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The effort underway to save the 'Great Unconformity'

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Updated: 2/10/2013 10:17 am
LAS VEGAS — There are geological wonders right here in the Las Vegas Valley, one known as the “Great Unconformity”. And there is an effort underway to save and showcase the natural treasure at the foot of Frenchman Mountain.

“So we have sandstone that are half a billion years old, let's call it 500 million years old and over on my right granites that are 1.7 billion years old,” UNLV Geology Professor Steve Rowland points out at the contrasting earth.

The rocks are uniquely and naturally arranged next to each other. But they are made of different substances and they are vastly different in age and appearance. It is referred to as the “Great Unconformity”.

It’s so unusual, the only place you can see this in the U.S. is in the bottom of the Grand Canyon or right here at the end of Lake Mead Boulevard near Hollywood. But the land surrounding this geological oddity that was once the focus of much attention about 20 years ago, has undergone some neglect and vandalism.

That’s why the non-profit group Citizens for Active Management has reactivated to bring attention back to the region. Helen Mortenson with C.A.M. says she’d like to see the area blossom into a destination much like Red Rock Canyon.

“I think it's a real asset to the valley and to the school children that they can easily get to these places and to this area and it's also very good for eco-tourism,” Mortenson said.

Nearby, there is also a naturally formed cave, Gypsum Cave. It’s at least 15,000 years old and has five rooms.

“We know that there were Native Americans that lived in Southern Nevada around 4,000 years ago and they visited Gypsum Cave. What we know is that the Ice Age animals whose bones are in the cave were not put there by humans,” Rowland said.

Some answers, but still so many questions.

And now some citizens are willing to ignite the interest into 44,000 acres into geological treasure waiting to be further studied and appreciated.


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