Nevada was made famous by the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the richest known U.S. silver deposit, in 1859, and its mines have produced large quantities of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, barite, and tungsten. Oil was discovered in 1954. Gold now far exceeds all other minerals in value of production.
It is in a mountain region that includes semiarid grasslands and sandy deserts, and is the most arid (dry) state in the nation. Nevada is a land of rugged, snow-capped mountains, grassy valleys and sandy deserts. The northern and central portions of Nevada are mostly within the Great Basin Desert, while portions of the southern tip are within the Mojave Desert.
Nevada's total gross state product for 1999 was $69 billion placing it 32nd in the nation. Its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $30,529 or 14th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, dairy products, and potatoes. Its industrial outputs are tourism, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment.
Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Las Vegas are major resorts. Recreation areas include Pyramid Lake, Lake Tahoe, and Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Other attractions are Hoover Dam, Virginia City, and Great Basin National Park (includes Lehman Caves).