Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats aerial photo D Ramey Logan.jpg
Aerial view of the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2015; the race track is located in the upper left
Bonneville Salt Flats is located in Utah
Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
Area40 sq mi (100 km2) [1]
Geography
CountryUnited States
StateUtah
CountyTooele
Borders onInterstate 80 in Utah (south)
West Wendover, Nevada (west)
Coordinates40°47′59″N 113°48′00″W / 40°47′59″N 113°48′00″W / 40.79972; -113.80000

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a densely packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The area is a remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is known for land speed records at the "Bonneville Speedway". Access to the flats is open to the public.

History

Bonneville Salt Flats during the winter has about 1 inch of water on it

Geologist Grove Karl Gilbert named the area after Benjamin Bonneville, a U.S. Army officer who explored the Intermountain West in the 1830s.[2][3] In 1907 Bill Rishel and two local businessmen tested the suitability of the salt for driving on by taking a Pierce-Arrow onto the surface of the flats.[4]

A railway line across the Bonneville Salt Flats was completed in 1910, marking the first permanent crossing.[2] The first land speed record was set there in 1914 by Teddy Tetzlaff.[5]

Entertainment filmed at the salt flats include portions of Knight Rider, Warlock, Independence Day (1996) and its sequel, SLC Punk, Cremaster 2 from Cremaster Cycle, The Brown Bunny, The World's Fastest Indian, Gerry, The Tree of Life, Top Gear, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Furthermore, the Pontiac Bonneville (former flagship sedan of the Pontiac motor division), the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle, and the Bonneville International media company are all named for the salt flats.