Great Salt Lake Desert


Great Salt Lake Desert

The Great Salt Lake Desert is a large playa in northern Utah, located west of the Great Salt Lake. It is an arid region extending west from the Great Salt Lake to the Nevada border. It covers an area of 4,000 square miles (10,360 km²).

The sand there is white due to the high concentration of salt in the soil. The salt comes mainly from evaporite deposits left by the extinct Lake Bonneville, of which only the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake remain. Several small mountain ranges crisscross through and along the edges of the desert, such as the Cedar Mountains, Lakeside Mountains, Silver Island Mountains, Hogup Mountains, and Newfoundland Mountains. On the western edge of the desert, just across the border with Nevada, stands Pilot Peak.

The Great Salt Lake Desert is perhaps most historically significant as the location of much of Hastings Cutoff, an alternative wagon route for westward emigration to California promoted in the 1840s. Difficulties experienced by the Donner Party in making the 130 km (80 mile) crossing of this region in 1846 contributed to their becoming snowbound in the Sierra Nevada later that year.

A large portion of the desert is used by the military. A section of Hill Air Force Base is to the north and the Wendover Gunnery Range and Dugway Proving Grounds are to the south. A large section of the desert is still accessible though, where I-80 (which replaced the Wendover Cut-off) crosses the desert. The interstate runs exactly east-west and is dead straight for almost 50 miles, between the Cedar Mountains to the east and Wendover on the Utah/Nevada border. The Bonneville Salt Flats have a race track that was the location for land speed records set during the 50s, 60s and 70s. The desert is also home to the Skull Valley Indian Reservation.

The only significant settlements in the desert are Wendover and Dugway, with only about 1,500 residents each.

Certain unusual plants can be found there, having adapted to the harsh conditions. The desert is hot during the summer and cool during the winter. It is warmer than the rest of northern Utah but is cooler than most of the south. Most of the desert receives less than 8 in (20 cm) of precipitation annually.

This region was the site of many unusual experiments made by Dr. Thomas Henry Moray.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Great Salt Lake Desert — Dieser Artikel befasst sich mit der Großen Salzwüste in Utah. Siehe auch: Große Salzwüste (Iran) Große Salzwüste Die Große Salzwüste (engl. Great Salt Lake Desert) bezeichnet eine Region westlich des Großen Salzsees im nördlichen Teil des US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Great Salt Lake Desert — Sp Didžiojo Drùskos Ẽžero dykumà Ap Great Salt Lake Desert L JAV (Juta) …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Great Salt Lake Desert — Great′ Salt Lake′ Des′ert n. geg an arid region in NW Utah, extending W from the Great Salt Lake to the Nevada border. 110 mi. (177 km) long; ab. 4000 sq. mi. (10,360 sq. km) …   From formal English to slang

  • Great Salt Lake Desert — an arid region in NW Utah, extending W from the Great Salt Lake to the Nevada border. 110 mi. (177 km) long; ab. 4000 sq. mi. (10,360 sq. km). * * * …   Universalium

  • Great Salt Lake Desert — an arid region in NW Utah, extending W from the Great Salt Lake to the Nevada border. 110 mi. (177 km) long; ab. 4000 sq. mi. (10,360 sq. km) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Great Salt Lake Desert — geographical name flat barren region NW Utah …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Great Salt Lake — a shallow salt lake in NW Utah. 2300 sq. mi. (5950 sq. km); 80 mi. (130 km) long; maximum depth 60 ft. (18 m). * * * Lake, northern Utah, U.S. It is the largest inland body of salt water in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most saline in the …   Universalium

  • Great Salt Lake — Infobox lake lake name = Great Salt Lake image lake = Great Salt Lake ISS 2003.jpg caption lake = Satellite photo in summer 2003 after five years of drought, reaching near record lows. image bathymetry = caption bathymetry = location = Utah,… …   Wikipedia

  • Great Salt Lake — Grand Lac Salé Grand Lac Salé Le lac lors de la sécheresse de 2003. Administration Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • (the) Great Salt Lake — the Great Salt Lake [the Great Salt Lake] a large shallow lake in the US state of ↑Utah whose water is more salty than sea water. It is the largest salt lake in North America, about 72 miles/116 kilometres long and 30 miles/48 kilometres wide.… …   Useful english dictionary


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