Showing posts with label GSL in 3D. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GSL in 3D. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Great Salt Lake in 3d Part 7 Lakeside

The drive to Lakeside began before 5:00 AM. I wasn't sure how long it would take since much of the drive would be on dirt roads, and I wanted to be there to photograph the sunrise.

With an hour or so before sunrise, we took exit 62 off of Interstate 80 and found, not a dirt road, but one of the smoothest and best maintained roads I have ever driven... and there was no one else there. Apparently, this area wasn't a popular destination for Labor Day weekend travelers.

The moon didn't offer any assistance as the nicely groomed road continued north for almost 20 miles. The darkness made it somewhat difficult to navigate. 

Suddenly, the road came to an abrupt end and we found ourselves under bright lights at the gate of a top secret military installation. We examined the map and discovered that we had failed to make a right turn a couple of miles back. We turned the car around and backtracked without incident. 

The rest of the drive took place on a well maintained dirt road and we arrived in time to make our way out onto the causeway that crosses the Great Salt Lake before the sun painted the sky... and everything else.

3D shot of Transcontinental RR Great Salt Lake Causeway looking East from Lakeside moments before sunrise. 
Sun rising over the Promontory Mountains looking East from Lakeside Station on the Transcontinental RR causeway.

3D - On the Transcontinental RR Great Salt Lake Causeway at Lakeside Station looking West

3D - Lakeside Station

Lakeside Station
Not much happens at Lakeside Station except for the occasional passing train, and the numerous birds who thrive in this harsh environment.
A Union pacific train heading East across the Great Salt Lake Causeway.

Looking Northwest toward the Hogup Mountains
John Williams Gunnison was second in command of Howard Stansbury's surveyor expedition that began mapping this region in 1849. Gunnison, and his team of surveyors were massacred by a band of Indians in 1853. Gunnison Island, one of the loneliest Islands on the Great Salt Lake, bears his name.
Looking North - Gunnison Island..

3D - Salt

3D - receding lake has left behind eroded barricades.

After leaving the causeway, we headed up to the top of Lakeside Butte, (about 450' above the Great Salt Lake level), for a great view of the region. 

Causeway crossing the Great Salt Lake looking East

In 1904, the Lucin cutoff shaved off 44 miles from the old Historic Transcontinental RR route around the Great Salt Lake. The causeway across the Great Salt Lake has physically divided the  lake and has drastically changed the saline levels of each side. The north part of the lake is now much more saline and the algae gives the water a reddish hue.

Transcontinental RR looking West toward Lucin, UT - about 160 miles away. 

3D - sign at the UTTR, (Utah Training and Test Range), on the Puddle Valley Highway on the way to Lakeside, UT. A Declared Public Right of Way even though the "ROAD CLOSED" signs would make you think otherwise.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Great Salt Lake in 3D Part 6 Surveying the Stansbury Mountains

In 1981, I temporarily worked for the United States Geological Survey as part of a project to update the map of the Stansbury Mountain Range and part of the valleys on each side. I spent the entire summer locating and documenting old survey monuments, mines, roads, structures and etc. 

One of the most memorable aspects of the job was the day we carried building materials to the top of one of the mountain peaks on the north end of the Stansbury Range. 
There, at an elevation of 5570' above sea level, we constructed a large sighting target directly over an official USGS triangulation Station.* The 10' tall target could be viewed from numerous other locations throughout our vast project area. 

Now, thirty-three years later I climbed to the top of the Stansbury Mountains and returned to the triangulation station. This is something I've planned for some time. I pored over maps and aerial photos to determine the best route up the rugged mountain. There are no trails, and the closest road ends at the base of the mountain.
3D photo of the peaks on the north end of the Stansbury Mountain Range looking NW across the north end of Skull Valley. Black Mountain is visible in the distance. 

I began my ascent early in the morning while it was still dark. When the sun finally peeked over the Oquirrh Mountains, on the other side of the Tooele Valley, I took refuge out of the cold wind in a rocky nook where I soaked in the solar warmth and ate my pre-prepared meal of bison. The view was spectacular.
When I reached the the triangulation station, I found the target broken and laying on the ground. A broken cross-section was still in place and the pile of rocks that we used to secure the wooden ten-foot tall 2x4 were still there but somewhat displaced. 
Over time, the guy wire we had used to secure the target had rusted and failed. Rust stains have become a permanent part of a large anchor that still had some thirty three year old guy wire wrapped around it. 

3D photo of dilapidated triangulation target looking west across Skull Valley.

I took the liberty of standing the old dilapidated target up by wedging the ten foot long 2x4 betwixt some large rocks. It isn't anchored with guy wire this time and probably won't last through the winter, but for now it can be seen from many miles away.
3D photo from top of Stansbury Mountains looking NW toward Stansbury Island on the Great Salt Lake.

The Stansbury Mountains are named for their original surveyor, Major Howard Stansbury, (1806-1863). 

US Interstate 80 crossing the alkali flats of the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, a few miles north of Grantsville.

Stansbury, and his party of surveyors, are credited with the first official survey of the Great Salt Lake from 1849 to 1851. He was the first person to determine that the Great Salt Lake is actually a remnant of a greater ancient lake that he called Lake Bonneville.

