Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Foundations and water in the Desert

One thing that has always fascinated me about living in Southern Nevada is the amount of abandoned structures found in the desert, even though modern folks haven't inhabited this area for that long.  Areas that have seemingly never been touched turn up amazing finds.  Since I live walking distance from the area of Galleria and Gibson, I decided to do a bit of suburban exploring in the desert located on the corner.  This area is about to be developed into a new outdoor shopping mall so these could be the last photos taken here.

The area is interesting for a few reasons.  One, it has standing water, which always fascinates me.  Standing water in the desert without a visible stream, either means an underground spring or an underground stream in the area and always means rare wildlife can be seen.  This particular area has two major pools, the first one, located in the eastern most section of the property appears to be about 2 feet deep at the most and covers an area of about 50 yards.  The water is relatively clear and doesn't smell stagnant.  The shore line of the water is covered in a salt like alkali crystal crust that crunches when you walk on it.  This is due to water evaporation and most likely consists of salt and gypsum. The Cattails are everywhere there is shallow water and sway beautifully in the breeze.

Standing water in the desert with a white salty border.
Wildlife is everywhere in this area!  There are small fish in the pond, kingfisher birds fishing for them and quail.  Frogs and rabbits are the only other animals I see, but sometimes at night I can hear the coyotes in the area howling at the moon.

There is obviously a large amount of water in the area and due to that fact, trees and shrubs are everywhere.  Salt Cedars have invaded this area as they have most of the rest of Southern Nevada but this particular area has the largest Salt Cedar I have ever seen.  It is literally 40 feet high and covers an area that appears to be home to many an animal and a few homeless people.

In this area, I've found old foundations from what appears to be old houses.  Interestingly enough though, in my research on google earth and archive aerial photos of the area, there weren't any houses here.  The slabs seem to be somewhat modern and maybe about 20 years old.  So what could they be from?  20 years ago this was nothing but a dried up riverbed.  Could these foundations be from a time when there was a real river here?

Top of the old rusted pipe.
(Click to enlarge)
Also, there is a large pipe sticking out of the ground near Galleria Rd.  It's rusted and was at one time buried in cement due to the fact that there is some concrete still lining the outside of the pipe.  It is about 6 inches in diameter and reaches 15 feet in the air.  It is old and has been there for at least 20 years.

This pipe is on the opposite side of Galleria Rd.
It's a new installation.
Across the street, there is a covered hole in the ground in a newly made concrete slab.   There is also a second, bent pipe near that hole, with it's own drain underneath it...  I have seen pipes like these before although I don't know what they are used for.  This one was recently installed.  The manhole is the size of a typical manhole and is covered by a metal plate bolted down with 10, 2 inch metal bolts.  They weren't tightly attached, so I removed them temporarily and looked in.  Underneath was a ladder and a tunnel that extended under the street towards the other pipe.  It was large enough to walk in, but without proper gear I couldn't go in.  Next time I'll be properly prepared to enter and I will bring back pictures.  What could this be?  What is under this area and why would someone build a tunnel under it?   I MUST know!  Who wants to join me?  I'm not doing this one alone!

New info--  Not to far from this area, I have found a gated-in area with cameras, an alarm and a locked gate. There appears to be an underground, guarded structure there.  This is near Gibson and Galleria.  Nothing else is around.  The locked down area is about 1/4 acre of cement with 4 cameras and a stairway that leads underground.  I would love to know what this is!


  1. I find it disturbing that someone is building yet another mall in these bad economic times and in so doing they will destroy what seems to be a natural wetlands in the middle of suburbia. As far as the underground structure with pipes leading to it - you're on your own there, buddy!

  2. Wish I lived in Vegas. Would love the adventure!