The new Great Salt Lake breach was opened on Dec. 1 by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. This created a new opening between the north and the south arm of the Lake, allowing water to flow between the two sides.
Before the new breach was opened, the north arm of Great Salt Lake was at a historic low. Water had stopped flowing through the old Great Salt Lake causeway breach, preventing water travel between the southern and northern portions. Water levels in the south arm were approximately 3.3 feet higher than the north arm when the breach was opened.
The USGS is monitoring discharge through the new breach in cooperation with Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
The USGS provides real-time lake elevation readings for both the north arm (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/uv/?site_no=10010100) and south arm (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/uv/?site_no=10010000) of Great Salt Lake. These gauging stations will be a valuable resource to observe the water level changes as the two portions of the lake combine and even out.
The USGS maintains a record of Great Salt Lake elevations dating back to 1847 and has continuously measured the elevation of the lake since 1938.
Thank you to Dr. Wayne Wurtsbaugh for these images. You can see more images of the breach here!
The Breach looking northward into Gunnison Bay
Strong flow into Gunnison Bay
Langmuir Circulation cells (parallel streaks) and foam on Gunnison. Each stream is probably separated from the next by 10-15'
Gunnison "Island", with Compass Mineral dike and ponds in background