Utah is a western state of the United States, in the Rocky Mountain region. The name Utah is derived from the Southern Ute word for "higher up." In addition to the Ute Tribe, the Paiute, Navajo, Shoshone, and Goshute nations also inhabit portions of the state.
Utah had a population of 2,389,039 in 2004, according to a Census Bureau estimate. About 85% of Utah's population resides in the valleys and on the western slope of the Wasatch Mountains in northern and central Utah. Residents are called Utahns. The state is generally rugged and arid, and has spectacular natural scenery. It is a popular summer and winter tourist destination. Salt Lake City, the ski resorts in the Wasatch Range, and the national parks of the south are the most popular destinations.
Utah's capital is Salt Lake City, a vibrant metropolitan city. The small community of Fillmore, in Millard County, was designated as the territorial capital in 1854, four years after Utah Territory was organized. In 1856, the capital was moved back to Salt Lake City, which became the capital of the state when Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, which gave a significant boost to the state's tourist industry (especially the ski resorts).
Salt Lake City, Utah is also the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
, of which approximately 60% of Utah residents are members. The LDS Church has a strong cultural influence on the state, resulting in Utah being one of just two states where gambling
|Great Salt Lake, is the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere, the fourth largest terminal lake in the world, and the 33rd largest lake on Earth. In an average year the lake covers an area of around 1,700 square miles (4,400 km²), but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. For instance, in 1963 it reached its lowest recorded level at 950 square miles (1,529 km²), but in 1987 the surface area was at the historic high of 3,300 square miles(5,311 km²).
The lake is the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a pluvial lake which covered much of western Utah in prehistoric times. Great Salt Lake is endorheic (has no outlet besides evaporation), and thus has very high salinity, far saltier than sea water. The Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers (the three major tributaries) deposit around 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year, and the balance of evaporated water is mineral-free, concentrating the lake further. Because of its unusually high salt concentration, most people can easily float in the lake as a result of the higher density of the water, particularly in the saltier north arm of the lake, Gunnison Bay. The lake's shallow, warm waters cause frequent, sometimes heavy lake-effect snows during late fall, early winter, and spring.
Although it has been called "America's Dead Sea", the lake provides habitat for millions of shorebirds and waterfowl, including the largest staging population of Wilson's Phalarope in the world. In addition to native birds and brine shrimp, the lake is also home, oddly enough, to a Chilean flamingo named Pink Floyd.
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Coordinates: 39°18′N 111°36′W / 39.3°N 111.6°W