A.D. Wilson, topography; S.F. Emmons, Geology. “Geological Map of the Toyabe Mountains.” From Atlas accompanying volume III on mining industry. New York: J. Bien, 1870. 10 1/2 x 17 3/4. Chromolithograph by Julius Bien. Very good condition.
This is one of the regional geological maps of a mining district in eastern Nevada, one the results of one of the landmark surveys of the American West. After the Civil War, the American people, and thus the government, became interested in finding out about the economic resources of the West. Thus government surveys turned from being military surveys, with science being simply an adjunct, to surveys which were primarily scientific in focus. In particular, they became “geological” surveys: “geology” at the time having a wider definition than now, referring broadly to the science of the earth, including within its compass botany, soil science, archaeology and anthropology.
The first government survey dedicated to studying the geological, and thus economic aspects of a far western state was the 1860-74 California Geological Survey led by Josiah D. Whitney. The California Geological Survey established the methods and aims for future surveys by the U.S. Government, which in 1867 authorized the first in a series of systematic scientific surveys of the West, the U.S. Geological Exploration of the 40th Parallel, led by Clarence King, who worked on with the CA Geological survey. Its purview was to survey the geological features and natural resources of the lands on either side of the Pacific Railroad from California to eastern Wyoming, designed as a practical survey to determine the economic potential of the lands along the railroad route.
A number of publications came out of this survey, including reports on the mining districts surveyed, one of which included this colorful and detailed map of the Toyabe Mountains in eastern Nevada.