Yucca Mountain Views


Looking North and South

A recent visit to Yucca Mountain gave me an opportunity to take some photos of the mountain's setting.  These are Winter photos, as indicated by the snow and meltwater on top of the mountain's crest, just under 5,000 feet above mean sea level.

The ridge just beyond Yucca Mountain is Jet Ridge, and is very similar to Yucca Mountain.  There is nothing exciting about Yucca Mountain, in terms of scenery, except the stand of Yuccas on its north slope (see link below) and the views from its crest.

The first view is to the north, looking at the remnants of the Timber Mountain Caldera.

Why is it called Timber Mountain?  Because it has a few juniper and pinyon pine trees in its higher reaches, ~ 2,000 feet higher than Yucca Mountain.  During the last ice age, these trees, encouraged by more water and cooler temperatures, moved onto and to the base of Yucca Mountain.  

How do we know that?  Packrat middens.  Packrats have a pee that kills germs, and they pee in their nests, preserving the vegetation they bring in to make their nests soft for themselves.  They put layer after layer into their nests, with the lower layers becoming more compact, sometimes bottom ages can be well over 25,000 years, approaching 40,000 years in some rare instances!

Before the last ice age, no pine nuts.  After the last ice age, no pine nuts.  Farther into the valley, no pine nuts.  This tells us that during the last ice age, from about 22,000 to 10,000 years ago, precipitation was about twice what it is now, on a long term average.  How does it tell us that?  Because where the trees start on the slopes of Timber Mountain, precipitation is about twice what it is on Yucca Mountain.

Looking back toward Las Vegas gives a nice view of the snowy Spring Range (the one on the horizon with a cloud trailing to the left from it).  This is a mountain range with a peak named Charleston (look for links on this page with 'Spring Range'), nearly 12,000 feet, that has been featured much on this site:

A closer look to the right of the Spring Range (more southerly) shows another mountain range with a smaller range in front of it.  At the right end of that smaller range is Ash Meadows and Devils Hole, two scenic and geologically interesting locations also featured on separate pages on this site (look for links mentioning the Amargosa River on this page, and look for links to Devils Hole and the Amargosa River and desert flowers on this page).

As we continue to turn south, we see the Funeral Range that forms the eastern boundary of Death Valley (there are MANY Death-Valley pages on this site, they are listed here on the 'California' page):

Moving toward the southwest gives a better view of the Funeral Range.  The small volcano just above and to the right of the yellow fence-post is Red Cone, the youngest volcano in the area at ~74,000 years old.  A real baby volcano, Ubehebe Crater, lies inside Death Valley.  It is only 3,000 years old!

The Panamint Range lies on the other side (west of) the Funeral Range, and in between lies Death Valley.

Here are some more views of the Funeral Range with some slight bit of telefoto to show Red Cone again and the sand dunes in Amargosa Valley:

If you want to look to the west and the north, you will have to join me on PAGE TWO.

Links to other Yucca Mountain views on this site:

 The Yuccas of Yucca Mountain (on a page about my work)

 Yucca Mountain from the air (pictures from a commercial flight)

2009 Yearbook Page

Places page for Nevada

Thoughts and Places Home Page