Spiral Jetty and Great Salt Lake

July 04, 2010


Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

As shown above, nature and art merge on the remote northern shores of Utah's Great Salt Lake. Forty years ago the groundbreaking landscape artist Robert Smithson created his masterwork, "Spiral Jetty," at Rozel Point, about 15 mi (24 km) from where America's first Transcontinental Railroad was completed with a Golden Spike ceremony in 1869. Smithson chose the site because the shallow, warm, salty water of this terminal Great Basin lake is home to bacteria and algae which tint the water red. This red-white-and-blue image shows the 1,500 ft (457 m) jetty coiling toward Great Salt Lake. It's a bit stranded on the white-appearing shore (actually mud), with red-tinted water just beyond its edge and deeper and bluer lake water farther out. Although "Spiral Jetty" has been thoroughly exposed to varying degrees in recent years, it has been swamped by high lake levels for most of its history, visible only as a shadow as seen from the air. Photo taken on August 26, 2009.

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 70.0mm; Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0040 s (1/250); ISO equiv: 100.