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Utah Geological Survey Releases Second Edition of ‘Commonly Asked Questions about Great Salt Lake’

SALT LAKE CITY (Nov 21, 2022) – Did you know the Bonneville Salt Flats that extend west of Great Salt Lake to the Utah-Nevada border are dubbed the “flattest place on Earth?” Why is Great Salt Lake two colors, blue and red? Find answers and interesting facts in the second edition of ‘Commonly Asked Questions about Great Salt Lake and Ancient Lake Bonneville’ released by the Utah Geological Survey.

More than a quarter-century after the first edition, the second edition discusses the challenges and changes facing Great Salt Lake, including drought and impacts on wildlife and recreation. The booklet also includes why Great Salt Lake is salty, the history of ancient Lake Bonneville (which was not salty), and other informative details.

When the original booklet was published in 1996, Great Salt Lake was at levels above the historical average. Since then, much of the character of the lake has changed. In October 2021, the lake reached its lowest surface elevation since records began in 1847. This 2021 low-level record was broken less than a year later in early July 2022. Levels continued to decline until mid-October when temperatures dropped, fall storms moved in and irrigation concluded for the season.

“Great Salt Lake is a Utah icon and receives thousands of visitors yearly,” said UGS Geologist and booklet co-author Jim Davis. “The ever-changing lake is a part of Utahn’s identity and is considered a ‘must-see’ for visitors to the state. This booklet educates visitors on the importance of the lake and provides answers to questions frequently asked.”

The hard copy booklet is available for $8.50 at the Natural Resources Map & Bookstore.

A PDF can be viewed online at: