Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/9

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY



JANUARY, 1907



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SALTON SEA
By CHARLES ALMA BYERS
LOS ANGELES, CAL.

THROUGH temporarily losing control over the Imperial Valley irrigation system in southern California, there has been suggested the possibility of creating an immense inland sea. This sea would extend from Volcano Lake in Mexico to a point a few miles north of Indio, California, and would spread over an area of 1,700 square miles, with a maximum depth of 280 feet. It would be fed by an irrigation canal intersecting the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona, and its overflow would be carried into the Gulf of California by the lower part of the same river. It would submerge many acres of irrigated and irrigable land, about a dozen fair-sized towns of more or less importance, several miles of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and a number of rich deposits of valuable minerals. And the ability to create such a sea or lake lies simply in abandoning the present effort to regain control over this irrigation system.

Dealing still further with possibilities of this nature, it may be pointed out that the feed canal of this inland sea could be widened and dredged; and thereby could be created a channel sufficient in dimensions for the entry of boats from the Gulf. This would make it possible for coast steamers to ply between ports on the Pacific Coast and a lake port that might be established near the present site of the town of Indio, at the foot of the eastern slope of the Sierra Madre Mountains, and with a latitude almost parallel with the city of Los Angeles. It is true that if the effort now being made to regain control over this rebellious system of irrigation should be abandoned to-day, and nature be permitted to reign supreme and unaided by man, it would be several years before the Colorado River could possibly complete the creation of the lake;