Monday, June 8, 2009

Saturday Adventure on Antelope Island

Over the weekend my friend, Deborah, and I went for a hike out on Antelope Island. We decided that it was a perfect day to try the highest point on the island, Frary Peak. The hike is about 8 miles round trip and provides many beautiful views of all sides of the lake. We were pretty tired after the trek up to the 6,600 ft peak (a climb of over 2,000 vertical feet from the trail head) and back, so as we were driving home we decided to head over to the other side of the island for a quick wade in the lake.

View from the top of Frary Peak (looking South)
We didn't have a camera, but this is similar to what we saw.
Photo Credit

I had never swam in the Great Salt Lake before, which seems kind of strange since I've lived here all my life. It was good to get that checked off the list. As we were there wading in the water, Deborah (who was excited to finally teach me something about the outdoors) was telling me about the sand on the beach.

It's called oolitic sand, and it's apparently fairly unique. It's only found in a few other places around the planet and is different from regular sand in the fact that it is smooth and rounded, while regular sand is very angular. Oolitic sand at the Great Salt Lake is unique because it is not mineral fragments that were washed down from higher ground like sand in most places, but was formed within the Great Salt Lake:

"An oolite has a shell of concentric layers of calcium carbonate that precipitated around a nucleus or central core. The nucleus is usually a tiny brine shrimp fecal pellet or a mineral fragment. Oolites form in shallow, wave-agitated water, rolling along the lake bottom and gradually accumulating more and more layers." - Utah Geological Survey

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