Thursday, June 5, 2008

Salton Sea, California

At the north end of the Imperial Valley lies the Salton Sea.

This is the largest lake in California and its surface lies approximately 235 feet below sea level and the bed of the Salton Sea is only five feet higher than the lowest spot in Death Valley.

The Salton Sea was originally a fresh water lake. But, because it is a closed system with no outlet, water is lost only through evaporation. The salts from the surrounding environment have been concentrated in the sea for many years, and now it is slightly saltier than the ocean but much less so than Utah's Great Salt Lake. Birds and fish thrive in and around the Salton Sea.
The sun evaporates 18% of the sea's volume every year, but the salt is left behind. The sea receives only about 3” of rain each year. The rest of the water that it receives is agricultural runoff from the Imperial Valley and it is this runoff that deposits vast amounts of salts into the lake.

It once had a thriving tourist industry. However, from what we saw – the area is in a serious decline.
On to San Diego...

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