Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Posts tagged Colorado River

Changing Water Levels in Lakes Mead and Powell, USA

36.0N 112.1W

November 2nd, 2012 Category: Lakes, Rivers

USA – October 27th, 2012

Visible amidst the dry, rocky terrain of the western USA are lakes, rivers and gorges. By the left edge is the three-pronged Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States in maximum water capacity. However, the lake has not reached this capacity in more than a decade, due to increasing droughts. It is located on the Colorado River, in the states of Nevada and Arizona.

Following the river eastward, one runs through the Grand Canyon (center) to Lake Powell (right), a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona. It is the second largest man-made reservoir in maximum water capacity in the United States, behind its neighbor, Lake Mead. Current water levels, however, put Lake Powell ahead of Lake Mead in water volume and surface area.

Fires on Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

31.8N 116.6W

October 30th, 2012 Category: Fires, Rivers, Sediments

USA and Mexico – October 27th, 2012

Fires in Mexico in the northern part of the Baja California Peninsula, south of the city of Tijuana (visible as a greyish tan area by the coast) and just east of the city of Ensenada, release plumes of smoke that blow westward over the Pacific Ocean. Visible on the other side of the peninsula are sediments from the Colorado River entering the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez.

Salton Sea, Gran Desierto de Altar and Mouth of Colorado River, USA and Mexico

33.2N 115.7W

October 26th, 2012 Category: Deserts, Lakes, Rivers, Sediments

USA and Mexico – October 26th, 2012

Visible in the upper left quadrant of this image is the Salton Sea, a huge but shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California’s Imperial and Coachella Valleys.

The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside counties in Southern California. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo rivers, as well as agricultural runoff drainage systems and creeks. Visible south of the sea is irrigated land in southern California and Mexico.

In the lower right quadrant, sediments from the Colorado River can be observed spilling into the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez. The Gran Desierto de Altar, one of the major portions of the Sonoran Desert of Mexico, can also be seen extending across much of the northern border of the Gulf of California. It reaches more than 100 kilometers east to west, and over 50 km north to south, and constitutes the largest continuous wilderness area within the Sonoran Desert, as well as including the only active erg dune region in North America.

Red and Pink Landscape Around Lake Powell, USA – October 1st, 2012

36.9N 111.3W

October 1st, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

USA – September 16th, 2012

Visible amidst the red and pink hues of the surrounding landscape are the dark waters of Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona. It is the second largest man-made reservoir in maximum water capacity in the United States behind Lake Mead, storing 24,322,000 acre feet (3.0001×1010 m3) of water when full. Lake Powell was created by the flooding of Glen Canyon by the controversial Glen Canyon Dam.

Dropping Water Levels in Lake Mead, USA – April 6th, 2012

36.1N 114.4W

April 6th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

USA - April 3rd, 2012

Two large reservoirs can be observed in this image of western USA: Lake Mead, by the left edge, and Lake Powell, created by the Glen Canyon Dam, by the right edge. Both are important sources of water in this arid region. Lake Mead straddles the Arizona-Nevada border, and Lake Powell is on the Arizona-Utah border. Aqueducts carry water from the system to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other communities in the Southwest.

There is, however, a 50 percent chance that Lake Mead, which was created by the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River, will go dry by 2021 because of escalating human demand and climate change, according to a study by Tim Barnett and David Pierce of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at San Diego.

By 2017, there is a 50 percent chance that the reservoir could drop so low that Hoover Dam could no longer produce hydroelectric power. Water conservation and mitigation technologies and policies thus need to be implemented now, the study stated.

The disappearance of the manmade lake would create a tidal wave of ill effects for the southwestern U.S. The lake provides water for large cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as for several agricultural interests. The power also keeps on the lights in that region of the country.