500-Mile-Lengthy Energy Line Hits a Roadblock: Ice Age Fossils

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

A proposal to construct a almost 500-mile-long stretch of transmission line in Nevada has been additional delayed due to the invention of attainable fossil deposits in its path.

In line with E&E Information, an environmental evaluate of the transmission line plan, initially slated to be launched in January, might not be made public for a public remark interval till Might. That’s as a result of the trail of the Greenlink West energy line, because it’s been proposed by NV Vitality, runs via 1.5 miles of Tule Springs Fossil Beds Nationwide Monument, established as a Nationwide Park Service website in 2014.

The monument accommodates 1000’s of fossils from the Pleistocene Epoch, generally referred to as the Ice Age. For about 90,000 years—till round 12,500 years in the past—the area was filled with wetlands that preserved the Pleistocene fauna, from mammoths and saber-toothed cats to acquainted creatures like coyotes, jackrabbits, and snails.

The 22,650-acre park sits north of Las Vegas; the transmission line’s 470-mile-long proposed path slices via the monument and from there roughly runs parallel to Nevada’s western border north to the outskirts of Reno.

In line with the Bureau of Land Administration’s web site, “the Greenlink West Venture could be a system of latest 525-kilovolt (kV), 345-kV, 230-kV, and 120-kV electrical transmission services on non-public, state, and federal lands between northern and southern Nevada.”

As it’s at present outlined, the ability line would take a 1.5-mile-long path via the nationwide park, 5 ft inside its borders close to a street that cuts the park into two segments.

The NPS cautioned in feedback filed to BLM final yr that “The development of the transmission line…could have the potential to affect paleontological assets, together with an undetermined variety of fossil stays and unrecorded fossil websites,” based on the Public Staff for Environmental Duty.

The Nationwide Park Service proposed utilizing ground-penetrating radar to detect fossil deposits within the space. These scans, funded by NV Vitality, had been accomplished by Geotech International Consulting, and the outcomes had been revealed in September. The report described the detection of Pleistocene vertebrate fossils throughout the nationwide monument.

One scan “exhibited a group of anomalies that might nicely be vertebrate fossils,” based on the report, written by Thomas City, a analysis scientist at Geotech International Consulting. (City and colleagues beforehand used ground-penetrating radar to search out human and proboscidean hint fossil beds in White Sands Nationwide Monument in New Mexico.)

One other scan carried out on deposits “that exhibited a considerable amount of small bone fragments eroding out of the floor” detected “plenty of anomalies … a few of which resemble vertebrate fossils.” A 3rd scan revealed proboscidean tusks poking out of an escarpment.

All advised, the deepest scan discovered attainable fossils deeper than 33 ft (10 meters). Due to the uncertainty of what was the reason for the anomalies, ground-truth observations (and excavations) could also be crucial to know precisely what the ability line might disturb, ought to it go forward as deliberate.

As famous by E&E Information, the Bureau of Land Administration has a smattering of federal and guarded lands to navigate, together with an Air Pressure base, Native American tribal websites, and the Desert Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, the biggest wildlife refuge outdoors of Alaska.

How BLM and NV Vitality plan to navigate the authorized quagmire stays to be seen; the general public remark interval following the environmental evaluate’s eventual launch might convey its personal suite of complaints.

Extra: Bones of Mammoths Seemingly Butchered by People Present in New Mexico

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