Nevada Water Science Center

Pyramid Lake

pyramid Lake is located in the western part of Nevada, about 40 miles from Reno on the tribal lands of the pyramid Lake paiute Tribe. pyramid Lake is a terminal lake meaning no water flows out from it. The lake is known for it's excellent fishing and unique tufa deposits.

pyramid Lake is the terminus of the Truckee River Basin (hydrographic region 6).

USGS Nevada Water Science Center currently has 3 streamflow gages on the Truckee River above pyramid Lake.

Map of pyramid Lake

Data

Real-Time Streamflow :: Daily Values :: Peak-Flow :: Water Quality

Publications

Benson, L.V., 2004, The tufas of Pyramid Lake, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1267, 14 p.

Rosen, M.R., 2005, A tale of two lakes -- Holocene climate variations from pyramid Lake and Baker Lake, Nevada: Geological Society of America Abstracts with programs, v. 37, no. 7, p. 122

Benson, Larry, and Peterman, Zell, 1995, Carbonate deposition, pyramid Lake subbasin, Nevada--3. The use of 87Sr values in carbonate deposits (tufas) to determine the hydrologic state of paleolake systems: palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, v. 119, p. 201-213.

Benson, L.V., Kashgarian, Michaele, and Rubin, Meyer, 1995, Carbonate deposition, pyramid Lake subbasin, Nevada, 2. Lake levels and polar jet stream positions reconstructed from radiocarbon ages and elevations of carbonate deposits (tufas): palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, v. 117, p. 1-30.

Hostetler, S.W., and Benson, L.V., 1994, Stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in the Truckee River-pyramid Lake surface-water system, 2. A predictive model of d18O and d2H in pyramid Lake: Limnology and Oceanography, v. 29, p. 356-364.

Benson, L.V., and White, J.W.C., 1994, Stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in the Truckee River-pyramid Lake surface-water system, 3. Source of water vapor over pyramid Lake, Nevada: Limnology and Oceanography, v. 39, p. 1945-1958.

Benson, L.V., 1994, Stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in the Truckee River-pyramid Lake surface-water system, 1. Data analysis and extraction of paleoclimatic information: Limnology and Oceanography, v. 39, p. 344-355.

Benson, L.V., 1994, Carbonate deposition, pyramid Lake subbasin, Nevada, 1. Sequence of formation and elevational distribution of carbonate deposits (tufas): palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, v. 109, p. 55-87.

Hostetler, S.W., and Benson, L.V., 1990, Meteorological and water-temperature data for pyramid Lake, Nevada, 1987-89: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 92-159, 15 p., 1 diskette.

Smith, L.H., 1980, Approximate relationships between river inflows and the lake level and dissolved-solids concentration of pyramid Lake, Washoe County, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 82-80, 5 p.

Harris, E.E., 1970, Reconnaissance bathymetry of pyramid Lake, Washoe County, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Investigations Atlas HA-379, 1 sheet, scale 1:62,500.

Tufa

One of the many fascinating features of pyramid Lake is the tufa deposits. Tufa is a rock made of calcium carbonate that can form in lake water. These rocks can combine to form interesting shapes including the tufa pyramid in Pyramid Lake. The majority of the tufa seen at pyrmaid Lake was formed between 26,000 and 13,000 years ago.

 

pyramid Lake

 

A history of the tufa in Pyramid Lake can be found in USGS Circular 1267.

Cui-ui

The cui-ui is a large sucker fish found only in pyramid Lake. Cui-ui are an endangered species but the population has increased in recent years. Although cui-ui can live for 40 years or more, they don't begin spawning for 7-8 years. The fish swim up the lower Truckee River to spawn in the springtime.

 

cui-ui

photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

The Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently modified an existing fish passage elevator at Marble Bluff Dam into a fish lock system that allows migratory fish, such as the cui-ui to move upstream to their spawning grounds.

 

Pyramid Lake Fisheries, operated by the Pyramid Lake paiute Tribe runs 4 fish hatcheries dedicated to restoring the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and Cui-ui populations. Cui-ui larvae are released by the Fishery into the Truckee River where the larvae can migrate back down to Pyramid Lake.

 

 

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page Last Modified: May 1, 2012