Rare Salt Formations Appear along Great Salt Lake
Scientists have documented rare salt formations for the first time on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in the American state of Utah. The formations could lead to better understanding of salt structures found on the planet Mars before they disappear.
The salt formations are appearing now in part because water levels at the large natural lake have lowered. Lack of rain and more demand for water from a growing population have left more shoreline uncovered.
The expanded shoreline means there are more places where water, warm and rich with the mineral sulfate, can rise to the surface from the springs below. When the water hits the cold air, it forms Glauber's salt, also know as mirabilite.
"It has to be exposed to just the right conditions," park official Allison Thompson told the Associated Press. She first saw the salt formations in October.
The formations have built up over the last several months, eventually creating flat structures formed on top of one another. From above, the structures are like a huge complex design laid over the sandy earth. An up-close look reveals tall formations gathered together like something out of science fiction.
There are now four formations at the Great Salt Lake shores, growing up to 1 meter tall and several meters wide.
Mirabilite formations are seen more often in places with cold temperatures such as the Antarctic. There are also signs of similar formations on Mars. So, study of the Great Salt Lake formations could offer information on how to examine salts found there.
Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society. The group was not involved in studying the Great Salt Lake formations. But he agrees they could hold information about whether groundwater or even life was ever supported on Mars.
Researchers do not have long to study the Great Salt Lake formations. As winter turns to spring, warming temperatures mean the salt will not continue to separate out of the water. Eventually melting snow will send water into the lake, raising lake levels and likely swallowing up the sites.
This is part of normal changes with the seasons and cycles of rain, says University of Utah professor Kevin Perry. He adds that overall the lake is not covering as much ground as it once did. Much of that is due to water being diverted away from rivers that feed the lake for farming and other uses before it reaches the body of water.
Researchers expect the rare salt formations to be gone by February.
I'm Pete Musto.
1.grow up 成长
A variety of heavy industries grew up alongside the port.
2.natural lake 天然湖泊
The East Lake is the largest natural lake in Chinese cities.
3.due to 由于
Mistakes due to carelessness may have serious consequences.
4.in part 部分的；某种程度上
The levels of blood glucose depend in part on what you eat and when you eat
5.The formations have built up over the last several months, eventually creating flat structures formed on top of one another.
build up 增进；加强
The collection has been built up over the last seventeen years
Slowly a thick layer of fat builds up on the pan's surface.
6.Scientists have documented rare salt formations for the first time on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in the American state of Utah.
for the first time 第一次
Streams had run dry for the first time in memory.
For the first time in my career, I was failing.
科学家首次在美国犹他州的大盐湖岸边记录了罕见的盐岩 。这些盐岩结构可能会帮助人们更好地了解在火星上发现的盐岩，赶在它们消失之前 。
这些盐岩的形成部分是因为大型天然湖泊的水位下降所致 。缺少雨水和人口增长对水资源的需求增加导致湖泊面积不断缩小 。
扩张的海岸线意味着，有更多温暖且富含矿物质硫酸盐的水从底部的泉水上升到水面 。当这股水体接触到冷空气时，就会形成芒硝 。
官员艾莉森·汤普森告诉美联社：“这一水体必须暴露在合适的环境中（才会形成） 。”她第一次看到盐岩是在10月份 。
这些盐岩在过去几个月内逐渐汇聚，最终形成了一层又一层的平面结构 。从空中俯瞰，这些结构就像一个巨大的复杂设计，覆盖在沙滩上 。近距离观察，你会发现高耸的岩层像科幻小说里的情节一样交错在一起 。
在南极等气温较低的地区，人们更容易看到奇异岩的形成 。火星上也有类似的盐层迹象 。因此，研究大盐湖构造可以为检测火星发现的盐类提供信息 。
罗伯特·祖布林(Robert Zubrin)是“火星协会”的主席 。这一小组没有参与研究大盐湖盐岩的形成 。但他也认为，他们可以保存关于火星上是否曾存在地下水甚至生命的信息 。
研究人员没有多少时间来研究大盐湖盐岩的构造 。随着四季更替，气温升高意味着海水中的盐分将不再分离 。最终，融化的积雪会提高湖水的水位，可能会淹没这些地方 。
犹他大学教授凯文·佩里（Kevin Perry）表示，这是季节和降雨周期正常变化的一部分 。他补充说，总体来说，湖泊覆盖的面积没有以前那么广了 。这很大程度上是由于供给湖泊的河水在到达湖泊前就被分流，以灌溉农田或留作他用 。