Bonneville Salt Flats

June 13, 2006


Provided and copyright by: John Stetson
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; John Stetson

The photo above shows two ephemeral pools of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Nevada/Utah as well as remnant salts from Lake Bonneville, which once covering this region. During the summer of 2002, my sons and I crossed the country from San Francisco, California to Rye Beach, New Hampshire by bicycle. What my sons found most interesting about the trip was the geology of Nevada and Utah. On our tenth day of the 52-day ride, we rode from Wendover, Nevada to Salt Lake City (122 miles or 195 km). It would have been a much easier ride without the head-wind and the fact that I kept stopping to take pictures.

Wind and water combine to create the near level surface of salt flats. Each winter, a shallow layer of standing water floods the surface. During spring and summer, this water slowly evaporates and persistent winds act to smooth the surface. The salts are actually composed of potassium, magnesium lithium, and sodium chloride (common table salt). Photo taken on June 19, 2002.

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