Ivanpah Dry Lake is located near Primm, Nevada, on the border of California and Nevada in the Ivanpah Valley along to Interstate 15. It can be best seen while descending down from Mt. Pass to Primm. The lake lies almost mostly in California and partially in Nevada, and covers an area of approximately 35 square miles. On the north edge of the lake lies the Nevada Welcome Center which marks the California-Nevada state line. It is a very popular place for land sailing.
A dry lake (also called a playa) is a dry, vegetation-free, flat area at the lowest part of an undrained desert basin. It is a location where ephemeral lakes form during wet periods, and is underlain by stratified clay, silt, and sand, and commonly, soluble salts. Dry lakes occur in intermountain basins throughout the arid southwestern United States. Although they may appear as featureless plains, they are rich in features and characteristics that can reveal information about climates, past and present. Many dry lakes in the Mojave region were the location of lakes and marshes during the last glacial period. These perennial water bodies completely dried up about 8,000 years ago. Today they flood only after seasonal storms provide flashflood waters, or in some cases, springs discharge large quantities of groundwater onto the dry lake.
Sediments are distributed across the surface of a dry lake by thin sheets of water that flow down slope , or by sediment entrained in standing water and redistributed by wave action. Most years these areas are dry, or water may only cover the lowest portion of the lake or near water sources, such as near springs or where ephemeral streams discharge onto the playa surface. Between wet periods the surface of the playa typically completely dries out and may even become desiccated, forming polygonal cracks and fissures as clay-rich sediments dry out. The mud-cracked, desiccated sediments on the dry lake can be a primary source of dust during windstorms. Many dry lakes in the desert southwest display giant polygonal fissures attributed to the drying out of sediments at depth; these fissures are attributed to both the ongoing climatic drying of the region and to extraction of groundwater. Dry lake surfaces are quite dynamic environments and change during each flooding event.
On playas where the groundwater table is at or near the surface, soluble salts will precipitate, forming ephemeral crusts that may or may not survive subsequent wetting episodes. The high salt and clay content of playa surface mud, and the dry and hot conditions that prevail most of the year, prevent plants from becoming established. However, the surface of a playa may not be completely homogeneous. Sand may accumulate in channels, fill in desiccation fissures, or accumulate around spring mounds; these areas may allow plant communities to become established.
Dry lakes typically form in closed basins or where drainages may be blocked by faulting, lava flows, or buildup of alluvial fans. Their location within a basin may provide evidence whether the basin is tectonically active. The asymmetry of the valley, mountains, and playa are all dictated by active faults. In addition, coalescing alluvial fans may create catchments that result in the formation of small dry lakes.
Logging Requirements: Park in the public parking lot and head to the area near the posted coordinates. The posted coordinates will take you to an area just outside the Mojave National Preserve. The information you seek can be found without crossing into the preserve, but you can get a better experience of the dry lake if you do. Unless you have a permit to enter the Mojave National Preserve please do not enter it. There is a fence and signs marking the boundary. Free permits can be obtained by calling the BLM at (760) 326-7000.
1) Describe the soil in the area.
2) How does the geology contribute to the sport of land sailing?
Logs that do not meet ALL of the above requirements will be deleted.