BYU study links shrinking Great Salt Lake, other vanishing water bodies to 90% of northern Utah’s dust

11 December 2019 Published in News & Events

By Brian Maffly, Salt Lake Tribune

Upwind from northern Utah’s urban centers is a network of lakebeds, dried-up remnants of a vast prehistoric inland sea that dominated the region when the climate was much wetter and cooler that it is today.

Now, as western Utah becomes even drier — from drought, water diversions and climate change — these playas have become a major source of dust settling on Wasatch Front cities and their mountain water sources, according to new research conducted by Brigham Young University geologists.

Led by geology professor Greg Carling, the study concluded 90% of the dust is blown off the exposed beds of the shrinking Great Salt Lake, Sevier Lake and other valley bottoms once covered by ancient Lake Bonneville.

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