Apair of empty docks sit atop dried muck at an abandoned marina, glaring reminders that the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere is disappearing. Three main tributaries empty into Utah’s Great Salt Lake, but decades of their flows being diverted for agriculture, cities, and industry—along with prolonged drought—have starved the 1,700-square-mile body of its lifeblood. Last summer the inland sea made national headlines when it dropped to the lowest point ever recorded, exposing roughly 750 square miles of sediment to the same winds that carve hoodoos and sculpt arches to the south and east.
Dust may be one of the biggest environmental hazards routinely swept under the rug. Luckily our Kevin Perry is part of a team of six scientists aiming to track dust, both the extent to which it moves in acute storms and the incognito chronic creep of microscopic granules called particulates that can make one year dustier than the next—or alter the airborne earth’s long-term contribution to climate change. To learn more go here