The Gilbert Episode in The Great Salt Lake Basin, Utah

By: Charles G. Oviatt

This 20-page report summarizes observations of sediments and shorelines of the Gilbert episode in the Bonneville basin of northwestern Utah. Lake Bonneville dropped to altitudes similar to those of modern Great Salt Lake by 13,000 years ago, remained low for about 1400 years, then rapidly rose about 50 ft (15 m) during the Gilbert episode (about 11,600 years ago). The Gilbert lake was probably less extensive than shown by previous mapping of the Gilbert shoreline. The lake reached altitudes of 4250-4255 ft (1295-1297 m), and its shoreline, which is not well defined anywhere in the basin, was probably not deformed by residual isostatic rebound associated with removal of the Lake Bonneville water load. Holocene Great Salt Lake has not risen as high as the Gilbert-episode lake.