Post 24 - Along Utah's Historic US Route 40
A remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville, Utah's Great Salt Lake has been called America's Dead Sea. Lake Bonneville was larger than modern day Lake Michigan and much deeper. 14,500 years ago lava flows diverted water into the lake and caused Lake Bonneville to fill to the point it overflowed a natural dam at Red Rock Pass, Idaho. This caused rapid erosion at the pass and caused Lake Bonneville's water level to drop hundreds of feet. At its peak the Bonneville flood discharge moved the equivalent of three Amazon Rivers at an average of sixteen miles per hour. The water reached the Snake River, the Columbia River, and finally the Pacific. The flood left Salt Lake and some other Utah Lakes behind where Lake Bonneville had been. Europeans discovered Great Salt Lake around 1776. The 8th largest lake in the world, it covers 1700 square miles. Viewed from space the lake is often two different colors due to the inability of the lake's water to mix. This oddity is caused Lucin Cutoff, a railroad causeway built across the lake by Southern Pacific in 1904. The Lucin Cutoff bypassed Promontory Summit, site of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869.
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