Great Salt Lake in northern Utah Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah, which is often referred to as America’s Dead Sea, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.
The Great Salt Lake is the biggest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere. It is also the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric freshwater lake that once covered much of western Utah.
The Bear, Weber, and Jordan Rivers collectively deposit around one million tons of minerals in the lake each year, according to the ESA. The Great Salt Lake has no outlet, and its water level fluctuate depending on the flow of the rivers that feed it, as well as on rates of evaporation.
The turquoise colors visible on both sides of the lake are evaporation ponds. The shoreline consists of beaches, marshes, and mudflats, which provide valuable habitats for millions of native and migratory birds. The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of approximately 1,700 square miles (4,400 km ), but the lake’s size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. For instance, in 1963 it reached its lowest recorded size at 950 square miles (2,460 km²), but in 1988 the surface area was at the historic high of 3,300 square miles (8,500 km ). In terms of surface area, it is the largest lake in the United States that is not part of the Great Lakes region. The lake is the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric pluvial lake that once covered much of western Utah. The three major tributaries to the lake, the Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers together deposit approximately 1.1 million tons of minerals
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory