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Birds of the Salton SeaStatus, Biogeography, and Ecology$
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Michael Patten

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520235939

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520235939.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

A History of the Salton Sink

A History of the Salton Sink

Chapter:
(p.xii) (p.1) A History of the Salton Sink
Source:
Birds of the Salton Sea
Author(s):

Michael A. Patten

Guy McCaskie

Philip Unitt

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520235939.003.0001

The Salton Sink lies between the southern Coachella Valley and the northern Mexicali Valley. The long history of the Salton Trough ranges from its connection with the Gulf of California during the Tertiary Period to the maximum spread of Lake Cahuilla beginning some 40,000 years ago. Heavy deposits of silt from the Colorado River eventually accumulated along the southern edge of Gravel Mesa to form a barrier between the former head of the gulf and the current one. The enclosed sea subsequently dried up, but reminders of the saline environment in the form of “oyster-shells and other forms of marine life” are strewn across the base of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains at an elevation of about 100m. The depression resulting from the desiccation of this “trapped” sea was further honed by the uplifting of the surrounding mountains and became a deep basin generally called the Salton Trough.

Keywords:   Salton Sink, Coachella Valley, Mexicali Valley, Salton Trough, Gravel Mesa

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