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“America’s Dead Sea”: the Great Salt Lake

41.1N 112.6W

May 18th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Great Salt Lake, USA - May 17th, 2009

Great Salt Lake, USA - May 17th, 2009

The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere. 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.

The Great Salt Lake is endorheic (meaning it has no outlet besides evaporation) and has very high salinity, far saltier than sea water.

Here, the lake appears divided into two sections by a straight line with dark green water above and light green water below. This is because a railroad line—the Lucin Cutoff—runs across the lake; the mostly-solid causeway supporting the railway divides the lake into three portions: the northeast arm, northwest arm, and southern.

This causeway prevents the normal mixing of the waters of the lake due to the fact that there are only three 100-foot (30 m) breaches. Because there are no rivers  flowing directly into the northwest arm, Gunnison Bay, that section is now substantially saltier than the rest of the lake.

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