The Bonneville Salt Flats study area is located in the western part of the Great Salt Lake Desert in northwestern Utah, about 110 miles west of Salt Lake City. The salt crust covers about 50 square miles, but the extent varies yearly as a result of salt being dissolved by the formation and movement of surface ponds during the winter and redeposited with the evaporation of these ponds during the summer.
A decrease in thickness and extent of the salt crust on the Bonneville Salt Flats has been documented during 1960-88 (S. Brooks, Bureau of Land Management, written commun., 1989). Maximum salt-crust thickness was 7 feet in 1960 and 5.5 feet in 1988. No definitive data are available to identify and quantify the processes that cause salt loss. More than 55 million tons of salt are estimated to have been lost from the salt crust during the 28-year period. The Bureau of Land Management needs to know the causes of salt loss to make appropriate management decisions.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Investigation of Salt Loss from the Bonneville Salt Flats, Northwestern Utah