Valley’s face changingconstantly
This weekend, geologists from the Nevada Bureau of Mines are offering tours of Carson Valley as part of Earth Week.
Thursday was the Great Nevada Shakeout, in which Silver State residents participated with the rest of the world in an earthquake drill.
So far 2017 has seen flooding, fire and pestilence, but one of the major hazards of living in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada lies below our feet.
If you want to see how far the Genoa Fault can jump, drive down Foothill Road and stop at David Walley’s Hot Springs.
Look west and you can see the scarp of the fault rise 50 feet above the base of the gravel pit.
Geologists believe the Genoa Fault, which is where the Sierra meet the Carson Valley, is one of the most active in Nevada, and has seen as much as a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the last few hundred years.
Also on the tour are geothermal hot springs and a million-year-old cinder cone, both indicators that Carson Valley remains geologically active.
Nevada is the third most earthquake prone state in the union, thanks in part to the fractured nature of the Earth here.
We’ve had at least one 6.0 magnitude earthquake in our lifetime
Not all the geology on this weekend’s tour is ancient history.
Geologists will wrap up the tour with a visit to Hot Springs Mountain, where a 2014 deluge sent rain and mud into the neighborhood below.
Carson Valley is as fertile as it is because flooding has eroded the mountains, whether from creeks on the west side, or arroyos in the Pine Nuts, or the Carson River.
One of the lessons contained in geology is that while the Earth seems stable to us, it is always changing.