Talk:Great Salt Lake

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Good article Great Salt Lake has been listed as one of the Geography and places good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
August 5, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
September 20, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
September 18, 2008 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Great Salt Lake:
  • Make sure the article is thoroughly copy-edited. See: Wikipedia:How to copy-edit
  • Expand info on recent findings about mercury and selenium (sources: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]).
  • Add basic Legacy Highway info about controversy, threat to the lake, etc.[8]
  • Mention the "lake stink" and its causes, possibly with its own section.[9][10]
  • Create a Recreation subsection of the Commerce section. Should include bird hunting, sailing, hiking on Antelope Island, etc.
  • Add early superstitions about the lake (e.g. whirlpools) See:Great tales surrounding the Great Salt Lake
  • Include info on recently discovered organisms in the lake (more info [11][12])
  • Expand information on the causeways (plenty of information here).
  • Create a History section.
  • Mention proposals to dike parts of the lake for freshwater usage, including info on Willard Bay.
  • Include some of the information from this Deseret News page.
  • Include more specific information to back up vague comments like: "lake level varies greatly". Perhaps tables or historical lake levels, etc.?
  • Seems to be an inconsistency with the Dead Sea article concerning the relative salinity of the two lakes. The GSL article says the salinity of the DS is 30.4% while the DS article says the dissolved salts are 30.4% NaCl and what I suppose is the salinity including all chemical "salts" averages 31.5%.
  • The Encyclopædia Britannica references lead to a dead link. The new link is here

Completed or in-process:

  • Use footnotes to cite sources.
  • Include something about the importance for migratory birds in intro.
  • Split Geography and hydrology into separate sections.
  • Create a Salinity subsection of the Hydrology section.
  • Add Great Salt Lake Monster info.
  • Include an Origins subsection explaining how Lake Bonneville shrank to become GSL.
  • Include info on oolitic sand.
  • Include info on the lake's effect on the local climate. -Thank you Bob_rulz! :D
  • Add an illustration with labels for major tributaries, islands, bays, nearby cities, etc.
Priority 2

Poor Composition[edit]

This article is FULL of grammatical and composition mistakes, and I don't have time to correct all of them. The article is especially bad concerning the terminology of geology and civil engineering. A natural, solid, geological body in a lake - that extends above or close to the surface - is either an island, an islet, a rock, a reef, or a shoal. Islands and islets are permanent features that extend above the water level all the time. There is no such thing as an island or an islet that disappears. If it ever does so, then it is a rock, a reef, or a shoal.
There was a huge amound of confusion about what a water pump does, and I have corrected most of these. In the context of this article, a water pump that has its inlet in a lake, river, or canal "moves", "removes", or "pumps" water, and there is no point in its doing anything else. There were several other words that had been used that didn't make any sense.
It would be helpful for writers to learn something about civil engineering rather than letting their imaginations run wild. (talk) 19:11, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Old questions with no headlines[edit]

The article currently ends with "Source: The April 29, 2002 issue of High Country News". Is this a direct quote, or just where the information came from? If the former, we need to verify that it's a public domain resource. If not, I'll take that out. Vicki Rosenzweig

a pic would be great here...there is one on the German version of the article: Großer does one borrow?? Jon 01:48, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The Weber River does not flow into the lake per se, it flows into the Ogden River, which then flows into the east side of the lake in Ogden Bay. At they call it the weber/ogden tributary.

That link says, "Great Salt Lake has three major tributaries, the Bear, Weber/Ogden, and Jordan River systems." But after the confluence of the Ogden and Weber rivers, the waterway is called the Weber River. Here are two links (1 and 2) to maps that show this. Val42 03:05, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
ah ok, my mistake.

Could someone with more skill squeeze in the names of all the islands (carrington, dolphin, badger, and egg island are not mentioned, neither is strong's knobb)?


Recent studies of the GSL's water have revealed the highest levels of mercury found in any body of water tested in the United States. We need to add a section about the pollution on the lake. see this and this article for a little more info.

