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Sedimentary deposits of pluvial Lake Bonneville are an important source of sand and gravel suitable for aggregate and construction in Utah. Data on Lake Bonneville basin sand and gravel deposit thickness, volume, grain size, percent of fines, and durability were statistically analyzed to detect variations associated with geologic domains, geographic location, Lake Bonneville shorelines, and sand and gravel deposit type, and to construct quantitative deposit models. Analysis showed several trends; (1) sand and gravel in younger shorelines was slightly more durable and the deposits considerably larger in volume, (2) younger shorelines are also more likely to contain more than one genetic deposit type, (3) the volume of terrace deposits is larger than beach deposits, (4) terraces and beaches are generally thicker than spits and bars, (5) the northern part of the Bonneville Basin contains slightly more durable sand and gravel than the southern part of the basin and is more likely to contain deposits composed of more than one genetic deposit type, and (6) the Wasatch domain deposits are composed of more than one genetic deposit type more often than deposits of the Basin and Range domain. Three additional conclusions with immediate economic significance are; (1) the median sand and gravel deposit in the Wasatch domain, 360,000 m3 (275,000 yd3), is three times larger than that of the Basin and Range domain (120,000 m3 [90,000 yd3]), (2) the median deposit thickness in the Wasatch domain, 5.8 m (19.0 ft), is nearly twice that of the Basin and Range domain (3 m [10 ft]), and (3) the Wasatch domain also contains slightly larger diameter gravel. These three conclusions are significant because the trend for sand and gravel development in the Bonneville Basin is to move from the Wasatch domain to the Basin and Range domain. Smaller, thinner deposits with smaller diameter gravel will require more surface area to mine than would have been necessary in the Wasatch domain. The result is a higher cost for sand and gravel in construction projects in the Salt Lake City area, especially since the gravel must also be hauled further.
Additional Publication Details
Statistical analysis of sand and gravel aggregate deposits of late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville, Utah
Utah Geological Survey
Number of Pages:
35th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals: the Intermountain West Forum 1999