Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 98: Hard Lines

my drawing of Nevada (grey area is the Nevada Test Site)

Until recently I hadn't really thought much about the state of Nevada. The more that I learn about it the more it intrigues me. I have particular fascination with Nevada's western edge with California. Why the long, hard diagonal line? I have done some preliminary research and haven't come up with any good answers, but if anyone has more info post a comment. There is something about this angled vector that has left me wondering. There aren't any rivers or mountains that seem to be driving this line. I measured it in Google maps and it came out as exactly 400 miles.

In my realization that I know nothing about Nevada, other than the fact that we have ignited 1,021 nuclear bombs at the Nevada Test Site, I wondered, who lives there?

2.6 million people live in the entire state (half the size of Brooklyn), but Nevda is the 7th largest state in the USA. 85% of the population lives in the metropolitan areas of Reno and Las Vegas. Carson City is the capital but only around 52,000 people live there.

A remarkable fact is that 85% of the land in Nevada is OWNED by the US government. It is true that most of the state is uninhabitable, no agriculture can grow in the desert and most of the mountains and dry ancient playas are far from hospitable for humans, but this is an interestingly large percentage nonetheless. The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) runs 67% of the state according to their website, and I assume that the other 13% is comprised of the Nevada State Site and Nellis Air Force Base. You can see a map of all BLM land in the USA here, it is quite impressive. Nevada is by far the most concentrated zone.

Click to see enlarged BLM map of NV

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