Have the rivers and other runoff been tested to determine if this is natural or artificial pollution? Val42 03:40, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
It would seem to be a semi-recent problem, judging from this quote:

" Is the Great Salt Lake polluted?

The quantities of harmful contaminants in the lake, such as industrial organic wastes, copper, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead are very low. This is contrary to what one might expect since rivers, waste-water treatment plants, and industrial facilities discharge into the lake."

This seems to indicate that the lake has been tested before for mercury, but only "very low" levels were found.

Help request[edit]

There are 7 links in the to-do list above we should use to expand the mercury info, if anyone is willing to look through them. --Lethargy 01:37, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Lead section improvement[edit]

From the Dead Sea's peer review:

The lead is for summarizing the rest of the article, and should not introduce new topics not discussed in the rest of the article, as per WP:LEAD. Please ensure that the lead adequately summarizes the article.

This applies here as well. The current lead is pretty good IMO, but it introduces information not currently included in the article (e.g. Lake Bonneville, lake effect snow). Please make sure this info is added somewhere and make sure the lead section adequately summarizes the article. I have a pretty good idea of improvements I can make to the lead, which I will post later. --Lethargy 01:59, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Hmm... the more I play with the lead, the longer it gets. What I have done is split it into about five paragraphs, which is more than is suggested in the aforementioned guide, but feels pretty good for this article (assuming and hoping it is expanded). My main complaint with the current lead is the first paragraph is too long and contains too many measurements, so I decided to split bits of it into a separate paragraph. --Lethargy 03:56, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


It is important to have a clear idea of what needs to be covered in the lead, my current topics include (please add any you think should be there):

  • Size of the lake and status as far as world records (the "Great").
  • Salinity of the lake (the "Salt"). Includes ability to float in its waters and needs to include the inability of most species to live in the lake.
  • Fluctuations of the above.
  • Descendancy from Lake Bonneville.
  • Importance to migratory birds.

Mormons / Latter Day Saints[edit]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the GSL near where the Mormons went in 1800-something? In the 1830, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I think that is notable enough to be included somewhere. Insane99 19:30, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

You are correct, see Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm not sure how to word it or anything, but I think it should go into a history section. --Lethargy 00:26, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Maybe just a reference to it and a link to the main article for Salt Lake City, then? Insane99 12:38, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I put it in the lead, for now. I moved it to the Geography section instead. --Lethargy 02:18, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
The Latter Day Saints are pertinent to Salt Lake City but NOT to the Great Salt Lake. The Great Salt Lake is a geographical and geological feature that has nothing to do with any church or any religion, just as Lake Michigan has nothing to do with religions, despite the Roman Catholic missionaries who were there during the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s; and the Dead Sea has nothing to do with Judiasm or Islam. These places have to do with geography, geology, and meteorology (e.g. the Ice Ages.) (talk) 18:51, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

GA nominee[edit]

In the 1830 Joseph Smith organized the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. I thinks this article looks great. But is there a reason that the subheading "Ecosystem" has so few in-line references? I think if that one matter were addressed, corrected and/or clarified, I would approve this. One other thing: Why is there a subheading under superstitions? There only appears to be one, so the subheading is unecessary.--Esprit15d 13:39, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, I'll see if I can dig up some citations for the ecosystem stuff (not sure who added it) and I'll remove the subheading. Any other ways we can improve this? --Lethargy 20:42, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I removed the subheading, and added a few refs to the ecosystem section. Some more refs are still needed, and I'll tag unsourced statements with citation-needed so others can help me out (I hope). --Lethargy 22:26, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Another update: the only other references I would like to see (in the ecosystem section) are
  1. Verify there are two species of brine flies in the lake. Done.
  2. Make sure we have listed all of the wildlife management areas. Sort of done, I found a ref which states how many of these there are, and that satisfies me.
OK, I have now added all the citations I felt were needed, are there any more references you feel are necessary? --Lethargy 23:30, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Nope, it is fully referenced to GA status. Hence I just passed it. Great work guys! Killfest2Daniel.Bryant 00:55, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Delisted from Good Article status[edit]

