Great Salt Lake

salt lake in Utah, United States

The Great Salt Lake[1] is a very large saltwater lake in the United States. It is in the state of Utah. It is an endorheic lake, meaning that the water in it does not flow to the ocean. It is one of the biggest endorheic lakes in the world. The lake is in the Great Basin, a large area of desert terrain covering parts of the states of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, California, and Arizona. It is many times saltier than the average of the world's oceans.[2]

Great Salt Lake
Satellite photo from August 2003 after five years of drought, reaching near-record lows. Note the difference in colors between the Northern and Southern portions of the lake, the result of a railroad causeway.
LocationUtah, United States
Coordinates41°10′N 112°35′W / 41.167°N 112.583°W / 41.167; -112.583
TypeEndorheic, hypersaline, generally 27% salinity
Primary inflowsBear, Jordan, Weber rivers
Catchment area21,500 sq mi (56,000 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length75 mi (121 km)
Max. width28 mi (45 km)
Surface area1,700 sq mi (4,400 km2)
Average depth16 ft (4.9 m), when lake is at average level
Max. depth33 ft (10 m) average, high of 45 ft (14 m) in 1987, low of 24 ft (7.3 m) in 1963
Water volume15,338,693.6 acre⋅ft (18.92 km3)
Surface elevationhistorical average of 4,200 ft (1,300 m), 4,196.6 ft (1,279.1 m) as of 2006 August 24
Islands8-15 (variable, see Islands)
SettlementsSalt Lake and Ogden metropolitan areas.

The lake is about 75 miles (121 km) long and 28 miles (45 km) wide. Its surface area averages 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2), but because of its desert location, its size changes very often. The three major rivers that flow into it are the Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers. Because of its similarity to the Dead Sea in Asia, it has been called "America's Dead Sea".[3] However, the lake is a rich habitat for many species of birds, shrimp, and other animals.

The lakeshore borders Davis, Tooele, Box Elder, Salt Lake, and Weber counties, all in the state of Utah.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "USGS GNIS Detail:Great Salt Lake". Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  2. "The Great Salt Lake Information Sheet" (PDF). Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, U.S. Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  3. "Great Salt Lake- a lively recreational jewel". Deseret News. Archived from the original on 2006-03-21. Retrieved 2009-04-01.

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