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Carson Sink

Carson Sink
geographic sink
View southeast across the Carson Sink from Topog Peak in the West Humboldt Range
Country United States
State Nevada
Region Lahontan Basin
County Churchill.[1]
Borders on N: West Humboldt Range
E: Stillwater Range
SW: Carson Desert
W: Forty Mile Desert
River Carson River
Location Lone Rock (landform)
 - elevation 3,970 ft (1,210 m) [2]
 - coordinates
Area 300 sq mi (777 km2)
Biome Central Basin and Range ecoregion
The Carson Sink and the Lahontan Valley form the central portion of the lake bed of the prehistoric Lake Lahontan.

Carson Sink is a playa in the northeastern portion of the Carson Desert that was formerly the terminus of the Carson River. The sink is currently fed by drainage canals of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District. The southeastern fringe of the sink where the canals enter is a wetland of the Central Basin and Range ecoregion,[3] which is mostly included within the Fallon National Wildlife Refuge and the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area. This area serves as an important stopover for migrating waterfowl. The Sehoo Formation is in the south of the Carson Sink.[4]


  • Carson Sink and Lone Rock working areas 1
  • History 2
  • Panorama 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Carson Sink and Lone Rock working areas

The Carson Sink and Lone Rock working areas are the northwest portion of both the Carson Sink and the Fallon Range Training Complex.[5] The Lone Rock working area includes the Bravo-20 range which has numerous targets for combat aircraft training.[5] Lone Rock is in the middle of a Bravo-20 live bombing area[5] and is a solitary pinnacle of rock through the playa that is held sacred by the Paiute.


The Carson Sink was a deep portion of the Pleistocene water body Lake Lahontan,[6] the lakebed of which is now the Lahontan Basin.

The Carson Trail used during the California Gold Rush across the Lahontan Basin included a section from through the Forty Mile Desert to the first drinkable water on the Carson River.[7] The Carson Sink station of the Pony Express was built in March, 1860.[8]

In 1984, the natural dike between the Carson Sink and the Humboldt Sink was breached by the Nevada Department of Transportation to prevent Interstate 80 and the town of Lovelock from flooding due to unusually heavy snowfall in the preceding three years. The sinks remained connected by water for 3 years, until 1987.


Carson Sink view
Panorama of the Carson Sink

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Carson Sink
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lone Rock (841778)
  3. ^ Bryce, S.A; et al., Ecoregions of Nevada (poster),  
  4. ^ Morrison, R. B; Fry, John C (1965). "Correlation of the Middle and Late Quaternary Successions of the Lake Lahontan, Lake Bonneville, Rocky Mountain (Wasatch Range), Southern Great Plains, and Eastern Midwest Areas" (PDF). Nevada Bureau of Mines. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  5. ^ a b c Fallon Range Training Complex (NAVSTKAIRWARCENINST 3752.1F),  
  6. ^ "Lake Lahontan Expedition". Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  7. ^ "Carson Trail". Trails Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  8. ^ "Carson Sink". Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
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