This article has been delisted from GA status for failing to meet the following criteria:

Compelling prose
Examples of less than compelling prose:
"The Jordan River does not receive its water directly from the Uintas, but it drains freshwater Utah Lake, which itself is fed primarily by the Provo River which begins in the south slope of the Uintas and flows into the east part of Utah Lake."
"...depends mostly on the level of the lake which can vary greatly from year to year depending on the lake level."
Contradiction: "...there are [up to] fifteen islands..." and "There are also a number of small, unnamed islands".
Image tagging
Image:Saltair.jpg has an obsolete license tag.

--jwandersTalk 07:58, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with your reasoning for removing this. You could have simply removed the picture; it's not as though it's vital to the article. In addition, even featured articles have their examples of a few less-than-brilliant sentences. Personally, I'm kind of frustrated that I'm going to have to re-nominate it and wait another 2-3 weeks for it to be approved after fixing problems that could have easily been fixed in just 1 edit. Is this how things normally work over there? bob rulz 08:15, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
On second look of this article, I am even more frustrated. If you would have read the article clearly you would have noticed that it mentioned that there's up to 15 islands, and then it names all of them, and then states that there's a number of small, unnamed islands. They are not referring to the same islands, and this confusion could have been avoided by the addition of just one simple word, referring to them as named islands to more clearly differentiate between the named and unnamed islands. Now I initially thought of putting it up for review, but I just addressed the concern and realized that it didn't meet the criteria for it to be reviewed. I simply feel that you were too hasty in delisting it, especially now that I have to wait 2-3 weeks for it to be approved or rejected again. bob rulz 08:24, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict):I'd say the fact that other promoted articles also fail to meet their criteria is a reason to demote them, not promote others. But I do understand your frustration, Bob, and also feel that the GA process could still use some refinement. I think this case would probably warrant listing at Wikipedia:Good articles/Disputes as my delisting came so soon after the original promotion; hopefully the dispute resolution process will be swifter than a complete re-nomination. --jwandersTalk 08:26, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Great...I already re-listed it for nomination, since it says in the disputes that it has to have been delisted for no legitimate reason, and the one picture that didn't have a tag was a legitimate reason. Could it be transferred over to disputes? And also, sorry if I sounded like I was over-reacing. I have a tendency to do that. bob rulz 08:53, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
No worries ;-) It's easy to over-react after you've put so much hard work into something. That's one of the difficult parts of both GAC and FAC: it can be hard to remember that failed results are solely a rating the article, and are not a judgement of how hard its editors have worked on it.
I agree that the instructions at disprutes don't actually apply here; I was mistaken in suggesting you list it there and you were right to re-nominate it instead. I'm willing to do another review for you straight away if you'd like, but, as you've seen in my delisting, I tend to be quite critical in my reviews. I'd say 2-3 weeks isn't really that long a wait, especially since you're of course welcome to spend the time working other articles up to nomination status. --jwandersTalk 09:19, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Na, it's okay, you can wait to look over it again if you want. I want to look over it to make sure it's up to good article status. I think I was a bit shocked before, though. I guess I just happened to get one of the harsher ones to find it and delist it, heh. I'm just surprised because good article criteria seems to be so close to what featured articles are. bob rulz 12:35, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Now that it is up for review again, should we replace the {{DelistedGA}} template with {{GA nominee}}? --Lethargy 00:09, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I believe it would be appropriate to include both of them, so I have done so. If this is wrong then somebody can change it.

bob rulz 02:13, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

The issues were taken care of and the article fits all of the GA criteria. --GoOdCoNtEnT 06:14, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Awesome. At least it didn't take nearly as long as last time to approve. Hopefully nobody delists it again... bob rulz 06:19, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I plan to submit this for peer review soon. Before I do that, I'd be very grateful if everyone could copy-edit it (see Wikipedia:How to copy-edit) to improve grammar, punctuation, tone, etc. Also, please review it and list any opportunities for improvement.

