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The Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
is a densely packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The area is a remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville
Lake Bonneville
and is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is known for land speed records at the "Bonneville Speedway". Access to the flats is open to the public.

Contents

1 History 2 Salt crust thickness 3 Land speed events 4 Stardust 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit]

Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
during the winter has about 1 inch of water on it

Geologist Grove Karl Gilbert
Grove Karl Gilbert
named the area after Benjamin Bonneville, a U.S. Army officer who explored the Intermountain West
Intermountain West
in the 1830s.[3][4] In 1907 Bill Rishel and two local businessmen tested the suitability of the salt for driving on by taking a Pierce-Arrow
Pierce-Arrow
onto the surface of the flats.[5] A railway line across the Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
was completed in 1910, marking the first permanent crossing.[3] The first land speed record was set there in 1914 by Teddy Tetzlaff.[6] Entertainment filmed at the salt flats include portions of Knight Rider, Warlock, Independence Day, SLC Punk, Cremaster 2 from Cremaster Cycle, The Brown Bunny, The World's Fastest Indian, Gerry, The Tree of Life, Top Gear, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Furthermore, the Pontiac Bonneville
Pontiac Bonneville
(former flagship sedan of the Pontiac
Pontiac
motor division), the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle, and the Bonneville International
Bonneville International
media company are all named for the salt flats. Salt crust thickness[edit]

Campers at the Bonneville Salt Flats

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The Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) has undertaken numerous studies of the salt crust thickness within the Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
and ultimately concluded in a 2006 study that there was virtually no difference in the salt crust thickness from 1988 to 2003. Specifically, the BLM concluded “despite brine withdrawal for mineral production, neither short nor long-term measurable changes in salt crust thickness could be documented.” [7] The BLM further concluded that earlier salt crust measurement studies showing salt crust deterioration were seriously flawed.[7] Despite this, since 1998, the owners of the Wendover potash facility have worked diligently in conjunction with the BLM to undertake the Salt Laydown Project under which solid salt from ponds located south of Interstate 80 is dissolved and pumped onto the Bonneville Salt Flats north of I-80. During the following summer months, heat from the sun vaporizes the water and the precipitated salt becomes part of the race track surface. Since the onset of this project, more than 10.7 million tons of salt have been pumped onto the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Salt Laydown Project is now a required element of the facility’s operating plan.[citation needed] Land speed events[edit]

Michael Sturtz
Michael Sturtz
setting world motorcycle land speed record using 100% biodiesel, 2007.

Motorcar racing has taken place at the salt flats since 1914. Racing takes place at part of the Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
known as the Bonneville Speedway. There are five major land speed events that take place at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Bonneville "Speed Week" takes place mid-August followed by "World of Speed" in September and the "World Finals" take place early October. These three events welcome cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The "Bub Motorcycle Speed Trials" are for motorcycles only. World records are contested at the Mike Cook ShootOut in September. The Southern California Timing Association and the Utah
Utah
Salt Flats Racing Association organizes and plans the multi-vehicle events, but all event promoters contribute to prepping and maintaining the salt. "Speed Week" events in August were canceled for the second year in a row in 2015, due to poor conditions of the salt in certain parts of the flats. The salt flats had been swamped by heavy rains earlier in the year, which usually happens, but the rains also triggered mudslides from surrounding mountains and onto a section of the flats used for the land-speed racing courses.[8] Stardust[edit] In 2004, the Stardust spacecraft released its sample-return capsule for a landing in the Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
after its flybys of asteroid 5535 Annefrank
5535 Annefrank
in 2002 and comet Wild 2 in 2004.[9] See also[edit]

List of vehicle speed records

References[edit]

^ a b c "Query Form For The United States
United States
And Its Territories". U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 

" Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
(1425872)". Geographic Names Information System. United States
United States
Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-05-28. ; Bonneville Speedway
Bonneville Speedway
(1454398)

^ Lines, Gregory C (1979). Hydrology and surface morphology of the Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
and Pilot Valley Playa, Utah. Retrieved 2010-05-28.  ^ a b "The Bonneville Salt Flats". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 24 July 2011.  ^ Joseph Tingley; et al. (2009). A Geologic and Natural History Tour Through Nevada and Arizona Along U.S. Highway 93 with GPS Coordinates. NV Bureau of Mines & Geology. p. 135.  ^ Hanna, Tim (2005). One Good Run: The Legend of Burt Munro.  ^ Radbruch, Don (2004). Dirt Track Auto Racing, 1919–1941.  ^ a b White, W. W., III.; Terrazas, Moises (2006). "Analysis of Recent and Historical Salt-Crust Thickness Measurements and Assessment of their Relationship to the Salt Laydown Project, Bonneville Salt Flats, Tooele County, Utah": 29.  ^ "Bonneville Speed Week Canceled For Second Year In A Row". Yahoo Autos.  ^ "NASA's Comet Tale Draws to a Successful Close in Utah
Utah
Desert". nasa.gov. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bonneville Salt Flats.

Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management
(Internet Archive) FIA World Land Speed Records Mike Cook's Bonneville Shootout Speed Week on the Bonneville Salt Flats

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