Light Bubbles: Looking In


Las Vegas Light Bubble
Las Vegas Light Bubble

I have had the great pleasure of visiting the Amargosa River Valley on several occasions over the last several months. Appropriately, the Amargosa River was recently designated as a Wild and Scenic river. The lush valley supported by this desert river is home to many endemic species of fish, mammals, plants, and, quite honestly, perhaps many other as-of-yet undiscovered wildlife.

In October, 2015, I visited some local hot springs where I managed to capture the light pollution from Las Vegas nearly 100 miles away. Look closely and you will see a shimmer of light in the foreground. That is Tecopa Dry Lake. Located just east of Death Valley – one of the hottest places on Earth – and in the Mojave Desert, this lake rarely fills with water. However, heavy rainfall during the preceding weeks helped us capture this rare sight.

The Amargosa River basin may seem isolated at first glance. However, like so many other fragile ecosystems, continued pressures placed on this ecosystem may threaten the plants, animals, and wild places found within this delicate desert landscape. The Las Vegas light bubble serves as a metaphorical, and somewhat literal, symbol of this threat.

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