Uefore its close the sea of the Great Basin which had persisted since the Devonian was connected with the shallow sea which covered much of the interior of the United States.
The Triassic system is well developed on the Pacific coast, where its strata are of marine origin, and they extend inland to the Great Basin region.
The Arid Transition life-zone comprises the western part of the Dakotas, north-eastern Montana, and irregular areas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas, covering for the most part the eastern base of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains and the higher parts of the Great Basin and the plateaus.
Thus we have in the northern hemisphere the Sahara desert, the deserts of Arabia, Iran, Turan, Takla Makan and Gobi, and the desert regions of the Great Basin in North America; and in the southern hemisphere the Kalahari desert in Africa, the desert of Australia, and the desert of Atacama in South America.
Where a river crosses a desert at a level near that of the general surface, irrigation can be carried on with extremely profitable results, as has been done in the valley of the Nile and in parts of the Great Basin of North America; in cases, however, where the river has cut deeply and flows far below the general surface, irrigation is too expensive.