The Great Basin is not, as its name implies, a topographic cup. Its surface is of varied character, with many independent closed basins draining into lakes or "playas," none of which, however, has outlet to the sea.
Most of the small closed basins, however, contain "playas," or alkali mud flats, that are overflowed when the tributary streams are supplied with storm water.
Cottonwoods line the streams, salt-loving vegetation margins the bare playas, low bushes and scattered bunch-grass grow over the lowlands, especially in the north.
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