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

The origins of the Salton Sea can be traced back to the late 1800s.  It was a time when the United States was embarking on a mission to ‘reclaim’ many of its deserts and transform them into productive farmland by diverting water from nearby rivers.

The creation of the Salton Sea was an accident.  It was created in the early 1900s when 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, filling the low lying lands, and creating the Salton Sea.  This was not the only occasion a body of water had formed at this location, but it was the first time humankind had caused it.

During the Salton Sea’s life it 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 has grown increasingly scarce and more valuable, less and less is 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