The Salton Sea is an inland body of water located in southern California USA.  Its surface is almost two hundred feet / sixty meters below sea level.

The origins of the modern Salton Sea can be traced back to the late 1800s.  In that era the United States was making a concerted effort to ‘reclaim’ its deserts.  ‘Reclaiming’, or reclamation is a process where farmland is created by diverting water from nearby rivers into desert regions with rich soil.

The creation of the Salton Sea was an accident.  In the early 1900s floods from the Colorado River inundated a poorly controlled canal system that was used for delivering irrigation water to the Imperial Valley, CA, USA.  For almost two years, the entire flow of the Colorado River swept through the canal system.  It filled the low lying lands in the Salton Sink and created the Salton Sea.  This was not the first occasion a body of water formed at this location.  It was however the first time humankind had caused it.

During its life the Salton Sea has provided habitats for birds, fish, and other wildlife.  For many decades it offered a variety of activities to enjoy, including swimming, boating, and other recreational pursuits.  But as water in California, USA grew increasingly scarce and more valuable, less was available to sustain the Salton Sea.  Water is life for the Salton Sea.  Without a reliable source, the sea will eventually die.

The information presented on this website has been meticulously researched and documented.  Most of the sources are from the writings and photographs of people who personally witnessed these historical events.  The images available on this site are spectacularly detailed and will allow you to see the history exactly as it was over a hundred years ago.  Several amazing panoramic images that did not exist in their present form until now are exhibited here for the first time.

Please have fun exploring the Life of the Salton Sea and then discover the Rise of the Salton Sea.

Life of the Salton Sea