How many islands are in Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake has islands from small to large, from one corner of the lake to the other. But how many islands are there? The question is not as straightforward as one might think. Although there are 17 officially named islands, answers to the question typically range from zero to 15.

It All Depends. . .

Great Salt Lake is in a closed basin, an area without any drainage outlet. The elevation of the lake’s surface changes continually, reflecting changes in weather and climate; heavy precipitation and low evaporation rates cause the lake level to rise, whereas drought and heat will result in a declining lake level. The lake level can change 2-plus feet a year, and because the basin floor slopes very gently, the shoreline advance or retreat can be a mile or more in certain areas.

Great Salt Lake’s ups and downs have exceeded a 20-foot range in historical times. At high lake levels some islands submerge and new ones are created by the water enclosing higher topography. At low lake levels new islands emerge and some adjacent islands merge with each other or with the mainland.