Is the “bathtub drain” linking the Great Salt Lake and the Pacific Ocean a reality?
This winter, a bush pilot flying to spot brine shrimp blooms for shrimp trawlers spotted a sinkhole one mile in circumference on the far west mudflats of the lake. Receding water levels made the once-submerged landform visible, lending credence for the first time to the early pioneer legend.
Due to the lake’s saltiness, early Mormons believed the two bodies of water were connected. An 1826 map by cartographer Jedediah Morse (father of telegrapher Samuel) indicated a river emptying the Great Salt Lake into San Francisco Bay near present-day Alameda. When they could not locate the river, pioneers believed earthquake activity created a fissure for the river to disappear underground.
Hydrologist Drachir Naisokram said the crack remained small until aftershocks from the 2020 Magna quake enlarged its size, leading to the recent drastic lowering of lake levels. “The bathtub drain needs a plug,” Naisokram said. To achieve that result a task force is meeting on April 1 at Dugway to evaluate using a low-level underground nuclear explosion to collapse the fissure.
Naisokram said a blast of one kiloton should suffice. “Sure, there may potentially be fallout, but it’s not a big problem since people already have protective masks. I believe a nuclear explosion to save the Great Salt Lake is well worth it, don’t you?” he asked
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