Salton Sea

Located near Palm Springs, the Salton Sea is an inland saline lake, occupying the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink, part of the larger Colorado Desert in Southern California, north of the Imperial Valley. The lake covers a surface area of approximately 376 square miles, making it the largest lake in California.

Once part of the vast inland sea which covered the area, the Salton Sink was the site of a major salt mining operation. Throughout the Spanish period of California's history the area was referred to as the 'Colorado Desert' after the Rio Colorado (Colorado River). In the 1853/55 railroad survey, it was called 'The Valley of the Ancient Lake'. On several old maps from the Library of Congress, it has been found labeled 'Cahuilla Valley' (after the local Indian tribe) and 'Cabazon Valley' (after a local Indian chief - Chief Cabazon). 'Salt Creek' first shows up on a map in 1867 and 'Salton Station' is on a railroad map from 1900 although this place had been there as a rail stop since the late 1870s. The name 'Salton' appears to be from the fact that they had been mining salt in the area at least as early as 1815. A yearly expedition traveled to the area to mine salt for Los Angeles residents. With the extension of a rail line through the basin, large scale salt mining started in 1884. After that, the general area is referred to as the 'Salton Sink' or the Salton Basin. 'Sink' or 'basin' referring to the natural bowl type geography of the area. [edit] Creation of the current Salton Sea The Salton Sea as it exists today is the aftermath of a man-made environmental disaster that occurred between 1905 and 1907, when improper management of irrigation routes from the Colorado River caused the river to flow unchecked into the Salton Sink for some two years. Early efforts to provide irrigation to the fertile Imperial Valley region had culminated in the creation of the Imperial Canal, leading from intakes on the Colorado River to the below-sea-level Imperial Valley.

In the 1920s, the Salton Sea developed into a tourist attraction, because of its water recreation, and the waterfowl attracted to the area. The Salton Sea remains a major resource for migrating and wading birds. It has also had some success as a fishery in the past, with species such as mullet, corvina, sargo, and tilapia being introduced to the Sea from the 1930s to the 1950s. The Salton Sea has had some success as a resort area, with Salton City, Salton Sea Beach, and Desert Shores being built on the western shore and Desert Beach, North Shore, and Bombay Beach built on the eastern shore in the 1950s. The town of Niland is located 2 miles southeast of the Sea as well. The evidence of geothermal activity is also visible. There are mud pots and mud volcanoes on the eastern side of the Salton Sea.

Links for more information about the Salton Sea

Salton Sea Restoration: The Salton Sea Authority site for revitalization of the Salton Sea.
Salton Sea State Recreations Area: State of California Park's site about the Salton Sea.
National Geographic: Salton Sea featured article from the February 2005 issue.

The Complete Guide
to Palm Springs!

Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc.

Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc.