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Posts tagged Salton Sea

Falling Water Levels in the Salton Sea, USA – June 19th, 2013

33.2N 115.7W

June 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

The Salton Sea is a victim of climate change and reduced quantities of water. The Salton Sea is (still) the largest lake of California. Lately, however, the water levels in the Sea have dropped with as much as 3 feet a year. Many fear that if nothing is done about it, there will be nothing left of the lake in a few decades.

This will cause new problems. Palm Springs, 35 miles north, fears dust storms of pesticide polluted salt particles. Environmentalists fear for the millions of migratory birds for whom this is the last remaining wetland in California. So far all initiatives to save the sea have failed. The Salton Sea is a perfect example of the choices that are made when the water runs out – the big cities and massive agricultural lands are priviledged (click here for more information).

Snow and Lakes in Southwestern USA

36.1N 114.4W

January 19th, 2013 Category: Lakes, Mountains

USA and Mexico – January 17th, 2013

Snow covers mountain ranges in southwestern USA, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which border the San Joaquin Valley, in southern California (upper left quadrant). The snow contrasts with the more arid land between ranges and in Mexico (lower half of image). Visible in the snow-free areas are bodies of waters such as the three-pronged Lake Mead (above center), in Arizona and Nevada, Lake Powell, surrounded by snow near the top edge, in Arizona and Utah, and the Salton Sea, in California near the Mexican border and northwest of the Gulf of California.

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.

Imperial Valley and Salton Sea, from USA to Mexico

33.2N 115.7W

May 8th, 2012 Category: Lakes

USA and Mexico - April 17th, 2012

The Imperial Valley lies in California’s Imperial County, in the southeastern part of the state. The Valley is bordered by the Colorado River to the east and, in part, the Salton Sea to the west (visible here as a dark blue, pear-shaped lake). The city of Mexicali can be observed as a grey area amidst the green crops.

South of Mexicali is the Mexicali Valley, one of the largest and most fertile valleys in Mexico. It has over fifty different crops and is similar to the Imperial Valley in its agricultural production. It is a primary source of water for the region, having the largest irrigation district in Mexico.

Environmental Issues Affecting Salton Sea, USA

33.2N 115.9W

April 5th, 2012 Category: Lakes

USA and Mexico - April 3rd, 2012

The Salton Sea (the pear-shaped lake in the upper left quadrant) was formed by the joint forces of humans and nature about 100 years ago when the turbulent Colorado River breached the levee of an early irrigation diversion channel and flooded the low-lying desert of Imperial and Riverside counties.

According to the Water Education Association, although it was once California’s largest fresh water lake, the 360-square mile Salton Sea today is saltier than the Pacific Ocean. Without a natural outlet, water trapped more than 200 feet below sea level in this massive desert sink continually evaporates, increasing the salt content in the remaining water and threatening the sea’s fishery. It is a natural process; one embodied in the highly saline Great Salt Lake in Utah and the Dead Sea of the Middle East.

Under natural conditions the Salton Sea might well have evaporated by now, following the course set by Ancient Lake Cahuilla, if it weren’t for artificial inflow from agricultural drainage, storm runoff and wastewater discharges from Mexico and California.

Yet in an ironic twist, this vital supply of water that empties to the sea–showing the rate of salinity increase and sustaining its wildlife–also causes problems. Salt, selenium and pesticides are carried into the sea with agricultural return flows, which originate largely from Imperial Valley farms.

Attention also has focused on the poor quality of water in the New River at the Mexico-California boundary, although there is some controversy over whether pollutants that originate in Mexico or California are the greatest threat to the sea itself and the wildlife of the area.