students at the Great Salt Lake

About the Spiral Jetty

Spiral Jetty is an earthwork (aka land art) created by Robert Smithson in 1970. It's 1,500 feet of coiled black basalt, which provides a stunning contrast to the pink microbe-rich waters. The Spiral Jetty not only leaves an imprint in your soul, it is also one of the only access points for GSLI students and faculty to collect samples of halophilic microorganisms in Great Salt Lake's hypersaline Gunnison Bay (or north arm). GSLI is fortunate enough to have such an amazing study site that is also a world-renowned piece of art in the extreme hypersaline waters of Gunnison Bay in the Great Salt Lake. The research of GSLI and Dr. Baxter do not impact the Spiral Jetty. Our research furthers our understanding of the extreme halophiles, which gives the waters around the jetty its intense hues.

Great Salt Lake Jetty

Image Credit: Robert Smithson, the Spiral Jetty, 1970. Long-term installation in Rozel Point, Box Elder County, Utah.
Collection Dia Art Foundation, New York. Photo: Martin Hogue.