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Rare salt formations return to Great Salt Lake’s shores; take a tour while they last

Rare mirabilite mounds have returned to the Great Salt Lake, and the public is invited to tour them Jan. 23 and 24.
Posted at 7:36 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 09:36:40-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The rare salt formations discovered on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in 2019 have returned, and officials at Great Salt Lake State Park are leading tours for people who want to see them up close. The mounds only form during the winter months, and they can grow to be several feet tall, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The formations aren’t made of table salt, so don’t try to lick them. Instead, the mounds are made up of Glauber’s salt, or “mirabilite.” The chemicals that make up table salt are sodium and chloride, while mirabilite is comprised of sodium, sulfate and water. If someone did eat mirabilite, they would have a rather unpleasant time — the mineral functions as a laxative, according to Utah Geology Survey geologist Mark Milligan.

Milligan said mirabilite itself is a fairly common mineral, but mounds like those found at the Great Salt Lake are unusual. Other mounds have been discovered around the world in Antarctica and Spain. He said there might be more in other places that haven’t been found yet.

Click here to read the full story from The Salt Lake Tribune.