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HomeEducationAPSU Geosciences Professors bring new geologic insights to Nevada’s high desert region

APSU Geosciences Professors bring new geologic insights to Nevada’s high desert region

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – The high desert region of Northeastern Nevada is known for its sparse, khaki-colored landscape, but if you happened to be passing through the area eight to 16 million years ago, it would have looked completely different.

“Our research indicates that Northeastern Nevada was transected by a greater than 190-kilometer-long fault zone bordering grasslands with rivers and lakes where ancient rhinoceroses, camels, and horses grazed in the shadow of a series of large, explosive volcanoes that periodically erupted voluminous hot clouds of volcanic ash that torched the landscape,” Dr. Phyllis Camilleri, Austin Peay State University professor of geology, said.

Camel Bone.
Camel Bone.

Camilleri, along with Dr. Jack Deibert, APSU professor of geology, and Dr. Michael Perkins, with the University of Utah, spent more than 20 years conducting geologic field research in this region, and they recently published their findings in the journal “Geosphere.”

Their 48-page paper, “Middle Miocene to Holocene tectonics, basin evolution, and paleogeography along the southern margin of the Snake River Plain in the Knoll Mountain–Ruby–East Humboldt Range region, northeastern Nevada and south-central Idaho,” presents the first detailed reconstruction of the tectonism, volcanism and paleogeography of Northeastern Nevada and South-central Idaho over the last 16 million years.

“The area’s explosive volcanoes were an ancient part of a migrating volcanic hot-spot that would eventually produce today’s supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park,” Camilleri said.

The article is available online at https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsa/geosphere/article/13/6/1901/369082/middle-miocene-to-holocene-tectonics-basin.

For more information on their research, contact Camilleri at camillerip@apsu.edu.


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