Visualizing the Extent of Prehistoric Lake Bonneville

The Map of the Week for November 13th examines the physical extent of the prehistoric pluvial lake known as Lake Bonneville, which covered most of the Utah territory until approximately 14,500 years ago. Through this interactive application, viewers have the opportunity to examine the depth and extent of Lake Bonneville 3-dimensionally in comparison to features and locations found today. #MapMonday

Visualizing the Extent of Prehistoric Lake Bonneville

Lake Bonneville was a prehistoric pluvial lake that formed approximately 32,000 years ago and existing until approximately 14,500 years ago. The massive water body (approximately 32,000 square miles) covered most of the Utah territory with depths in areas measuring more than 1,000 feet. Lake Bonneville was the result of low temperatures, decreased evaporation, and high precipitation throughout the region; however, it was susceptible to climate change and is believed to have evaporated and reformed up to 28 times over an 800,000 year period.

Approximately 14,500 years ago, a catastrophic flood took place at the natural dam structure known as Red Rock Pass. Increasing water levels and seepage at the dam resulted in structural collapse, producing a 410-foot wall of water spread throughout the Portneuf River Valley and into adjacent valleys along the path. Many geological features found in the flood path are the result of this catastrophic event, believed to be the second largest in known geologic history. Today, we find remnants of prehistoric Lake Bonneville in the forms of the Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, and Sevier Lake with indications of the shoreline extent along the Wasatch Front.

About Map of the Weeks from GIS Services:

Throughout the semester, GIS Services will continue releasing bi-weekly maps on a variety of topics for the purpose of demonstrating ideas and uses for incorporating geospatial technology into research and projects you are developing. To view our collection of maps, projects or to learn about the geospatial services offered through the Marriott Library, please visit the GIS Services website @ www.lib.utah.edu/services/geospatial

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services
justin.sorensen@utah.edu
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