Utah's Great Salt Lake sees water level drop to lowest in centuries amid drought

The water level of U.S. state of Utah's iconic landmark, the Great Salt Lake, has dropped to its lowest since 1847.

The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, water levels in the lake are expected to continue falling this fall and winter, which could seriously affect the natural environment and a relevant industry chain that is worth roughly $1.3 billion.

Meanwhile, the area of the lake has shrunk from a peak of about 7,769.69 square kilometers in the 1980s to about 2,460.48 square kilometers now, with about 2,000 square kilometers of lake floor exposed.

Experts have warned that dangerous sediment at the bottom of the lake, if exposed to the air, could be carried by the wind and pose a health hazard to local residents.

The falling of water levels was because of climate change and human activity, according to experts.

"Because of rising temperatures, the need of water for crops and for human usage has been going up, so there's a lot of water, an increasing amount of water, that would've gone into the lake has been diverted for other human purposes," said Richard Seager, a researcher with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory under Columbia University.

(Cover image via video screenshot)

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