Reflections on the Southern Wasatch Mountains

May 31, 2022


Photographer: Ray Boren

Summary Author: Ray Boren

A rural pond mirrors the majestic southern peaks of the Wasatch Mountains in this photograph, taken on March 11, 2022, a mild day poised between winter and spring. The pasture lands, just south of Utah Lake, are wet but mostly free of snow. Conversely, fresh snow blankets the mountains and their alluvial slopes almost down to the Utah Valley floor.

The Wasatch Range, a western outlier of the Rocky Mountains, is often called “the spine of Utah,” because it extends north and south through the middle of the state. The mountains stretch about 250 miles (402 km) from near the Utah-Idaho border to terminate on the south at Mount Nebo, the peak shown to the right in this photograph. It is the range’s highest in elevation, at 11,933 feet (3,637 m.) above sea level. Other prominent summits pictured are Loafer Mountain, dominating to the left, and Dry Mountain. The southern Wasatch, a product of the Laramide Orogeny and the Wasatch Fault, include sedimentary, volcanic and metamorphic rocks and strata from the Precambrian, Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.

The pond is fed by runoff from winter precipitation and offers a lovely example the law of reflection. Specifically visible in the photo above is specular reflection, which occurs when rays of light bounce off the clear, calm water to produce a mirror-like, albeit inverted, image.


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