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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Effect of Wasatch Range Snow Melt

I'm supposed to give a lecture on Spiral Jetty in a few weeks, and I've recently been putting my slides together. While doing this, I had been wondering about the current water level at the site. I had actually planned to post a query later this week to see if anyone had been out to the work recently and could provide the information.

Before I even had a chance to publish the post, I got my answer. On Monday Don Hamlin e-mailed me a few photos from his visit to Spiral Jetty last Saturday. I was surprised by what he saw.

Compare this to the photos from my visit last August. What a difference. And I heard that the waterline was significantly farther out from the shoreline by fall. All of that salt flat has now been reclaimed as run off from the snow melt has noticeably raised the level of the Great Salt Lake.

But, on second thought, maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. This photo, taken at approximately this time last year, shows roughly the same (perhaps slightly lower) water level at the site as we see this year.

It's interesting to see the variability over the course of a year. It makes me wonder if the same thing was happening in the years immediately after Smithson completed the work.

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