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Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats, USA

40.7N 111.8W

May 14th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

USA - May 1st, 2011

This image shows the Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah. Salt Lake City and its suburbs are located to the southeast and east of the lake, while the Bonneville Salt Flats lie to the west.

It is the largest salt water 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.

A railroad line — the Lucin Cutoff — runs across the lake, crossing the southern end of Promontory Peninsula. 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. This is why in this image the northern half of the lake appears much darker than the southern half.

Evaporation Ponds of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA – June 6th, 2009

41.1N 112.6W

June 6th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA - June 2nd, 2009

Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA - June 2nd, 2009

Evaporation ponds, northeast

Evaporation ponds, northeast

Evaporation ponds, southwest

Evaporation ponds, southwest

The Great Salt Lake in northern Utah, USA, is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere, famous for its very high salinity that makes its water far saltier than that of the sea.

Salt Lake City and its suburbs are located to the southeast and east of the lake, between the lake and the Wasatch Mountains, but land around the north and west shores is almost uninhabited.

Of particular interest in this ASAR image are the salt evaporation ponds on the northeastern and southwestern parts of the lake. Salt evaporation ponds are shallow man-made ponds designed to produce salts from sea water, or in this case, highly saline lake water.

The salty water is fed into large ponds and water is drawn out through natural evaporation, which allows the salt to be subsequently harvested.  The ponds are commonly separated by levees, which are visible here as white lines across the black water.

The close-up of the southwestern area shows evaporation ponds between the shoreline of Lakeside Valley (left) and Stansbury Island (right). The two mountain ranges visible are the similarly named Lakeside Mountains (left) and the Stansbury Mountains (bottom). The various mountain ranges seen here are very sharp and detailed, as the image has been orthorectified.

The other close-up focuses on the evaporation ponds in the northeastern area, between Bear River Bay (left) and Willard Bay (right).  The mountain range jutting into the lake is called the Promontory Mountains, with Fremont Island below. The long, white long stretching from the mainland, crossing the southern end of Promontory Peninsula, and then heading westward, is a railway line on a long causeway called the Lucin Cutoff.

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