I'm gonna hold off on the peer review request for a short while, as I am still adding new info to the article that will require further copy-editing before I want it to be judged. --Lethargy 19:17, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Lethargy's assessment[edit]

The first thing I notice about the article in its current state is that the commerce section could use some expanding and more references. I expanded the evaporation pond stuff earlier, but I would like to see the rest of it expanded. Also, I'm not entirely sure why Spiral Jetty is in the commerce section, unless it is a tourist attraction... --Lethargy 21:47, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

"The harvest of brine shrimp cysts during fall and early winter has developed into a significant local industry."

We should expand this one sentence paragraph. How significant is the industry (e.g. how much money does it bring in and where are the products seen), what effect has the harvest had on the lake (this may belong in the ecosystem section, I'm not sure), and what are the cysts used for? Some sources we can use:[13][14][15][16]--Lethargy 21:56, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Em3rald's Commentary[edit]

First off, this is a beautiful article, and all those who have contributed should be proud of their work. I think it deserves to be a selected article, among other things :D

Now, on to what I think might improve it - and I think most of my comments will be pretty low-key.

Opening Section[edit]

Current: ...deposit around 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year,[1] and the balance of evaporated water is mineral-free, concentrating the lake further.

This piece of a sentence, while likely totally true and factual, is written in a slightly confusing manner. I am unsure at this time as to a replacement sentence.


Current: ... prehistoric lake called Lake Bonneville. Lake Bonneville was nearly as large as Lake Michigan and significantly deeper ...

Suggestion: ... prehistoric lake called Lake Boneville which, at it's peak surface area, was nearly as large as Lake Michegan and was significantly deeper ...

Could you possibly mean Lake Michigan? Have you never been east of the Continental Divide or read anything about that part of the country? Perhaps we in the East should start writing about the "Great Saalt Lake"? (talk) 18:41, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

--note: The rest of this sentence seems a little bit awkwark, though I cannot come up with a suitable alternative barring the use of parentheses. Em3rald 03:32, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Some metric sizes are wrong. 950 square miles = 2,460 km² (not 1,529 km²) ; 3,300 square miles = 8,547 km² (not 5,311 km²) 07:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Lake Stink[edit]

This is a great page. Three memories I have of the lake are its surreal beauty especially at sunset when the mountains seem to rise into the sky, the buffalos on Antelope Island, and the lake stink.

I believe the lake stink is caused by the brine flies, which are remarkable unto themselves as they actually live in the water and fly out when you wave your hand over them. The level of lake stink is part of radio weather reports.--John van v 00:26, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

North Shore Monster[edit]

I recently stumbled upon the North Shore Monster article. I fixed up what I could, but it does need more attention. See my comments on that article's talk page for more of my comments. Even if you're not interested in that article right now, it is short so I'd like you to read it and fix up what you can. Then you can ignore it, if you like. — Val42 (talk) 22:16, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

West Desert pumping project[edit]

I'm of the belief that this section might be worth turning into a separate article on the grounds that this was a major and controversial engineering project (For example, see this New York Times article. Supposedly satellite pictures exist of the lake while the pumping was in operation, which might be worth locating. Also it should be make clear that the region the water was pumped into is the area into which the Great Salt Lake expands to once it rises above 4217 ft. Finally it would appear that the lake created lasted until 1991, perhaps photographs exist from the lakeshore. Graham1973 (talk) 02:17, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Calochortus luteus?[edit]

This article, along with several related articles, cite a website for the claim that Calochortus luteus may have occurred on islands in the GSL. This website cites only a text from the explorer Domenech, but other explorers from this time period mentioned seeing C. luteus as well. I think this is not supported by any evidence, and is explained by the fact that the name C. luteus was applied to plants that are today called C. aureus and which look much like C. luteus. I am looking for a better source on this, as we have only a few. In the meantime, I have revised the text, but it could be revised to be more vague about this, or more definite. I tried to follow a middle path.Michaplot (talk) 02:18, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

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