2004 Sampling Field Trip:


Created by George Rice, Montana State University


Image on left is of a large higher temp. (87 C) hot spring, image on right is of a green mat in a flowing warm spring. Photos provided by Chuanlun Zhang and the Nevada hot spring team.


  • During a field campaign in May 12-18, 2004, the investigators visited 16 hot-spring locations in Nevada, traveling about 800 miles (see figure below). A total of 72 samples were collected, which included spring waters, gases, and mats or sediments. These springs were found to be amazingly diverse in terms of water temperature, pH, mat morphology, and the geological or soil composition associated with each feature. Based on conversations with landowners and local contacts these visits to many of the springs were the first time biological research had been conducted there.

  • Map of Nevada showing thermal features.

  • The four-day field trip provided an invaluable experience, and inspired profound questions regarding microbial diversity, biogeochemical function, and biogeography in the context of time, space, and the evolution of geothermal activities in the Great Basin valleys of Nevada.

  • Images of the investigators sampling with the Nevada landscape as background. Photos provided by Chuanlun Zhang and the Nevada hot spring team.

  • Working in Nevada hot springs also afforded the unique opportunity of enhancing the broader impact of the projects scientific research by meeting ordinary people, who were extraordinarily interested in, and enthusiastic about our work. For example, while staying at the Solider Meadows Ranch, we talked with a soil scientist, a couple of range-management consultants, and a plumber, who were staying there for social activities. One of the range management consultants even invited us to sample springs on his property upon the next visit.


    Samples collected from all of the hot springs visited on this field trip. Photos provided by Chuanlun Zhang and the Nevada hot spring team.


Copyright on all images and material by Zhang and the Nevada hot spring team, 2005.