Scenes from Whirlwind Valley, by Beowawe and West of Elko off Interstate 80


State highway 306 dives from the interstate into a valley that attracts attention from the freeway because of its beautful stand of poplars associated with a large ranch, and because of the enigmatic plumes of steam from a functioning geothermal power plant.

But what caught my attention was the color of the sunrise in my car windshield's blue-shaded zone:

A good dirt road allowed a view of the geothermal plant.  A tour led to the information that the plant produces a steady 15 megawatts of power, and that contrary to poular belief, the plant did not come into operation until a local network of geysers had already given up the ghost.  In the following photo, the powerplant is visible from the location of the former geyser field.

From one of the geyser holes, the pipeline is visible that carries hot water returning from the generators back into the ground.  The water is brought up from a fault, the one that forms the face of the basaltic range, from a depth of about 9,000 feet underground.  The decrease in pressure causes it to flash into steam at about 600 feet depth, and the steam is then brought into the powerplant to run turbines, and the residual is reinjected into the fault.

Another example of a geyser hole, followed by a picture of the Whirlwind Valley's extent, with active mines on its rim.

Finally a well-camouflaged coyote runs away from the car in the bright light of the last, horizontal rays of the sun.

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