Friday, September 25, 2015

Adventure on Fremont "Island"

The newest addition to the University of Utah's Mesonet is a weather station on Fremont Island. Fremont Island is located in the Great Salt Lake between Antelope Island and Promontory Point. It is named after John C. Fremont who was a military officer and explorer of the western United States. He visited Fremont Island and surveyed the Wasatch Mountain Range a few years before the Mormon pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley.

We drove out to the island yesterday morning to set up the weather station. Yes, you read that right, we drove to the island. The cartoon map image above is a little deceiving. The Great Salt Lake Level is actually really low and there is now a land bridge that makes driving to the island possible. Note: The island is privately owned. We had permission from the owner to set up the weather station and he escorted us to the island. You can see from satellite images the land bridge that exists between the Antelope Island causeway and Fremont Island. When the lake level is high it is best to take a boat.

The image on the left shows when the lake is high. The right image was taken on 10 September 2015, just over a week prior to our excursion. The drive on the lake bed is really flat and sandy, as you can see below. That hill in the distance if Fremont Island.
Castle Rock is the highest point of the Island. We didn't hike there, but there is a famous cross carved in the rocks by Kit Carson who explored the west with John Fremont.

Kit Carson's cross (photo from the internet)
The images above makes it look like the island is barren, but the island really has diverse a diverse blend of vegetation and geological formations. Our wet summer has kept the plants green. The sagebrush especially gives lots of color to the island.

The island owner pointed out some cool rocks. They are little cubes of iron. I'm no geologist, so I can't say anything more about them.

After some wild four-wheeling on the island, we reached Miller's Point or Miller's Hill which turned out to be a perfect place for a weather station.
Our escort had an ATV.
Climbing Miller's Hill
Millers Point Survey Marker
Installing weather station on Miller's Hill.

Had to get my "Station Selfie" before we left. No idea when or if I'll ever be back here.

Weather data from this station (and thousands of other stations) can be accessed via MesoWest

Here is the past 24 hour temperature:

Past 24 hour winds:

More information about the island at Deseret News and this blog.

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