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Utah

basin, lake, salt, mountains, miles, land, north and mountain

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UTAH, the 45th State in the Union, takes its name from a tribe of Indians (Utes or Yutas) whose habitat was in the region settled by the founders of this Commonwealth. It lies between lat. 37° and 42° N. and long. 109° and 114° W., comprising an area of 84,000 square miles.

General The country is crossed, mostly north and south, by mountain ranges, the principal one being the Wasatch Range, which might be termed the backbone of the State. East of this natural wall is a region drained by Green and Grand rivers, affluents of the Colorado, and to the west is the Great Salt Lake (q.v.) and its contiguous desert. This lake extending north and south for about 75 miles, with a width of nearly 50 miles and a depth in places of 40 to 50 feet, lies in the heart of °The Great Basin," a vast arid intermoun tain plateau, whose eastern rim is in the Wa satch Range, while its western limit is the Sierra Nevada. The lowest point of altitude in Salt Lake Valley is 4,210 feet above sea-level. Utah Lake (q.v.), a small fresh-water body 40 miles southward, is connected with the Salt Lake by the river Jordan, a circumstance which induces a comparison between Utah and the land of Palestine. Broken mountain chains in central, eastern and southern Utah alternate with valleys and plateaus. Here and there are fresh lakes and rivers, owing their existence mainly to the melted snows flowing in crystal torrents from the rugged canyons. Hot and warm mineral springs, with healing waters, gush forth in places at the foot of snow crowned ranges.

Scarcity of timber and fresh water have been the country's serious drawbacks from the beginning. Trees are found only in the mountains and along the water courses, which are few and far between. Along the bases of the hills the soil is naturally productive, and when irrigated brings forth abundantly. In other places it is either pure desert, hopelessly barren or so devoid of moisture and so strongly impregnated with salt and alkali that cultiva tion is almost impossible. The climate is health ful and delightful. The mountains around the valleys ward off the keen wintry winds and the rarity of the high atmosphere modifies the sum mer heat. The average annual rainfall is about 12 inches. In southwestern Utah — the valley of the Rio Virgen — the climate is semi-tropical. The Utah scenery will compare with any in the world. Here are mountains as grand as the Alps of Switzerland and sunsets more gorgeous than those of Italy and Greece. In the south

are marvelous canyons, mammoth stone bridges and giant monoliths, master works of nature, worthy to be classed with the wonders of all time.

The land, in spite of its dryness, is one of rich and varied resources. Where agriculture has succeeded, vast quantities of cereals are raised, with all varieties of fruits and vegetables common to the north temperate zone. The mountains are nature's treasure vaults, con taining inexhaustible deposits of precious and useful metals. Gold, silver, lead, copper, iron, coal and a hundred other minerals are found. The mountains and lakes could furnish salt and soda to supply a continent, and from the quarries come marble, onyx, granite and all kinds of building stones for the construction of temples, churches, schoolhouses, stately public edifices and handsome private homes, which now adorn and beautify the once empty and desolate land.

The greater part of the rock of the interior mountain area is a series of conformable stratified beds reaching from the Archean to the late Jurassic times, with the addition of thick deposits of Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentaries in the Plateau sec tion. The raising of these beds produced the Sierras and the Wasatch, and later, by crustal dislocation within the included area, the parallel ranges in the Great Basin were formed. It is observed that certain structural features of the local geology are nearly parallel with the meridian ; hence the precious metals are found arranged in parallel longitudinal zones. It is believed that the present Great Basin was part of the land area that arose early from the ocean, that during the Mesozoic period the basin was drained into the great Cretaceous sea, which had divided North America into two continents, and which was abolished by the uplift of the Plains and Plateau region, and that the Great Plains and the Great Basin were raised to their present altitude at the beginning of the Cenozoic period, where the uplifting of the continent be tween Saint Louis and San Francisco began. Erosion in places .has been extensive and has exposed or carried away everything from Creta ceous to Pre-Cambrian. For details of the geological features of the State consult the pub lications of the United States Geological Survey.

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