MOH and I just got back from a two-day road trip to Salt Lake City and back again. We drove to West Wendover, NV and then had lunch at a buffet in the Peppermill Casino. After that, we drove past Wendover, UT on I-80, and then sped past the exit for the Bonneville Speedway. Eventually, we came within sight of the Great Salt Lake and the Garfield Smelter. We pulled off at the Saltair exit, having already driven past several points of geologic interest - especially tufa-covered notches cut by ancient Lake Bonneville. A sailboat was out on the lake, and the air smelled sweetly pungent with the salt. A yellow-eyed cat came from the marina to greet us.
The lake is lower than it was during the 1983 Cordilleran Section meeting of the GSA, when the lake level rose rapidly, threatening to cover I-80 in a few places. That year, enough water was coming out of the Wasatch via City Creek that a main street in Salt Lake City (State Street) was sandbagged and allowed to become the State Street River. That same year, floods in the Mojave Desert of CA caused numerous road washouts, and mud was unusually common in a few places. Slide Mountain near Reno, NV, slid for the first time in many years. El Niño had struck heavily that year, and water was everywhere.