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PART TWO

Central Nash Draw

I was in hog-heaven in the center of the draw.  What is not-to-like when you are surrounded by extremely salty water with all its mysteries?

CONFESSION: I have to confess:  I did my dissertation for my doctorate on the physical chemistry of the Great Salt Lake, Utah. Hence my seemingly unnatural, but legitimately acquired, taste --figuratively speaking--for extremely salty water bodies.

The road that goes to Jal cuts through the center of Nash Draw and a dirt road parallel to it gave me access to some of the briny water headed for the Laguna Grande de la Sal.

Looking down into the water on the north side of the highway was already fascinating: precipitated salts (probably magnesium salts) covered the bottom, and there was a very slight light green tint to the water suggesting blue-green algae were active:

On the other side of the road there were places where waves had wet dead branches of mesquite sticking out of the salt water, evaporated, and left buildups of salt above the water.  A photo taken from the parallel dirt road to the right of this one follows that shows this salt-above the water feature better, but note the cliffs to the left of center, that is where we go on pages 3 and 4:

This next photo shows the salt stuck onto anything that sticks out of the water, as already discussed.  It also shows salts precipitated on the bottom again, and the structures in the background are the abandoned Mosaic shaft to the left and the United Salt Corp. works to the left of center.  Both these facilities were pictured in Part 1, so now you know where you are.

Another noteworthy point in the above photo is the causeway that separates this water from the water in the photo to photos back.  It has some places under it where water flows freely so there is probably little change in chemistry.  Maybe the fact that in that photo from two photos back I was looking into a pocket of to the side allowed the algal growth that is not evident here.

But now look at the next two photos.  This is water to the left of the above photo that is seeping through the causeway's coarse rocks and evaporating as it meanders toward the lake, so it is more concentrated that the water in the above photo.  It may well be my imagination, but I think I detect a slight tinge of red in these two photos, indicating the water is now hospitable to the red bacterium that is about the only life that can thrive in very strong sodium-chloride dominated waters (almost 5 times saltier than seawater).

OK so maybe you see brownish where I see reddish. The north arm of the Great Salt Lake turns a dramatic red when the waters get very concentrated, like in a dry hot year:

(photo taken from the Tremonton Leader newspaper website: page linked here)

[That also happens in some of the ponds in Nash Draw, but not in December which is the time of this visit.  I promise to come back to this topic next Summer and show you red water.]

This the path by which this 'reddish' water gets here:

And this is where it is going, toward the Laguna Grande de la Sal, but I doubt if this meander ever makes it there:

Something very interesting, to me, is the way salty, clayey sediments behave when they dry. Some of the crystals of the different salts that form during drying, as well as some of the clays, will expand a little as they dry.  What happens when a sheet in a confined space expands?  It buckles in places, making ridges like these:

You can see structures just like this, but more pronounced, at the bottom of Death Valley too:

(photo taken from one of my Death Valley pages, linked here)

Perhaps we have spent so much time in the brine that we are quite pickled?  

OK, so let's go for that walk on the eastern bench that we have been hinting at for some time now.

Go to Part 3:  A Walk North on Livingston Ridge

Go to Part 4: A Walk South Along the Edge of Livingston Ridge

Return to Part 1: What is Karst, What is Potash, What is Nash Draw?

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