The Uintah Basin often experiences days of unhealthy air quality. How is it that this rural basin gets more polluted than Salt Lake or Utah valley? One reason is because of the topography. The image below shows the topography of the state and a zoomed in section of the Uintah Basin. The Uintah Basin is surrounding by high mountain barriers on all its sides. The Salt Lake and Utah valleys, on the other hand, have lower elevations with adjacent valleys that pollution can mix into during inversions. Still, the winter inversions along the Wasatch Front are strong and the large population causes poor air quality.