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Museum address:
309 S. Valley View Blvd., LV, 89107
inside Springs Preserve

Lake Mead National Recreation Area Geology Hikes
All photos courtesy of the Lake Mead NRA Public Affairs.

Lake Mead Recreational Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Ranger Sky McLain and Dr. Aubrey Bonde teamed up at the museum on October 20 to talk about Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA) geology hikes. Sky is a National Park Service Interpretive Specialist and Aubrey is a geologist with the Great Basin Institute and paleontologist for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado River Region.

Frenchman Mountain is the peak with the antennas located east of Hollywood Avenue and south of Lake Mead Boulevard. The Great Unconformity (GU) makes its appearance in the rock layers at the bottom of the eastern side of the mountain. It’s where 1.6-billion-year-old Proterozoic (before life) rocks are overlaid with younger 0.5-billion-year-old Precambrian rocks. The GU refers to the gap where the intervening layers are missing, likely eroded in the time between those two ages.

Around 510 million years ago, Clark County was underwater. Over time, the seafloor became dry land and then seafloor again. Limestone from coral reefs was deposited while underwater, and mudflats, floodplains, and sand bars formed as the land emerged. Today we see limestone in the Muddy, Spring, and Sheep Mountains.

Muddy Mountains
Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area

You can spot fossil tracks of small animals in the orange Aztec sandstone in the Bowl of Fire (north of mile marker 18 on Northshore drive) and in the Gold Butte area. You can also find petrified wood in many places, especially the Triassic Chinle Formation. Mammal fossils, some as large as mammoths, camels, and saber-tooth tigers have been found from the Lake Mead area to Tule Springs in North Las Vegas.

LMNRA has many trails through interesting geology. The Redstone Loop near Valley of Fire is a short trail in Aztec sandstone. Rogers Spring trails are in the Monte Christo limestone. The Pinto Valley Trail at mile marker 26 along Northshore Drive runs 11 miles through Paleozoic and Mesozoic limestone. The Callville Summit trail offers good panoramic views. The River Mountain Loop, a total of 34 miles around, popular with bicyclists. The Historic Railroad Tunnels Trail, which goes all the way to Hoover Dam, is a pleasantly flat trail with nice views of Lake Mead. Fortification Hill is a challenging and rewarding hike up to ancient volcanic lava. Fossil bird tracks, camel tracks, and a mammoth jaw have been found in the Overton area.


Maps are essential for hikes and several apps for smartphones feature trails: Avenza, AllTrails, and GaiaGPS. GPS and phone service may not be available where you are going, so download pertinent maps before you start. There’s a lot of information about the LMNRA at their site and other internet sites.

Railroad Trail
Historic Railroad Trail

NSMLV’s WWI Exhibit

NSMLV and the Springs Preserve collaborated on a WWI exhibit which opened on November 11 to mark Armistice Day. The Allies and Germany signed the armistice agreement on November 11, 1918 in France. An influenza pandemic raged world-wide near the end of the war from 1918-1919 and its effects on the home front in Nevada are featured in the NSMLV exhibit.

To maintain morale, wartime censors minimized early reports of illness and death in the U.S. and Allied countries. Newspapers were free to report about the flu in Spain, which was neutral. This created a false impression of Spain being especially hard hit by the disease, and giving rise to the pandemic's nickname, "Spanish Flu”.

Two of the most interesting features of the exhibit are the barbed-wire fence and the paper poppies. The wire barbs are actually rubber bands painted to look like metal! It’s a great illusion.

Barbed Wire
Barbed Rubber

The bottom of the case containing military uniforms is covered with paper poppies. Poppies are a symbol of remembrance for WWI soldiers inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by a Canadian doctor in 1915 after seeing the death of a fellow soldier and friend. Poppies were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers' graves in Flanders, Belgium.

Uniforms and Poppies
Uniforms amid poppies

Kelly Turner of the U.S. Forest Service spoke on Oct. 13 at the museum

Kelly Turner
Kelly Turner says rock art, cave shelters or even ancient trails need legal protection.

Kelly Turner spoke about the laws that protect archaeological resources on public lands from damage and theft. She urged hikers or other individuals who have noted damage or missing artifacts to take photos and notify the Forest Service, rather than attempt to intervene at a site if violators are present. Turner was part of the Southern Nevada 2018 Archaeological Speaker Series.

Kelly Turner
Preservationists have developed some cleaning solutions that can lift painted graffiti without damaging the rock art below.

All events held at the museum and are free with paid admission or membership. No registration required unless otherwise noted. Friends general meetings are the 3rd Thurs. of month. The museum is at 309 S. Valley View Blvd., inside Springs Preserve, LV 89107
Fri Nov 2 5-9 pm Day of the Dead, City of LV Sammy Davis Jr. theater at Lorenzi Park Friends host an altar honoring historical LV figures
Sat Nov 10 2-4 pm Bone Indentification for Beginners Virginia Lucas, UNLV Southern NV Archaeology Speaker Series
Thu Nov 15 6-7 pm Las Vegas’ Hispanic heritage Lynette Sawyer, executive director Hispanic Museum of LV Friends general meeting
Sat Nov 17 1-3 pm with optional class 3:30-4:30 pm This Museum Rocks! Registration required. Register here NSMLV Curators Friends fund-raiser
Tues Nov 27 All Day Giving Tuesday International day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season Global online event
Sun Dec 2 10 am Bookfair at Barnes and Noble, 8915 W. Charleston Blvd. LV 89117 Buy books and toys at Barnes and Noble to support the Friends of NSMLV. Just mention the Friends when you pay the cashier. Friends event
Thu Dec 20 6 pm General Meeting Holiday Potluck Friends event

To see the complete schedule for the year, please go to our Events page.

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