Charles G. (Jack) Oviatt


Late Pleistocene and Holocene lakes and wetlands in the Sevier Desert, Utah

Lake Bonneville retreated from the Sevier Desert about 15,000 years ago, and the shallow basin was occupied by a lake that overflowed at its north end into the Great Salt Lake basin, where it formed the entrenched Old River Bed valley and extensive wetlands in what is now Dugway. By soon after about 11,500 years ago, the shallow lake had stopped overflowing and extensive wetlands, fed by groundwater discharge, covered much of the Sevier Desert basin. Wetlands persisted in some areas through most of the Holocene until surface- and groundwater diversions and drainage ditches on the basin floor implemented during historic settlement, have led to desiccation of the wetlands and reduction in river flows. Sevier Lake, at the terminus of the Sevier and Beaver Rivers, experienced highs and lows that, at least during historic times, were coincident with the highs and lows of Great Salt Lake.

Charles G. (Jack) Oviatt
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
office: 785-532-2245
cell: 314-288-7264

  • Ph.D. Geography, 1984, University of Utah
  • M.S. Geology, 1977, University of Wyoming
  • B.S. Geology, 1973, University of Wyoming
  • Faculty, Department of Geology, Kansas State University, 1985-present.

I began learning about Lake Bonneville, including Great Salt Lake and Sevier Lake, in 1977, when I started at the University of Utah as a Ph.D. student under the direction of Donald Currey, and I’m continuing to research these topics now.

Some publications related to my work in the Sevier Desert:

  • Oviatt, C. G., 1988, Late Pleistocene and Holocene lacustrine fluctuations in the Sevier Lake basin, Utah, U.S.A.: Journal of Paleolimnology, v. 1, p. 9-21.
  • Oviatt, C. G., 1989, Quaternary geology of part of the Sevier Desert, Millard County, Utah: Utah Geological and Mineral Survey Special Studies 70.
  • Oviatt, C. G., 1991, Quaternary geology of the Black Rock Desert, Millard County, Utah: Utah Geological and Mineral Survey Special Studies 73, 23 p.
  • Oviatt, C.G., Madsen, D.M., and Schmitt, D.N., 2003, Late Pleistocene and early Holocene rivers and wetlands in the Bonneville basin of western North America: Quaternary Research, v. 60, p. 200-210.
  • Madsen, D.B., Oviatt, C.G., Young, D.C., and Page, D., in press, Chapter 3 – Old River Bed delta geomorphology and chronology, in Madsen, D.B., Schmitt, D.N., and Page, D., editors, The Paleoarchaic occupation of the Old River Bed delta: University of Utah Anthropological Papers.
"Adult Breeding Willet" by Mauvorneen Strozewski

“Adult Breeding Willet” by Mauvorneen Strozewski