Thursday, September 29, 2016

BFlat: New Weather Station at Bonneville Raceway


The MesoWest research group at the University of Utah set up a new weather station at the Bonneville Salt Flats speedway. The data from this weather station will be used to help study how the salt flats change over time.

The data can be viewed here: http://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base_dyn.cgi?stn=BFLAT

The Bonneville Speedway is famous for the land speed records that are recorded there. Racing season is in the summer, when the salt flats are dry.

Today, the salt flats were wet. We had a lot of rain last Thursday. All that rain flowed downhill and pooled on the raceway.

The water at the end of the paved road was about a foot deep. The site for the weather station was three miles off the road. We didn't want to take out truck out there. Lucky, the BLM had an all terrain vehicle to ferry us and our equipment to the station site.

There were a bunch of tourists out to see the salt flats, and then wondering what the heck we were doing out in the water.

The three mile drive in the salt water took about 20 minutes to get to the site. Where the station was located there was less than a half inch of water. But the water was like a mirror. I got a sunburn, and some good pictures of the mountains and sky reflecting in the water.




On the drive back, I was sitting on the outside of the UTV, in the splash zone. After my pants dried, the right leg was white with salt. My face was also speckled. My lips sure were salty.

The salt got everywhere. The UTV was covered and someone managed to get us back to our truck without dying on us. It did have a lot of trouble. The salt water would spray up in the air intake and deposit there. It would also hit the exhaust system and the water would vaporize, leaving the salt behind caking the pipes. On the way back the tail pipe was almost completely closed off by salt. I wonder how much CO I breathed that day





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