Tonopah Basin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Coordinates: 37°45′N 117°20′W / 37.750°N 117.333°W / 37.750; -117.333
Tonopah Basin
Country United States
State Nevada
Borders on N: Central Nevada High Valleys

E: Creosote Bush-Dominated Basins
S: Mojave Basin and Range (ecoregion)
W: Lahontan Basin

Coordinates 37°45′N 117°20′W / 37.750°N 117.333°W / 37.750; -117.333
Biome Central Basin and Range ecoregion
For the basin in Maricopa County, Arizona, and for the county seat of Nye County, Nevada, see Tonopah Desert and Tonopah, Nevada.

The Tonopah Basin is one of the Central Nevada Desert Basins[1] that extends from the band of arid footslopes along the north side of the Mojave Desert (e.g., between Sarcobatus Flat and the Amargosa Valley) northward into the Big Smoky Valley and the Railroad Valley. The basin spans longitudes from near Hawthorne, Nevada, on the west to the saddle that demarcates the Pahranagat Valley from the Delamar Valley. Within the perimeter of the basin are separate ecoregions such as three large areas of Tonopah Sagebrush Foothills that surround Tonopah Uplands and a large extension of Central Nevada High Valleys from the north into the basin. The basin has 18 Tonopah Playas (largest in the Railroad Valley east of Lockes, Nevada), and a single wetland fed by the Pahranagat Wash is nearly adjacent to the Mojave.[2] Named sections of the Tonopah Basin include Cactus Flat, Frenchman Flat, Gold Flat, Groom Lake Valley, Kawich Valley, and Yucca Flat.[3]

Map of the Tonopah Basin (map by EPA)

Tonopah Playas[edit]

The Tonopah Playas are 18 Level IV ecoregions that are each bordered by the surrounding Tonopah Basin. The largest is in the Railroad Valley west of Locke, Nevada; and four others on the east of the basin are in Hot Creek Valley (northwest of Warm Springs, Nevada), in the south of Railroad Valley, in Sand Spring Valley, and one farther south near the Mojave. The southernmost is in Sarcobatus Flat which has a semicircle of 5 others to the north. The Big Smoky Valley has 2 Tonopah Playas and west of Tonopa, Nevada, are five Tonopah Playas, including one south of Mina, Nevada.


  1. ^ "Boundary Descriptions and Names of Regions, Subregions, Accounting Units and Cataloging Units". Retrieved 2010-05-16. Central Nevada Desert Basin 
  2. ^ Bryce, S.A; et. al, Ecoregions of Nevada (poster), Reston, Virginia: USGS  NOTE: The poster depicts the CA northern point of the Mojave at pixels 453 horizontal & 1151 vertical (interpolates to 37.28N,117.71W in the Last Chance Range, N of Sulfur Rd).
  3. ^ (pdf). Nye County Water District Areas (Map). Retrieved 2010-10-31.