Geological evidence shows that this gap was once bridged by a continuous isthmus which according to the temple records was breached by a violent storm in 1480.
Its complexity reflects the corresponding intricacy of geographical and geological evolution.
This plateau formation - the oldest geological continent of Asia - being unfit for agriculture and for the most part unsuited for permanent settlement, while its oceanic slopes have from the dawn of history been occupied by a relatively dense population, long prevented Slav colonization from reaching the Pacific. The Russians chanced to cross it in the 17th century at its narrowest and most N.
Hilly plateaus are still in the same geological phase, and are dotted with numberless lakes and ponds, while the rivers continue to dig out their yet undetermined channels.
C. Fremont and Howard Stansbury (1806-1863) furnished a general knowledge of the hydrographic features and geological lacustrine history of the Great Basin, and this knowledge was rounded out by the field work of the U.S. Geological Survey from 1879 to 1883, under the direction of Grove Karl Gilbert.