separate articles? 64.134.29.135 (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
In fact, there is a guideline that says we need general articles that cover multiple related topics, see WP:SUMMARYSTYLE. Mutli-topic pages are good, see, e.g., United States, or North American Deserts, or North American Cordillera. —hike395 (talk) 03:51, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Comments I'm not sure what the best approach is. There's definitely something to be said for merging the various regional delineation schemes (drainage basin, physiographic region, ecoregion, etc) into a single general purpose article. On the other hand, there are a few things that bug me about going that way. One is categories. Our Great Basin page is in the categories Category:Drainage basins of North America and Category:Endorheic basins of the United States. Its lead clearly defines it in terms of drainage (as does Kmusser's excellent map). But most definitions of the "Great Basin Desert" include large areas outside the endorheic Great Basin, like the Snake River Plain, Columbia Plateau, etc. A fairly common description of North American deserts lists four: the Great Basin, Mojave, Sonora, and Chihuahua deserts. Sometimes the Painted Desert is included in the Great Basin Desert. (some sources: [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]). This Great Basin Desert is definitely not a drainage basin, endorheic or otherwise. So perhaps it is better to keep the pages separate. It is certainly possible to make good standalone pages specifically about ecoregions, physiographic regions, etc. Columbia Plateau (ecoregion), for example. Compare with the more general page Columbia Plateau. Our Great Basin Desert page currently seems like a rather confused mess, but it could be improved. Furthermore, the Great Basin, defined as an "area of contiguous endorheic watersheds", includes non-desert areas (such as the forests classified as Great Basin montane forest). So if we made a consolidated page, would we include it in categories and lists of deserts, drainage basins, physiographic regions, ecoregions, and so on? Seems potentially confusing.

