Photographs of the Great Salt Lake. Located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere, the fourth-largest terminal lake in the world, and the 37th-largest lake on Earth. In an average year the lake covers an area of around 1,700 square miles, but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. The lake is the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a pluvial lake which covered much of western Utah in prehistoric times. The Great Salt Lake is endorheic (has no outlet besides evaporation) and has very high salinity, far saltier than sea water. The Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers (the three major tributaries) deposit around 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year, and since water is constantly being evaporated, the concentration of minerals increases further. The lake's shallow, warm waters cause frequent, sometimes heavy lake-effect snows during late fall, early winter, and spring. Although it has been called "America's Dead Sea", the lake provides habitat for millions of native birds, brine shrimp, shorebirds, and waterfowl, including the largest staging population of Wilson's Phalarope in the world.
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