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Are there natural pyramids in Nevada?

By Austin Tannenbaum on 03/31/2023


Pyramid Lake in northwestern Nevada is home to natural pyramids. The conical limestone tufa formations were exposed when a larger ancient lake receded.

In 1843, John C. Fremont saw the massive rock formation on the shore of a desert lake and named it Pyramid Lake because it reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids.

Pyramid Lake is a remnant of Lake Lahontan, which covered some 8,450 square miles in western Nevada during the Earth’s Ice Age. In ancient times, Lake Lahontan reached out to eastern California and up to southern Oregon.

Cave and rock shelters along the shores of Pyramid Lake indicate that the Numu, or Paiute people lived at Pyramid Lake for thousands of years.

Encroaching silver prospectors led to the Pyramid Lake War in 1860. After years of conflict, the half million-acre Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation was formally established in 1873.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Atlas Obscura Pyramid Lake

Hamilton Historical Records Pyramid Lake – A Geographical Formation Named By Explorer John Charles Frémont

National Park Service The Pyramid Lake War

US Government Publishing Office Nevada Native Nations Land Act

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