Geohydrologic reconnaissance of Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Las Vegas Wash to Virgin River, Nevada

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4033
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By:  and 



This study is the last of a series of eight geohydrologic reconnaissance studies that were done in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The studies were done to evaluate the water resources in the recreation area and to identify areas having potential for the development of water supplies that would be adequate for marinas and campgrounds. The study area includes about 250 square miles north of Lake Mead from Las Vegas Wash to the Virgin River (Overton Arm), Nevada. Volcanic rocks, consolidated sedimentary rocks, and unconsolidated to semiconsolidated sedimentary rocks underlie the area. Surface-water sources include the Colorado River, Virgin River, Muddy River, and Las Vegas Wash. Elsewhere in the area, streamflow is meager and extremely variable. Ground water originates from four sources: (1) subsurface flow in local basins, (2) infiltration of water from Lake Mead into permeable rocks near the lake, (3) subsurface flow in valleys of perennial streams, and (4) subsurface flow in consolidated rocks of the Muddy Mountains. The quantity of water from Lake Mead that has saturated rocks adjacent to the lake probably is greater than the quantity of ground water from all the other sources. Rocks saturated by water from the lake probably extend less than 0.5 mile inland from the lake shore. The quality of virtually all the ground water in the area is not acceptable for drinking purposes.

The most favorable areas for obtaining ground water are those underlain by the coarse-grained deposits of the older alluvium and the younger alluvium adjacent to Lake Mead. The least favorable areas are those underlain by the mudstone facies of the Muddy Creek Formation and fine-grained rocks of the Horse Spring Formation. Four areas identified as having potential for ground-water development are (1) near Overton Beach, (2) west of Callville Bay, (3) near Middle Point, and (4) in the lower Moapa Valley. Usable quantities of water probably can be obtained at these sites, but the quality of the water may not be acceptable for drinking purposes. Test drilling for potable water supplies should be considered only as exploration.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geohydrologic reconnaissance of Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Las Vegas Wash to Virgin River, Nevada
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 96-4033
DOI 10.3133/wri964033
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: iv, 44 p.; 38.74 x 42.81 inches
Country United States
State Nevada
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