SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah mapping company has animated the history of Lake Bonneville, the pluvial lake that once covered much of the Great Basin, to show what the area would look like if the water were still around today.
Aero-Graphics used geo-spatial aerial mapping technology to harvest the data for the video. In the process, the company discovered the highest buildings in the valley, such as the Utah State Capitol building, would have been submerged by 700 feet if Lake Bonneville were still in existence.
Pluvial lakes, like the Great Basin today, do not have a natural outlet. During the Pleistocene or last Ice Age, the southwestern United States played host to several pluvial lakes. One of the largest was Lake Bonneville; the modern-day Great Salt Lake is a remnant of that much larger body of water.
State geologists say fish lived in Lake Bonneville in plentiful numbers. Mammoths would have roamed the shores alongside more familiar animals such as horses and bison, and the marshy shores would have played host to a number of amphibians and birds.
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