Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Great Salt Lake is Great Again




What a difference 30 months can make in nature!
Back in September 2008, my son, Taylor, and I walked to Fremont Island in the Great Salt Lake on a legendary sandbar that is only dry when the lake level is low.
The elevation of the Great Salt Lake was about 4,194.2 feet back in Sept. 2008, when we walked almost seven miles on dry ground to Fremont Island, from the Antelope Island Causeway.
Today, June 21, 2011, the elevation of the Great Salt Lake is 4,198.4 feet above sea level and still rising fast.
That means that the lake's water level has risen more than 4 feet in those 30 months.
So, in the accompanying photographs, the scene has changed a lot.
For example, in the picture where Taylor is standing next to a dry water buoy in the sandy bay on the southeast side of Fremont Island, the water now reaches some 4 feet up and Taylor would be standing at chest level in water now.
Another photo shows Taylor inspecting the dry lake bed, while the third shows how the sandbar appears looking from the edge of Fremont Island.
The sandbar is totally under 4 feet of water now.
It was dry in 2004, on and off, until sometime in 2010.
It had not been above water since about 1966 otherwise.
That sandbar is huge, some 1,000 yards wide in places.
It will reappear one day again, but that could be another three or four decades again, as the Great Salt Lake has its cycles in elevation.
In fact, a late Weber State University business professor studied the graphs of the Great Salt Lake's elevation changes in the early 1990s and concluded they appeared just like the ups and downs in the stock market.
And, they are just as unpredictable.

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