• Night skies over Great Basin National Park

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

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  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »

  • Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed

    The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.

Faults

nevada fault map

This fault map of Nevada shows the seismic potential of the state.  The red dot is the location of Great Basin National Park.

NV Seismological Laboratory

Nevada is one of the most seismically active states in the country, ranking third after California and Alaska. To blame are the state's many faults, found at the base of almost every mountain range. The basin and range topography of the Great Basin is caused by movement along these faults. As these mountain ranges continue to grow through fault-block activity, earthquakes continue to occur.

What is a Fault?
A fault is simply a fracture in the earth's crust. Movement along faults displace the rock layers on either side. The mountains in much of the Great Basin are large blocks of rock that have been uplifted and tilted by normal activity along fault lines. The basins between the mountains, on the opposite sides of the faults, have slipped downward, and have been filled in and leveled by erosion of the mountains above. Geologists refer to these landforms as "fault-block mountains."

Earthquake Activity
Most earthquake activity occurs along the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, on the Nevada's western border. The most powerful earthquake recorded in the state was a 7.6 magnitude quake that occured near Winnemucca in 1915.

While earthquakes don't occur at any regular interval, historically the frequency of an earthquake of magnitude 6 or higher has been one every 10 years, and for magnitude 7 or higher, one every 27 years.

 
historic earthquakes in Nevada

Earthquakes in Nevada from 1852-1988.

NV Seismological Laboratory

More Information
You can find maps of both recent and historic earthquake activity in Nevada at the U.S. Geological Survey's website.

Did You Know?

Snow on Wheeler Peak

Precipitation patterns are highly variable in Great Basin National Park. The wettest year on record at Lehman Caves was 21.2 inches of precipitation in 1982 and the driest year was 7.4 inches in 1953.