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History of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The Bonneville Salt Flats of the western Great Salt Lake Desert were formed through the evaporation of the Pleistocene-era Lake Bonneville. The salt flats are actually the bed of that once massive lake which rivaled in size present Lake Michigan. The flats are composed mainly of potash salts ranging in thickness from less than one inch to six feet.

In 1827, trapper, trader, explorer, and frontiersman Jedediah Smith was perhaps the first white man to cross the salt flats in 1827 while returning from his first expedition to California. Six years later, Joseph Reddeford Walker, another trapper, mapped and explored the areas around the Great Salt Lake and crossed the northern perimeter of the flats while in the employ of Captain Benjamin L. E. Bonneville. It is from Benjamin Bonneville that the salt flats and prehistoric lake derive their name, although it is unlikely that Bonneville himself ever saw the flats.


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