On the other other hand, Encyclopedia Britannica equates "Great Basin" and "Great Basin Desert", [8]. But Britannica differs from our Great Basin page in being about the desert and not the drainage basin: it explicitly excludes the Mojave and Sonora deserts from the Great Basin. On this page, [9], Britannica calls the Great Basin "physiographic", and that it includes the Snake River Plain. If we go for a consolidated approach, perhaps Britannica's style could be a model—they describe the Great Basin in physiographic and ecological terms, and mention its mostly internal drainage, but don't define the region in terms of drainage. Anyway, I'm not sure. Just some food for thought. If these pages are merged, the merged page should be substantially rewritten, at least. Pfly (talk) 01:04, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Pfly, for the book references. I was not finding good RSes on the Desert, as distinct from the hydrological basin. I think Columbia Plateau (ecoregion) is a fine example of a standalone article --- if the Great Basin ecoregion articles were in such good shape, I wouldn't dream of merging it!
In fact, Columbia Plateau, Columbia Basin, and Columbia Plateau (ecoregion) do seem to work well together.. Perhaps it is a matter of making a good summary page (at Great Basin?) and trying to improve some of the subtopic pages. It's a huge amount of work! I hope many editors will chip in! —hike395 (talk) 03:51, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I just searched Google Books for "Great Basin Desert", previewable only. Was pretty quick to find some decent sources. If I get the time and gumption I'll try to improve some of these pages. Maybe the Great Basin Desert page, now that I've read more about it. During my quick search I saw some passing references to the desert sometimes being said to reach north into Canada, especially BC's Okanagan region, which is fairly arid and an extension of WA's semi-arid Columbia Plateau region (the map at Columbia Plateau (ecoregion) shows a finger reaching the Canadian border. Too bad the US-based ecoregions were defined to stop at the ecologically arbitrary international boundary). The semi-desert sagebrush country in BC reaches north at least to Lillooet. I'm not sure if this is "true desert" (our desert pages says you need less than 250 mm (10 inches) of annual precipitation—Kamloops gets 279 mm (just under 11 inches). I think there are bits of "true desert" here and there, microclimate-like pockets in the rain shadow lee of the mountains—the terrain is very complex. Also, not sure how good a source this is, but this Desert Society of Osoyoos, BC page says "Our desert is actually part of the Great-Basin Desert". Anyway, just thinking out loud. I wonder if there are good sources on that topic. A while ago there was some debate at the Okanagan Valley (wine region) page on whether BC's Okanagan Valley was "the northern tip of the Sonoran desert", of all things. Apparently a 19th century geographer used the word "Sonoran" for the whole "North American Desert", and defined it as reaching into Canada. While the term "Sonoran" is misleading out of that context, there should be good sources on BC's desert/semi-desert. I'm less sure whether it is often described as part of the Great Basin Desert. But I'll look into it when I have some free time. First I should finish painting the house, composing music for this "web/TV show" thing I'm working on, getting some outdoor hiking and exploring in before summer fades, and, oh...well, might take a while! :-)
PS, on other related pages. Great Basin section: Our pages on physiographic regions seem mostly quite poor quality. They all need improvement, I think, including United States physiographic region and Physiographic regions of the world. The whole approach ought to be restructured, seems to me. Great Basin shrub steppe could be improved something in the style of Columbia Plateau (ecoregion). At least it ought to be more clear that it is about the WWF-defined ecoregion, not the EPA or CEC ecoregions. Again this is a large scale issue. If we want pages on all the ecoregions of all three systems, well, that's a lot of work. Some of the EPA ecoregions have nice pages. Most of the rest range from poor to middling quality, or don't exist as pages at all. It might be better in many cases to make "Ecology of such-and-such" pages instead of three separate pages on the three ecoregion systems. Plus, there are actually more than three systems. Environment Canada has its own system of ecozones, ecoprovinces, and ecoregions ([10]). In short, I think our ecoregion and physiographic region pages need some large scale rethinking. A daunting task. Pfly (talk) 20:28, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Conditional support: I support merging here wherever it will combine forked content and overlapping concepts and coverage, of which there definitely is some. However, I know that there are some scientifically-defined terms out there that need to remain distinct. Maybe they can be merged into an article, but they can't be smushed into one broadly-defined term "Great Basin," which would soon become meaningless. Also, I agree with some of the comments above that maybe a good summary article would be more appropriate for the term "Great Basin," with more detailed articles linked, such as "Great Basin Desert." So maybe we're not looking at a simple merge but more of a reorganization. Right now I'm working on the Deserts of California page and having trouble deciding whether to link to Great Basin or Great Basin Desert. Darkest tree (talk) 23:29, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Resolution[edit]

It doesn't sound like there is a lot of full support for the merge. I interpret the discussion above as more of a consensus around cleaning up and strengthening the Great Basin article. Great Basin Desert and Ecology of the Great Basin could be good, but are controversial. I'll remove the merge tags. Let's collectively work on improving these articles. —hike395 (talk) 16:16, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Largest metropolitan areas?[edit]

The article currently states that the Great Basin's largest metropolitan areas are Salt Lake City and Reno. So what happened to Mexicali, which is bigger than Reno? Is it not included in the definition of the Great Basin? Backspace (talk) 20:14, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

better summary needed[edit]

This article needs to explain, in one sentence at the beginning, what the Great Basin IS. There's a great deal of useful information, but no real definition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.242.86.87 (talk) 17:03, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Mount Whitney[edit]

The opening paragraph states Mount Whitney is part of the Great Basin. US Government maps don't show that. See: http://nationalatlas.gov/streamer/Streamer/streamer.html

18:44, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Yes? That shows Mount Whitney draining to Owens Lake, which is part of the Great Basin. Kmusser (talk) 22:56, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough. If you zoom out the government map shows Mount Whitney and Owens Lake as part of "California" instead of "Great Basin". I guess it's because of the LA aqueduct. Samw (talk) 15:07, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Ah, you're looking at the 2-digit hydrologic boundaries, those are for water resource management and don't always line up with geographic features, the "Great Basin" hydrologic unit (16) is only the Nevada and Utah portions of the Basin, the Oregon portion is in 17 and the California portion is in 18. Kmusser (talk) 19:47, 19 July 2013 (UTC)