|2. The Universe / The Earth / North America / USA / Utah|
1. Life / The Natural World / Natural Phenomena
Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA
The Great Salt Lake is a large lake found in the Salt Lake valley of Northern Utah. It is the remnants of an ancient inland sea known as Lake Bonneville. The Native Americans in the area have known about the lake for a very long time. The first white person known to have visited the lake was Jim Bridger, a fur trapper.
The lake is about 75 miles long by 35 miles wide. This makes it the largest lake west of the Mississippi River and 6th largest in the United States and ranks as the 33rd largest lake in the world. It is a shallow lake averaging only 33 feet in depth. The shallowness of the lake is cause for its vastly changing area and shape.
It is a unique lake due to the fact that it is a terminal lake, meaning that while there are rivers and streams feeding into the lake - there are no rivers leading from it. Most of the water loss is due to evaporation.
There are 11 islands on the lake, and it has long been a tourist attraction because of its salty nature. One of the effects of the high salinity is that it is very easy to float in the water. The Great Salt Lake contains approximately 4.8 billion tons of dissolved salt. This is roughly three times the sodium chloride present in the Dead Sea.
The northern arm of the lake is also roughly twice as salty as the southern arm due to the railroad causeway built across the lake during the early 1900s.The causeway also caused the southern half of the lake to be about two feet higher due to the fact that the Jordan River, and all the small streams that feed the lake, are at the southern end.