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Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of around 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2), but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. For ins...

The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of around 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2), but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. For instance, in 1963 it reached its lowest recorded size at 950 square miles (2,460 km2), but in 1988 the surface area was at the historic high of 3,300 square miles (8,500 km2). In terms of surface area, it is the largest lake in the United States that is not part of the Great Lakes region. The lake is the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric pluvial lake that once covered much of western Utah. The three major tributaries to the lake, the Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers together deposit around 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year. As it is endorheic (has no outlet besides evaporation), it has very high salinity (far saltier than seawater) and its mineral content is steadily increasing. Due to the high density resulting from its mineral content, swimming in the Great Salt Lake is similar to floating. Its shallow, warm waters cause frequent, sometimes heavy lake-effect snows from late fall through spring. Although it has been called "America's Dead Sea", the lake provides habitat for millions of native birds, brine shrimp, shorebirds, and waterfowl, including the largest staging population of Wilson's phalarope in the world.

Timeline

Further Resources

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News

Title
Author
Date
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Theresa Braine
July 28, 2021
phys.org
The southern portion of Great Salt Lake in Utah is at its lowest levels since recording began in 1847, as the state reels in extreme drought that doesn't seem poised to let up.
Associated Press
July 26, 2021
the Guardian
Level likely to drop further in coming months, official says, with millions of birds reliant on lake and boats left high and dry
Matt McGrath - Environment correspondent
July 8, 2021
news.yahoo.com
Without global warming, the searing heat seen in the western US and Canada "just doesn't occur," say scientists.
Helen Briggs - BBC Environment correspondent
July 8, 2021
news.yahoo.com
Experts are heartened by a new found interest in the "underappreciated and under-threat" insects.
Associated Press
July 6, 2021
the Guardian
The receding water is affecting wildlife and could send arsenic-laced dust into the air that millions breathe
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