Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Spring Mountains are a mountain range of southern Nevada in the United States, running generally northwest-southeast along the west side of Las Vegas and down to the border with California. The highest point is Mount Charleston, at 11,918 ft (3,362 m). The range is named for the number of springs to be found, many of them in the recesses of Red Rock Canyon, which is on the eastern side of the mountains. The Spring Mountains divide the Pahrump Valley and Amargosa River basin from the Las Vegas Valley, which drains into the Colorado River, thus the mountains define part of the boundary of the Great Basin.
With an area of about 2,220 sq km, and a vertical range of nearly two miles, the mountains encompass a wide variety of habitats, and the biological diversity is probably greater than anywhere else in Nevada. 37 species of trees are known (more than any other Nevadan range), and 600 species of vascular plants have been reported from the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area alone. The bases of the mountains are part of the Lower Mojavean Zone , dominated by creosote bush and white bursage , then there is a Blackbrush Zone followed by a Pygmy Conifer Zone with juniper, pinyon pine and mountain-mahogany, topped by a Montane Zone around Mt. Charleston and its connecting ridges.
The mountains are mostly owned by the Bureau of Land Management and managed as part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The area to the west is part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
The area around Mt Charleston is protected in the Mount Charleston Wilderness . Typically 20-30 degrees cooler than the valleys below, the area is a popular getaway for Las Vegas residents and visitors; there is a lodge and the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort ski area.
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