Andrew Rupke

Industrial Minerals Geologist

Utah Geological Survey


Andrew Rupke joined the Utah Geological Survey as an industrial minerals geologist in 2010. Prior to that, he worked as a geologist in the lime industry for over 6 years. His work and research at the UGS generally focuses on Utah’s diverse industrial mineral resources including potash, phosphate, salt, high-calcium limestone, aggregate, gypsum, and others. Andrew is also involved in research at Great Salt Lake including continuing UGS's long-standing brine sampling program and study of the north arm's salt crust. He received his B.S. in geology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, in 2000 and his M.S. in geology from the University of Utah in 2003. He is a registered Professional Geologist in Utah.

Title: Utah Geological Survey Great Salt Lake Monitoring—Salinity, Chemistry, Salt Crust

Wednesday, May 9th 1:45 PM

Abstract: The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) has monitored Great Salt Lake’s salinity and chemistry since 1966. We have typically collected vertical profile samples of the lake’s brine from specified locations in the north and south arms of the lake. The samples are analyzed for density and major ions, including Na+, Mg+2, K+, Ca+2, Cl-, and SO4-2, and these data are compiled into a database that is regularly updated on the UGS website. More recently, we compiled available data on the lake’s north arm salt crust and began monitoring the thickness of the crust on the margins of the lake.


Why We Care

  • While photographing at The Great Salt Lake, I learned that it is a vastly different experience than other bodies of water. It is other-worldy, eerie, and beautiful at the same time. It is calming, peaceful, and a very inspirational place to be. Some may call the experience spiritual. Others may call it freeing. I call it magical.

    My favorite quote is by Loren Eisley; “If there is magic in this world, it is contained in water.” I absolutely believe that The Great Salt Lake is a place of magic, and that is what I strive to showcase.

    -- Tylyn Cullison, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant