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Ecological Sections: Southern Great Basin

Subsection 341Ff

Panamint Range

This subsection comprises the Panamint Mountains, which are between Panamint Valley and  Death Valley.  It has a hot to cold, arid climate.  MLRA 29f.

Lithology and Stratigraphy.  The bedrock is mainly Precambrian sedimentary and metamorphic, Paleozoic marine sedimentary, and lesser amounts of  Mesozoic granitic and Pliocene volcanic rocks.  Most of the Paleozoic is represented, at least from Cambrian through Carboniferous.  The volcanic rocks are mostly basalt.  There is a little Quaternary alluvium in small valleys.

Geomorphology.   This subsection contains steep mountains and gently to moderately sloping alluvial fans.  The Panamint Range is aligned north-south.  The elevation range is from about 1000 feet up to 11049 feet on Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range.  Mass wasting, fluvial and deposition, and freeze-thaw are the main geomorphic processes.

Soils.  The soils are mostly Lithic Torriorthents, Lithic Argixerolls, and Aridic Argixerolls, plus shallow Typic Torriorthents and shallow Aridic Argixerolls on granitic rocks and Lithic Haplargids on volcanic rocks.  Soils on alluvial fans are mostly Typic Torriorthents and Xerollic Haplargids.  The soils are well drained.   Soil temperature regimes are mostly thermic and mesic, with frigid at higher elevations.  Soil moisture regimes are mostly aridic, and some xeric.

Vegetation.   The predominant natural plant communities, from lower to higher elevations are Creosote bush series, Mixed saltbush series, Shadscale series, Big sagebrush series, Singleleaf pinyon series, Limber pine series, and Bristlecone pine series.

Characteristic series by lifeform include:

Grasslands: Ashy ryegrass series, Creeping ryegrass series, Indian ricegrass series, Nebraska sedge series, Needle-and-thread series.

Shrublands: Big sagebrush series,  Black bush series, Brittlebush series, Catclaw acacia series, Creosote bush series, Creosote bush - white bursage series, Hop-sage series, Low sagebrush series, Shadscale series, White bursage series.

Forests and woodlands: Bristlecone pine series, Curlleaf mountain-mahogany series, Limber pine series.
Climate.  The mean annual precipitation is about 4 to 20 inches.  Much of the precipitation is snow at higher elevations.  Mean annual temperature is about 35 to 72 F.  The mean freeze-free period is in the range from 100 to 275 days.

Surface Water.  Runoff is rapid.  It drains to either Panamint Valley on the west or Death Valley on the east.  Streams are dry most of each year. 

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