Nevada Peaks Named for Outstanding Nevadans

Nevada Peak Named for Roger Morrison
Roger B. Morrison (1914-2006)

Roger B. Morrison was an internationally known field geologist who was one of the first researchers to study and formally describe the Pleistocene Lake Lahontan deposits of western Nevada. His contributions to the fields of Quaternary geology, geomorphology, and soils spanned seven decades and have few parallels in geological studies of the Basin and Range.

Roger earned a BS and MA in geology from Cornell University on 1934. He began a life-long career with the U.S. Geological Survey in the late 1930s studying groundwater resources in the arid West. In 1949, he was assigned to be Chief of the Fallon, Nevada project, a study investigating groundwater resources of the Carson Desert area. This work eventually formed the basis for a PhD dissertation in geology that Roger completed at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1964.

This was the first PhD granted by UNR in any field of study, and it formed the basis for the subsequent USGS Professional Paper 401, Lake Lahontan: Geology of Southern Carson Desert, one of the most significant contributions to the geological history of Nevada. These studies of Lake Lahontan were focused in the Lahontan Mountains near Grimes Point, Nevada, and many of the current place names of this area owe their origin to Morrison’s field studies. The newly named “Morrison Peak” is located on the west flank of Sehoo Mountain, named by Morrison during his field studies, and overlooking many of the well-known Lake Lahontan geological features discovered by Morrison. (from John Bell)

This naming proposal was submitted to the Nevada State Board on Geographic Names by John Bell (Professor Emeritus, NBMG) and was approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The official listing can be viewed on the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) at,P3_TITLE:2778528,Morrison%20Peak

Dr. Morrison’s work provided the basis for two recent NBMG publications:

Geologic Map of the Lahontan Mountains Quadrangle, Churchill County, Nevada (second edition)

Geologic Map of the Grimes Point Quadrangle, Churchill County, Nevada


Nevada Peak Named for Alvin McLane
Alvin R. McLane (1934-2006)

On February 11, 2016, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names honored Alvin Ray McLane by approving the name “McLane Peak” for a previously unnamed peak in the Nightingale Mountains, 52 mi. NE of Reno overlooking Winnemucca Lake; Sec 2, T26N, R24E, Mount Diablo Meridian, on the Tohakum Peak NE 7.5-minute quadrangle. The official description of McLane Peak is on the U.S. Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website.,P3_TITLE:2778527,McLane%20Peak

From the Reno Gazette-Journal (with permission from the McLane family):

“Alvin Ray McLane, 71, passed away October 18, 2006 in a Reno hospital. He was born in Akron, OH on December 12, 1934 to George and Nellie (Strawderman) McLane. Alvin called Nevada his home for nearly 50 years.

Nevada lost its most interesting and long-time climber, spelunker, ski mountaineer, historian, conservationist, archaeologist, and author. Alvin knew the empty spots of Nevada as few others through nearly 50 years of exploring the entire state in his succession of jeeps. To fund this exploration he worked at a wide variety of interesting jobs including, filming, collecting ants on the top of mountain ranges, ski patrolling, climbing instructor, hydrologic and geologic technician, researching his writing projects, and finally as an archaeologist at the Desert Research Institute where he ‘officially’ retired in 1996.

For the past decade Alvin continued to pursue archaeology as both a consultant to various state and federal agencies as well as being an enthusiastic volunteer documenting and protecting petroglyph sites. Just the week before his death of pneumonia he was inventorying petroglyphs in his favorite part of Nevada, the Snake Range. Alvin’s first interest when he arrived in Nevada from West Virginia in the late 1950s was in exploring and meticulously mapping every cave he could find in eastern Nevada. He started the Great Basin Grotto Chapter of the National Speleological Society. A favorite cave in his early years was Wind Cave in South Dakota.

Natural arches and bridges also fascinated him so he searched them out and documented their locations. He discovered and did some of the first climbing routes in rock climbing areas like the Wild Granites in the Toiyabe Range and Lava Rocks in Northwestern Nevada. Alvin wrote Silent Cordilleras: The Mountain Ranges of Nevada in 1978 which for the first time identified 314 separate mountain ranges in the state, more than in any other state. He also authored or co-authored 13 publications dealing with caves, archaeology and the mountains of Nevada.

In 1998 Alvin tackled the controversy about the 1844 route of John C. Fremont to Pyramid Lake, by hiking the southerly route and seeing the same landmarks as the earlier explorer. In the 1970s Alvin authored studies of the Soldier Meadows, Fly Creek, and High Rock Canyon in northern Nevada as Natural Landmarks. Each the areas are now part of the Black Rock High Rock National Conservation Area. Recently Alvin was featured (frequently with his dog ‘Petroglyph’) in 14 episodes on the Wild Nevada KNPB Channel 5 program. On one of the episodes he took viewers to petroglyph panels to explain how early Native Americans used them to track the changes of the season. ‘Petroglyph’ also died last Wednesday.

Alvin was one of the founding members of the Friends of Mount Rose. These efforts are now appreciated by everyone who drives the upper reaches of the Mount Rose highway or skis the backcountry powder on Tamarack Peak. In 2004 Alvin was recognized by Governor Guinn for his ‘outstanding work as an archaeologist, historian, hydrologist, geologist, mountaineer, [and] spelunker.’ The Bureau of Land Management recognized Alvin as Nevada’s leading rock art recorder at a ceremony in Washington D.C. He also received an award from the Nevada Rock Art Foundation.

Alvin’s knowledge, expertise, and eagerness to explore new places will be sorely missed by his family and his many colleagues and friends.”

Nevada State Board on Geographic Names

Jack Hursh (Executive Secretary, Nevada State Board on Geographic Names, 2009–2014) was instrumental and diligent in the pursuit of the naming of McLane Peak. A photo of McLane Peak taken by Jack and featured on the June page of the Nevada Geology Calendar 2016 can also be viewed here.

NBMG has been involved in the Nevada State Board of Geographic Names for many years. NBMG faculty members emeriti, Joe and Susan Tingley, served as officers of the Board—Joe as Executive Secretary (1994–2004) and Susan as Chairman (1988–2004).

The Nevada Revised Statutes created the Nevada State Board on Geographic Names and requires one representative and one alternate from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

U.S. Board on Geographic Names

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