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Great Salt Lake, Utah

Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4189

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Abstract

This document is intended as a source of general information and facts about Great Salt Lake, Utah. This U.S. Geological Survey information sheet answers frequently asked questions about Great Salt Lake. Topics include: History, salinity, brine shrimp, brine flies, migratory birds, and recreation. Great Salt Lake, the shrunken remnant of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, has no outlet. Dissolved salts accumulate in the lake by evaporation. Salinity south of the causeway has ranged from 6 percent to 27 percent over a period of 22 years (2 to 7 times saltier than the ocean). The high salinity supports a mineral industry that extracts about 2 million tons of salt from the lake each year. The aquatic ecosystem consists of more than 30 species of organisms. Harvest of its best-known species, the brine shrimp, annually supplies millions of pounds of food for the aquaculture industry worldwide. The lake is used extensively by millions of migratory and nesting birds and is a place of solitude for people. All this occurs in a lake that is located at the bottom of a 35,000-square-mile drainage basin that has a human population of more than 1.5 million.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Great Salt Lake, Utah
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
99-4189
Edition:
Version 2.0
Year Published:
1999
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Utah Water Science Center
Description:
4 p.