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Great Salt Lake is located on a shallow playa. Consequently, small changes in the water-surface elevation result in large changes in the surface area of the lake. This is particularly evident when the lake spills into the west desert at an elevation of about 4215 feet, greatly increasing its area. The satellite imagery shows changes in the area of the lake from 1972, through the high-runoff period of 1983-87, and ending in 1996. At the historic average (1847-1986) surface elevation of 4,200 feet (1975 is an "average year" shown in the images), the lake covers an area of about 1,700 square miles. At the historic low elevation of 4,191.35 in 1963, the lake covered only 950 square miles. The drop of about 8.5 feet in elevation resulted in a loss of about 44 percent in surface area. During 1986 and again in 1987, the lake reached an elevation of 4,211.6 feet and had a surface area of about 3,300 square miles. The relation between water-surface elevation and corresponding surface area and volume of the lake is shown on an elevation-area-volume curve, also called a hypsographic curve (from the Greek, hypsos, meaning height)...........Great Salt Lake (GSL) is:..The largest U.S. lake west of the Mississippi River ..The 4th largest terminal lake (no outlet) in the world ..A remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric freshwater lake that was 10 times larger than GSL ..About 75 miles long, and 28 miles wide, and covers 1,700 square miles ..Has a maximum depth of about 35 feet ..Typically 3 to 5 times saltier than the ocean ..Fish free, the largest aquatic critters are brine shrimp and brine flies ..One of the largest migratory bird magnets in Western North America accessed, the Wasatch Range offers some of the state's best outdoor opportunities -- rock climbing and skiing in the Cottonwood Canyons, beautiful peaks, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Wasatch Range is a mountain range that stretches