Month: January 2012

Los Angeles, CA: The Salton Sea Part I

The Salton Sea State Recreation Area is an arid, highly saline lake about 2 1/2 hours east of LA. Borrowing from Wikipedia

As a result, the Salton Sink or Salton Basin has long been alternately a fresh water lake and a dry desert basin, depending on random river flows and the balance between inflow and evaporative loss. A lake would exist only when it was replenished by the river and rainfall, a cycle that repeated itself countless times over hundreds of thousands of years

The sea was created in the early 20th century when the Colorodo River overflowed and burst down into the area known as the Salton Sink. After the flood waters died down, authorities investigated damming the river to prevent such a flood from happening again, leading to the development of the Hoover Dam. Since the Salton Sea had no outlet, the ecosystem was put on a sort of contained overdrive. The salinity is much greater than seawater since the water has nowhere to go but up.

Most striking, however, are the fish die-offs. Due to an abundance of algae and hence a large fish population that feeds on the algae, deoxygenation of the water results in massive fish deaths. Various parasites and bacteria have been discovered that would also contribute to the mortality rate, on top of the salinity of the water.

All of this makes for a really interesting site to take pictures. I had heard only briefly of the area from a photography teacher and one other student, so one weekend I decided to check it out for myself. But first, I would need some gear. (more…)