Dec 272016

Long ago, what is now the Great Salt Lake in Utah was much, much greater, stretching north of the Idaho border. But about 14,500 years ago, a natural dam broke loose at the north end and the lake spilled out, and through drainage and drought over 500 years it receded to more or less what we see today.

The former extent of Lake Bonneville can still be easily seen around here in the form of the level “benches” several hundred feet up on the sides of hills and mountains. The uppermost bench is about a thousand feet high.

Yesterday morning weather conditions were such that from certain vantage points the lake almost seemed to return. The temperature was around 15 degrees, and a vast fog formed in the region; down in the valley it was just an obscuring mist, but if you went up a few hundred feet on the local hills you could see the fog from above. Not a perfect match for what the lake must have looked like, of course, but still, quite a thing to see.


This is looking east towards Tremonton, Brigham City and the Wasatch Mountains from just west of Thatcher.

 Posted by at 11:36 pm
  • sferrin

    If Lake Bonneville was still around this whole area (the parts not underwater anyway) would be beachfront property. I wonder if it were more than sagebrush and scrub or if there were actual forests around. I’d think that much fresh water would definitely have a greening effect on the landscape.

  • Paul451

    Heh. Spent way too long trying to work out why the rest of the landscape was white…

    (Just turned my air-con off for the first time in several days. It’s cooled off since the 40C of boxing day, but it’s been ridiculously humid ever since.)