USGS - science for a changing world

Utah Water Science Center


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USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.

There is a USGS Water Science Center office in each State. Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Colorado Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Pennsylvania West Virginia Georgia Florida Caribbean Alaska Hawaii New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts South Carolina North Carolina Rhode Island Virginia Connecticut New Jersey Maryland-Delaware-D.C.

Great Salt Lake
Changing size of Great Salt Lake

Differences in coloration of the false-color infrared imagery in the satellite image map are due to physical, chemical, and biological factors. Terrestrial vegetation appears as bright red throughout the mountains and as well-defined patches in urban areas to the east of the lake. The white coloration adjacent to the lake on the north and west represents reflection from open salt-flat areas. Light blue coloration in shorelines and ponds on the east and west side of the lake is due to shallow water areas such as ponds constructed for salt extraction. The sharp line extending east and west across the middle of the lake is the railroad causeway that separates the lake into Gunnison Bay to the north and Gilbert Bay to the south. The difference in coloration of each bay is due to Gunnison Bay having much greater salt content that changes the reflection and supports several species of extreme halophyllic bacteria. Gilbert Bay is less saline and is characterized by several species of algae that reflect differently depending on the salinity. The differences are very prominent in the image for July 1993. At this time, the salinity in Gunnison Bay was 27.5 percent and Gilbert Bay salinity was only 14.5 percent.

Video images courtesy of Utah Reclamation, Mitigation, and Conservation Commission.

Video is in QuickTime format and must be installed to view video.

Elevations for dates shown in the movie:

08/1972 — 4,198.4 feet
06/1975 — 4,201.5 feet
06/1984 — 4,208.9 feet
09/1987 — 4,209.6 feet
09/1990 — 4,202.4 feet
07/1993 — 4,201.2 feet
06/1996 — 4,200.8 feet

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 10-Jan-2013 12:01:28 EST