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Questions We Had

The days when Ruth & I were driving together, we realized that we had a lot of questions about the land we were passing through, but limited access to any online resources.

Here are the questions we had. And being the good librarian that I am, I have looked up some answers, too.

What do you do with your land in Wyoming? All this empty land with nothing on it. Why buy land in Wyoming?

You grow hay on it. We just drove through at the wrong time of year.


Why does I-80 close often enough in Wyoming to require signs and flashing lights?

It's not the cattle drives, as we guessed! It actually is due to the weather. Since the jet stream can sit right on the top of this part of Wyoming, the wind can get nasty during the winter storm season, to the point where travel on the roads can get really dangerous.

(source)


Why is the Great Salt Lake salty? Did the Great Salt Lake Desert used to be underwater?

It was a prehistoric mostly-freshwater lake called Lake Bonneville, which used to be the size of Lake Michigan and house a huge fish population. This lake is endorheic (it has no outlets besides evaporation -- I just learned that word today by the way), so this caused years and years of concentration of the minerals found in the freshwater lake. It eventually turned salty because of all the buildup of minerals and all the fish died. The large-scale evaporation of this lake is why the desert is there.

(Sources: [1] [2])


What was that thing at mm26 on I-80 going through the Great Salt Lake Desert?

It's called Metaphor: The Tree of Utah.

(another picture)

Update 7-15-2010: And on Google Maps street view now!


Do cats' ears pop?

My Googling points to "yes, possibly", but the link I'd use to source it is only in Google's cache. So I'll defer to the animal scientist here -- Ruthie, you probably have more reliable sources than I do?


Why is the road going to be icy if the pavement is dry?

Cold air circulating under the bridge plus high humidity conditions cause condensation to form on the bridge and then freeze. (I totally remember Dad telling me this once, but I forgot.)


Is that mini-tornado thing called a dust devil?

Yep. Go Ruthie!

Comments

fweebles
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
This is why you should totally watch The Amazing Race — the tree of Utah was a waypoint in Season 8 (AKA the dreaded family edition where they didn't leave North America.)

Sundays at 8, 7 Central on CBS. ;)

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The Great Move: March 15 - March 18, 2007

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