Thursday, February 13, 2014

Salton Sea: Wonders of Biology

WARNING: Designed by nature's finest.  Not for the squeemish or faint of heart.
The Salton Sea in California's desert is a huge lake that shouldn't be. 
Created accidentally at the beginning of the 20th century when irrigation routes from the Colorado River flooded the Salton Sink in the Coachella Valley. 

The spot was a popular tourist spot, and properties were snapped up by celebrities like Sonny Bono. 

After all, how often is there new waterfront property? 

Of course, with no consistent water source the Salton Sea's water level fluctuates wildly, and the salinity grows ever higher, much of it being leeched out of the surrounding land (which also takes with it pesticides). 

By the 1970s, the water could no longer support the fish that called it home, and they died off by the millions, washing ashore.

 The area is described as smelling like an old fish market on a hot day. 

You might drive past and think it looks like a nice, quiet beach with sandy white shores - but the "sand" only looks so white because it is actually made from the bones of millions of dead fish.

The stench of rotting fish, as you can imagine, drives away those who once made Salton City (and neighboring Bombay Beach) their home. 

In its heyday, millions of people passed through the Salton Sea every year. 

 As of the 2010 census, Salton Sea Beach reported about 400 residents; Bombay Beach reported barely 300.  

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