3D photo of Lone Rock in Skull Valley looking west from the top of the Stansbury Mountains.

Lone Rock** in Skull Valley, another important triangulation point, is an interesting and unusual rock formation that has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 
Salt plant on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake where State Highway 196/Skull Valley Rd intersects US Interstate 80. Black Mountain in the distance.

Salt production is an obvious industry on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. There are also billions of Sea Monkeys out there. 

Other important resources are extracted from the mineral-rich lake including magnesium at US Mag and even nutritional supplements in the form of trace minerals at Trace Minerals Research.

3D photo from the top of the Stansbury Mountains looking west across Skull Valley.
3D photo of 3D camera apparatus.

Major Stansbury's legacy lives on in the island and mountains that claim his name, and the monuments that he erected on mountain peaks and valleys around the Great Salt Lake.

* The Triangulation Station is located at approximately 
40° 43' 39.30" N
112° 37' 53.80" W
These coordinates are not official USGS coordinates, but are accurate within seconds. 

** Lone Rock Coordinates 
40° 42' 32" N
112° 41' 04" W

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Great Salt Lake in 3D Part 5 - From Above

The Great Salt Lake can be explored by driving, riding, hiking and boating but the best way to experience the dynamics of the lake may be from above. 
The above 3d photo of the Great Salt Lake area is provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (courtesy of US tax dollars). 
Looking west, the above photo depicts the southern most tips of Antelope Island and Stansbury Island; two of the largest islands on the Great Salt Lake. In the foreground is the swampland that is located to the east of Antelope Island. Stansbury Island can be seen in the background at the top of the photo. 
The colorful swampland of the Great Salt Lake is amazingly beautiful and can be best appreciated from above. 
Above - the southernmost shore of the Great Salt Lake. US Interstate 80, a major corridor for east-west interstate transit is traveled by millions of people every year. Tooele Valley is shown nestled at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains. 
Rio Tinto's 12,000 foot tall smoke stack is an easy landmark to spot from the ground and from the air. The Great Salt Lake Marina is also visible in this photo, as is US Interstate 80 and Highway 201 at the northernmost point of the Oquirrh Mountains. 
Antelope Island State Park is home to a large variety of wildlife including a Bison herd. The island can be accessed by automobile and is enjoyed by thousands of tourists annually. 
Google Earth is a new and fun way to explore the Great Salt Lake area. Sometimes images appear distorted, like in this image of the Rio Tinto smoke stack. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Great Salt Lake in 3D Part 4 - the Spiral Jetty

This post is the fourth in a series of articles exploring Utah's inland sea. When you see two similar images side-by-side, the photos can be viewed in 3D by gently crossing the eyes until both images become one. It's EZ to see 3D. 

Symbols are powerful things. In the past century, the Northern region of the Great Salt Lake has become a place of symbolic significance. Historically, it is the physical spot that linked the United States by rail. The driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, UT, symbolized the realization of a truly United States. 
Today, the telegraph lines are silent and the tracks are empty most of the time except for daily reenactments during tourist season.

Our two and a half hour drive to the Spiral Jetty provided great views of the barren landscape of the Great Basin. Big sky, open road and acres and acres of acres and acres. Suddenly, there was a sign that indicated there was a rocket display ahead. Who can resist a good rocket display? As a former rocketeer, I could not. 

The display* was only a couple of kilometers out of our way and turned out to be well worth the excursion... and it felt good to stretch our legs after being couped up in the coup for a couple of hours. 

For decades, Thiocol has participated in the development of rockets used militarily and for space exploration. 

There are dozens of rockets, engines and parts of all sizes on display and a nice walkway provided so that visitors can browse freely and view them up close.

As we neared the Spiral Jetty, remains of pierworks and oil wells that once operated here could be seen. Oil was found floating on the briny water when pioneers first arrived in the region in the nineteenth century. Under pressure, the black crude oil oozes up through natural fissures and makes its way to the surface. When petroleum became profitable, the region was exploited for a brief time then abandoned due to lack of cost effectiveness and difficult drilling conditions. 

A few hundred yards to the west of the oil wells is where Robert Smithson chose to install his spectacular Spiral Jetty.*

The recent drought has lowered the lake to record levels and the receding shoreline is now several hundred feet from Smithson's counterclockwise spiraling earthwork of black basalt rocks. The Spiral Jetty was  constructed in 1970 and has become part of the landscape. The landmark only recently reappeared, after spending most of its life submerged.

Smithson selected a symbol that adorns the landscape and taps into man's primordial psyche. The region itself has prehistoric aura and is pretty much the same as it has been since the ancient Lake Bonneville receded to this level twelve thousand years ago. 
Sunsets are always spectacular over the Great Salt Lake and really enhanced our trip to the Jetty. 

One thing that made a huge impression on us was how silent this place is. The porous basalt rocky terrain in league with an endless shoreline of flaky salt crystals seems to absorb most of the natural ambient sound.

Visitors should know that there is no place to camp near the Spiral Jetty and there are no restroom facilities there either.  

The coordinates for the Rocket Display 
41° 39' 32.32" N 112° 26' 27.35" W

Spiral Jetty Coordinates
 41° 26' 15.66" N 
112° 40' 08.12 W