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Five Cool and Crazy Geological Wonders to See in Nevada

1. Black Canyon. Located in southeast Nevada, on the border between Nevada and Arizona, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, this 12-mile stretch of the Colorado River beneath the Hoover Dam in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area includes all sorts of caves, sandy beaches, and springs (both hot and cold, ranging from 55-degrees to 136-degrees). Nevada Hot Spring (actually a series of springs) also includes a lovely waterfall. Desert bighorn sheep can often be seen along the cliffs along the river. While the Gold Strike Canyon Trail leads to the water's edge, the only way to truly experience the Black Canyon is by boat -- on the Black Canyon National Water Trail, a 30-mile trail that can be accessed through a guided tour at the base of the Hoover Dam, near the old mining town in Eldorado Canyon, or from Willow Beach, Arizona.

2. Fly Geyser. Located north of Gerlach in northwest Nevada, about 128 miles north of Reno, near the edge of the Black Rock Desert and Fly Reservoir in the Hualapai Geothermal Flats, this colorful (from thermophilic algae growing on the surface) and small geothermal geyser is on private land owned by the Burning Man Project. It is expected that some limited tours and visits will be permitted. The geyser, while certainly a geothermal phenomenon, is not natural; it was accidently created when employees of the Fly Ranch were exploring for sources of geothermal energy and either never capped, or capped incorrectly. While in the area, visit the Black Rock Desert - High Rock Canyon Emigrant trails National Conservation Area. Learn more: Fly Ranch.

3. Lunar Crater Volcanic Field. Located about 75 miles east of Tonopah, covering more than 100 square miles at the southern end of the Pancake Ridge in the Great Basin Desert in remote south-central Nevada, almost equal distance between Reno and Las Vegas, this volcanic field contains cinder cones, lava flows, elongated fissures, ash hills, and the 430-foot deep, 25-million year-old Lunar Crater, a National Natural Landmark, named, perhaps, because it looks similar to the moon. The crater is actually a maar -- a shallow, broad crater formed by several explosive eruptions close to ground level, the result of groundwater coming into contact with hot lava or magma. Find the Lunar Crater off of US 6, between Ely and Tonopah, on the Bureau of Land Management Lunar Crater Back Country Byway, a 24-mile loop that allows great vistas of the entire area. While in the area, be sure to check out the Tonopah, including the historic mining camp and old cemetery.

4. Pyramid Lake. Located in western Nevada, about 44 miles northeast of Reno, in an elongated intermontane basin between the Lake Mountain Range on the east, the Virginia Mountains on the west, and the Pah Rah Range on the southwest, this 125,000-acre lake, widely acclaimed as North America's "most beautiful desert lake," is fed by the Truckee River (from the outflow of Lake Tahoe), is the largest remnant of the ancient Lake Lahontan, which once covered much of northwestern Nevada at the end of the last ice age, and is the sink of the Truckee River Basin. Its name comes from the cone and pyramid shaped tufa formations in and around the lake; the largest formation, Anaho Island, is home to a large colony of American white pelicans. In a parallel basin to the east, you can also find the remains of Winnemucca Lake, now a dry lake. Be sure to stop at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center in Nixon.

5. Ruby Mountains. Located in northeast Nevada, mostly within the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, about 300 miles northeast of Reno, this mountain range includes 10 peaks that are above 10,000 feet, reaching an elevation of 11,387 feet at the summit of Ruby Dome. To the east is Ruby Valley (and home to the Rube Lake National Wildlife Refuge), while to the west are Huntington and Lamoille Valleys. The mountains are named for the garnets found by early explorers, and are home to two dozen alpine lakes, including Cold, Hidden Solider, Robinson (in the north); Echo, Liberty, Favre, Lamoille, Castle, Griswold (in the central); and North Furlong and Overland (in the south). The 12-mile Lamoille Canyon Road, a National Forest Scenic Byway, about 25 miles south of Elko, explores that area known as the "Grand Canyon" of Nevada. For hikers, check out the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, a 38-mile trail that offers spectacular scenery.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.

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