Friday, March 16, 2012

Salton Sea: The Accidental Sea

On our way home to San Diego from Indian Wells, CA where we spent our weekend watching BNP Paribas Open, we took a longer route home via the Salton Sea
 Salton Sea

 to North Algodones Sand Dunes, or Imperial Sand Dunes then back to San Diego. 
North Algodones Sand Dunes
The Salton Sea is one of the world's largest inland seas and one of the lowest spots on Earth at -227 ft.
It is a shallow, saline lake which was created by flood in 1905. Water from Colorado River flowed into the area. The resulting flood poured down the canal and breached an Imperial Valley dike, eroding two watercourses. These watercourses sporadically carried the entire volume of the Colorado River to the Salton Sink. Thus, Salton Sea is otherwise known as the "accidental sea". The salinity of Salton Sea is greater than the Pacific Ocean, but less than the Great Salt lake. 
 Egret @ Salton Sea
The abundant fish (mostly tilapia) in Salton Sea attracts migratory birds to the area. The Salton Sea has one of the most diverse bird species in the West. More than 375 bird species have been recorded in the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley regions. 
White Pelicans @ Salton Sea
Black-Necked Stilt In Flight
If you notice the shoreline in the first picture above, you see dead tilapia scattered around. Tilapia are warm water fish and in the winter, when the desert temperature drops drastically, some of them can not survive the cold and dies. However, in the summer during extreme heat, fish die-offs also occur during heat waves which sap the oxygen from the water because of natural biological and chemical reactions. Despite these changes however, this accidental sea still hosts millions of fish in its shallow water. There are an estimated of 200 million tilapia in the Salton Sea.

More from this trip in my later posts.......
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  1. Blue sky, blue sea.

    And lovely birds.

    What a wonderful world.

  2. Wonderful information on the Salton Sea, Betchai, and it's amazing that it was accidentally created.

    On the tilapia issue, if there were so many tilapia there, why do we still imported this fish from China?

    Gorgeous photos as always!

  3. Hi there always I am left breathless at the beauty of nature you have awesomely captured...those wings in flight and at rest remind me of God's generosity...

  4. The Salton Sea is a somewhat strange place, but I do love the birdlife there. There is a wonderful refuge at the southern end, the Sonny Bono NWR.

  5. I love the sea. The white pelicans seem to be in a caucus of some sort and the black-necked stilts are graceful in flight. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I never knew this about Salton Sea or about the tilapias. Perhaps that is why there are so many birds here.

  7. I didn't know about the Salton Sea but it sure looks like a great place to watch birds. The egret, pelicans and stilts are all beautiful.

  8. What a beautiful place the Salton Sea is. The water looks so blue and inviting.

  9. I never knew that was how Salton Sea was formed.

  10. takes my breath away... ahhhhh, the beauty of God's amazing masterpieces!

  11. I love the lines and waves of the dunes! I did not see as much pelicans when we were there last January.

    Simply love those blue skies!

  12. Hehehe, I cut off my name, that was me.

  13. Learned a lot from this post, Ms. Betchai. At nagulat ako sa dami ng tilapia sa Salton Sea.

    As usual, you have great photos, Ms. Betchai. My favorite is the second one which speaks to me of vastness.

  14. I can't believe there are that many fish even though so many of them die in the summer and winter. It must be a popular fishing spot.

  15. Beautiful sceneries with wonderful beings gracing them. :D