Salton Basin Research Paper

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Today, the Salton Basin is 35 miles long, 15 miles wide, and 30 feet deep (2). It is also around 228 feet below sea level (2). It’s current salinity is around 48,000 milligrams per liter, or 37 percent higher than the Pacific Ocean which allows only for salt-tolerant fish and birds to survive (2). The Salton Basin of Imperial Valley is one of the most biologically diverse areas in California with over 400 species and subspecies found there (2). Common mammals that can be found in the Imperial Valley are raccoons, coyotes, striped skunks, desert pocket mice, Merriam 's kangaroo rats, desert cottontails, Valley pocket gophers, and Round-tailed ground squirrels. Some of the mammals that live in Imperial Valley are nocturnal so it may be hard to …show more content…

Four million birds are estimated to use the Sea each day in the winter, more than any other resource in the nation” (DesertUSA, The Salton Sea, CA). Some rare birds that can be seen on special occasion are Bald Eagles, White Ibises, Pine Warblers, Red Crossbills, and over fifty other rarities. Some common birds are: killdeer, Caspian terns, American Avocets, Great Egrets, burrowing owls, Black-necked stilts, and Black skimmers (5). One species, the Yuma Clapper rail, relies heavily on the survival of the Salton Sea because around 40% of all Yuma Clapper rails in the United States live in the basin. These birds were listed as endangered on March 11, 1967 and also rely on the basin for crayfish to eat. In addition to birds, plenty of fish can be found in the basin and fishermen frequent the basin in search of Tilapia (3). Tilapia can be found by the hundreds in the basin along with corvina and an occasional striped bass, mullet, croaker, or sargo (3). The endangered pupfish, though rare, also rely on the basin for survival (10). Pupfish are also the only native species in the Salton Sea, thriving in shallow bodies of water with a high salt and heat …show more content…

The lower parts have been submerged and desiccated, shown by the layers of travertine, strand formations, and beaches (9). Scientists can infer that the basin was once filled with seawater due to the discovery of fossilized marine shells, corals, and oysters in the rock (9). The fossils are now above tide-level showing a change in elevation of the region (9). Dr. Stephen Bowers, who studies the region, writes, "The water of the old Tertiary Sea, which once prevailed here, must have been extremely favorable to the propagation and growth of mollusks, especially oysters”. There is also evidence of volcanic activity around the area in the form of craters stemming from Pinacate, an extinct volcano (9). Mud volcanoes, which release hot water, mud, and steam, are also evident in the area (9). Some important elements have been discovered in the region including sulphur deposits, sodium carbonate, and even gold (9). Changes in the course of the Colorado river have caused certain channels to dry up and shifts in the river-bed have probably taken place over the past centuries (9). Besides the ever changing land formation, the area itself is constantly dry (9). The highest temperatures are during the summer months, particularly July, when temperatures can spike to 121 degrees Fahrenheit (9). The lowest temperatures are in January, when it can dip down all the way to 24

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