Groom Lake (salt flat)

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Groom Lake with Papoose Lake dry lake also visible at lower right

Groom Lake is a salt flat[citation needed] in Nevada used for runways of the Nellis Bombing Range Test Site airport (KXTA). It is located immediately north of the Area 51 USAF installation. The lake at 4,409 ft (1,344 m)[1] elevation is approximately 3.7 miles (6.0 km) from north to south and 3 miles (4.8 km) from east to west at its widest point, and is approximately 11.3 miles in circumference.[2] Located within the namesake Groom Lake Valley portion of the Tonopah Basin, the lake is 25 mi (40 km) south of Rachel, Nevada.[2]

The nearest civilian vantage point of Groom Lake is Tikaboo Peak, 26 miles to the east.


Lead and silver were discovered in the southern part of the Groom Range in 1864,[3] and the English Groome Lead Mines Limited company financed the Conception Mines in the 1870s, giving the district its name (nearby mines included Maria, Willow and White Lake). The mining claims in Groom were acquired by J. B. Osborne and partners and patented in 1876, and Osborne's son acquired the interests in the 1890s.[4] The claims were proved in 1916 when two companies began working their mines; that work continued until 1918, and resuming after World War II until the early 1950s.[4]


Coordinates: 37°16′N 115°48′W / 37.267°N 115.800°W / 37.267; -115.800