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Historical geography of the Salton Sea

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The birth of Salton Sea.
  3. Lake Cahuilla: The predecessor of Salton.
  4. Golden days of Salton Sea.
  5. Downfall of the Salton Sea.
  6. Resuscitating a dying sea.

Running a length of 35 miles, spanning a width of 15 miles and covering an area of 381 square miles, Salton Sea makes for the largest inland saline lake in the state of California. With a surface elevation of 227 feet below sea level, it is located 35 miles north of the California-Mexican border and 130 miles east of San Diego, and suspected to have been a part of northern extension of the Gulf of California. It is bounded by mountains on its tree sides, to the north is the Orocopia Mountains, to the west is Santa Rosa Range and finally, on its eastern side is the Chocolate Mountains. Given its location, Salton Sea belongs to the Colorado Desert Ecosystem, a region which receives the least amount of rainfall, barely exceeding three inches in a year. The climate in the area is generally arid such that the odd presence of the lake maybe considered the ?oasis? of that place. The vegetation in the sea is limited only to cattail sedges, tamarisk, cottonwood and bamboo, most of which are concentrated in freshwater area. The beaches in the sea are either of sandy or silt and mud mixture sprinkled with barnacle and snail shells (Capellan, 1961).

Tags: Urban geography of the Salton sea, Geography of the Salton sea basin, History of Salton sea, End of Salton sea

[...] According to the Salton Sea Authority, the first appearance of Lake Cahuilla is estimated to be around 700 A. D. Some studies further presume that the ever changing direction of the Colorado River and theorized that the filling of the Salton Basin must have been a recurring event in nature over the millennia (Laflin, n.d.,; Cohn, 2000). Nevertheless, during those speculated three occasions when the basin was filled, the river would move back to its original position and the ancient Lake Cahuilla, which was formed, would dry up as well due to rapid evaporization (Vessey, 2000). [...]


[...] Unfortunately, it is not only the marine organisms that are affected by the dismal condition of the Salton Sea waters. Even the birds that feed upon the creatures found in this body of waters are in great danger. What used to be a bird's paradise is slowly becoming their very own deathtrap. Over the years, severe and mass deaths of birds have been recorded. The first incidence was in 1992 when almost eared grebes (Podicep nigricollis) perished mysteriously on the shores of Salton Sea and this figure comprised almost seven percent of the remaining population (Geiser, 1999; Friend, 2002). [...]


[...] (2000) Avifauna of the Salton Sea: Abundance, Distribution, and Annual Phenology. Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Streitfeld, D. (2007, July Salton City: A land of dreams and dead fish; New homes and old optimism continue to sprout in a desert community that hasn't really jelled in 50 years.: [HOME EDITION] Los Angeles Times, p. A.1. Retrieved May from Los Angeles Times database. Thiery, R. G. The Aquatic Ecosystem of the Salton Sea. Coachella Valley Water District Vessey, K. B. (2000) Salton: [...]

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