The New International Encyclopædia/Great Basin
GREAT BASIN. An area of inland drainage in the Western United States, situated between the Wasatch Mountains on the east and the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges on the west. It comprises most of Nevada and portions of Utah, Oregon, Idaho, and California, and has a total area of about 210,000 square miles. The basin has a gradual slope from the north, where the elevation is 4000 feet above the sea, toward the south, forming a tilted plateau whose surface is broken by interrupted groups of mountains with a general north and south trend. The Humboldt River is the only perennial stream of any size rising in the interior of the basin, but on the borders there are numerous short streams, which have their sources in the snow-fields of the Wasatch and Sierra Nevada ranges, and which act as feeders to a number of lakes, including Winnemucca, Carson, Owens, Mono, Pyramid, Sevier, Utah, and Great Salt Lake. Many of these lakes were greatly expanded during Pleistocene time. (See Lake.) There are several large arid wastes within the basin, such as Great Salt Lake Desert, Carson Desert, and Mohave Desert, and the climate of the whole region is dry. Agriculture is confined to irrigated lands, but the mineral resources are of great importance. See Great Salt Lake.