"SALT LAKE CITY -- Scientific studies are turning up answers to a baffling mystery about the Great Salt Lake. The new findings help explain why concentrations of toxic mercury in the lake are higher than anywhere else in the country.
The new studies suggest it's not so much our local pollution that's at fault -- it appears to be mainly the world's pollution.
For years, studies have shown the Great Salt Lake has strangely high levels of the toxic form of mercury -- the highest ever observed. The worry is that toxic mercury is threatening millions of birds that use the lake.
Some wondered if there was a nearby pollution source contaminating the atmosphere or rivers flowing into the lake.
Scientists have been sampling the water and the sediments at the bottom of the lake. They now believe only about 16 percent of the mercury is washed in by rivers; 84 percent is deposited directly from the atmosphere in the non-toxic, inorganic mercury form."
John Hollenhorst reports for KSL-TV March 23, 2010.