Great Basin Naturalist


In two areas of hydrothermally altered rocks in the Great Basin, the native vegetation differs in composition and areal cover from unaltered to altered sites on the same geologic formations. Analysis suggests that physical rather than chemical factors may be the cause of the vegetation differences, especially permeability of bedrock, depth and texture of soils, and, possibly, amounts and types of clay minerals present. These characteristics influence the ability of soils to absorb and retain water.

In the East Tintic Mountains, Utah, the soils from argillized or mixed argillized and silicified parent materials have more characteristics associated with dryness and support sparser vegetation and more species especially adapted to dry conditions than do soils from unaltered or silicified parent materials.

In Battle Mountain, Nevada, unaltered areas have greater vegetation cover and have soil depth and texture that are more favorable for plants than do altered areas. Soil pH is higher in altered areas than in unaltered areas.