Great Salt Lake

views updated May 21 2018


GREAT SALT LAKE in northwestern Utah is relatively shallow (about 35 feet), and its size (about 2,000

square miles) and salinity fluctuate widely with precipitation patterns. The fur trader James Bridger visited the lake in December 1824, becoming the first documented non-Native to do so, though another fur trapper, Etienne Provost, may have visited two months earlier. Native peoples had lived in the area for at least 10,000 years. Sho-shone and Ute Indian territories overlapped on the eastern shore. John C. Frémont explored the lake in 1843, followed by Howard Stansbury in 1849–1850. Salt, magnesium, and chlorine are extracted commercially. The lake is an important stopover for migratory birds.


Madsen, Brigham D., ed. Exploring the Great Salt Lake: The Stansbury Expedition of 1849–1850. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1989.

Morgan, Dale L. The Great Salt Lake. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1986. Original edition was published in 1947.

Stum, Marlin. Visions of Antelope Island and Great Salt Lake. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999.

Steven M.Fountain

See alsoUtah ; andvol. 9:An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah .

Great Salt Lake

views updated May 17 2018

Great Salt Lake Large, shallow saltwater lake in nw Utah, USA. Fed by the Bear, Weber, and Jordan rivers, its depth and area vary with climatic changes. The heavy brine supports only shrimp and algae. It is the remnant of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which covered much of the Great Basin of North America. Bonneville Salt Flats, famous for land speed records, lies in the Great Salt Desert. Area: varies from c.2500sq km (960sq mi) to c.6200sq km (2400sq mi).