- Amargosa River
The Amargosa River is an intermittent stream, approximately 200 mi (320 km) long, in southern
Nevadaand eastern Californiain the United States. It drains a high desert region northwest of Las Vegas into Death Valley, where it disappears into the ground. Except for 1) a small portion of its route in the Amargosa Canyon in California, 2) a small portion at Beatty, Nevada, the river flows only after a rare rainstorm washes the region.
It rises in
Nye County, Nevada, along the southern side of Pahute Mesain the Nellis Air Force Range. When carrying water, it flows southwest, crossing the Sarcobatus Flatsand passing the town of Beatty. At Beatty it turns southeast to flow across the Amargosa Desertalong the east side of the Funeral Mountains. It crosses into eastern California, along the east side of the Amargosa Range, passing through the 20 mi (32 km) Amargosa Canyon. It enters the northern Mojave Desertwhere it passes west along the southern side of the Amargosa Range, then turns north in a U-shape, flowing along the western side of the range and entering the southern end of Death Valley. It flows northward through the basin to the center of the valley, disappearing into the ground near Badwater Basinto feed to the aquiferthat is the remnant of prehistoric Lake Manly. The lower course of the river in Death Valley is within Death Valley National Park.
The name of the river is Spanish for "bitter", probably shortened from "agua amargosa", "bitter water".cite book|first=Erwin|last=Gudde| coauthors =William Bright |title=California Place Names|year=2004|edition=Fourth ed.|publisher=University of California Press|pages=p. 11|id=ISBN 0-520-24217-3] The river is an ancient stream, following an antecedent
canyon. Evidence of human habitation along the river goes back approximately 10,000 years to the end of the last ice age, when the area was much wetter. In addition to prehistoric Lake Manly in Death Valley, the middle river valley was submerged during the late Pleistoceneby prehistoric Lake Tecopa. The canyon floor along the Amargosa Range has remnants of indigeneous habitations that are protected by the Bureau of Land Management. The Old Spanish Trail followed the course of the river in the 19th century. From 1907 to 1941, the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroadfollowed the lower course of the river serving remote Death Valley communities.
The section of the river where it flows perennially is in the Amargosa Canyon along the southeast end of the Amargosa Range near the town of
Shoshone, California. Along a 20 mi (32 km) stretch in the Amargosa Canyon it sustains a small margin of riparian wetlandsin the surrounding desert. The water, as the name suggests, is non-potable by humans but is a critical source of water for the area wildlife in this section.
List of rivers in the Great Basin
* [http://www.friendsoftheriver.org/site/PageServer?pagename=FORCalRiversAmargosa Friends of the River: Amargosa River]
* [http://californiawild.org/EasternSierra.html California Wild Heritage Campaign-Saving wild places in the Eastern Sierra]
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