average annual precipitation for the Uinta Basin is less than 8.5 inches,
with a smaller area around Ouray and Leota receiving less than 6 inches
annually. Nevertheless, the basin is well watered. The Strawberry River drains the eastern slope of the Wasatch Mountains. The south flank of
the Uintas is drained by Current Creek, the Duchesne River, Lake Creek,
the Uinta River, Ashley Creek, and Big and Little Brush creeks. The
southern portion of the Basin contains fewer streams and are much smaller
in volume then those of the northern point. Green River slices through
the Uintas at Split Mountain and flows through the Uinta Basin in a
southwesterly direction. At Ouray the Green is joined by the Duchesne
River, and White River which flows from the east.
on the modified Kopper system for identifying climatic zones, the Uintas,
the Wasatch Mountains, and the southwest portion of the Book Cliffs
are classified as undifferentiated highlands and the Uinta Basin as
steppe. The Basin averages between 80 and 160 frost-free days a year
while much of the Uintas has less than 40 days free of frost.
Uinta Basin and Mountains possess an abundance of prehistoric remnants.
A short distance north of Jensen on the Green River is a famous dinosaur
quarry. This area was first discovered in 1909 by geologist Earl Douglas
of the Carnegie Museum. During the next several years Douglas and others
excavated and hauled to eastern museums tons of dinosaur fossils from
the Morrison Formation of the Upper Jurassic Age. In 1915 President
Woodrow Wilson set aside 80 acres as a national monument. Intensive
study and work continues at Dinosaur National Monument, nine miles north
of Jensen, and thousands of visitors tour the monument each year.