Quoted from Wikipedia:
Cahuilla (also known as Lake LeConte and Blake Sea) was an extensive
freshwater lake that filled the Coachella, Imperial, and Mexicali valleys of
southeastern California and northeastern Baja California during the centuries
prior to Spanish entry into the region. The Salton
Sea, now about 55-kilometre (34 mi) long, 25-kilometre (16 mi) wide, and at
an elevation of 69 m (226 ft) below sea level), which was accidentally
created in 1905, is a much smaller analog of its prehistoric predecessor Lake
Cahuilla, that was about 180-kilometre (110 mi) long, 50-kilometre (31 mi) wide,
and rising to 12-metre (39 ft) above sea level, drowning the present sites of
the cities of Mexicali, El
Centro, and Indio.
Cahuilla was created when the lower Colorado
River shifted its course within its delta. Instead of flowing directly
south to the head of the Gulf
of California, the river's waters were diverted northwest into the Salton
Basin, the base of which lay about 80-kilometre (50 mi) below sea level. Under
climatic conditions similar to those of the early twentieth century, it would
have taken about two decades of uninterrupted river flow to fill the basin to
12-metre (39 ft) above sea level (D. Weide 1976; Wilke 1978; Waters 1983;
Laylander 1997). At that point, the lake would have overflowed to the south,
feeding half of its waters through the Rio
Hardy to the Gulf but losing the other half through evaporation. When
the river shifted its course back to the south, the isolated basin would have
taken more than five decades to completely dry out again.
former presence of a large lake in the Salton Basin was remembered by the
region's historic-period native inhabitants, the Cahuilla and
the Kumeyaay (Wilke
1978; Laylander 2004). By the mid-nineteenth century, Euro-American visitors,
including the geologist William
Phipps Blake (1858), had recognized the lake's traces, including tufa deposits
along the maximum shoreline, beaches, and deposits of freshwater mollusk shells.
J. Rogers (1945),
a pioneering archaeologist in the region, examined aboriginal pottery left on
shoreline sites and concluded that the lake had been present between about 1000
and 1500. Subsequent studies have established that there were not one but
several different high stands of the lake, both prior to 1000 and subsequent to
1500, including a stand as late as the seventeenth century, when Spanish
explorers had already reached the lower Colorado River although not entering the
Salton Basin (Wilke 1978; Waters 1983; Laylander 1997; Love and Dahdul 2002).
peoples harvested a range of resources associated with Lake Cahuilla in the
otherwise-parched Colorado Desert. Prominent were freshwater fish (primarily bonytail, Gila
elegans, and razorback
sucker,Xyrauchen texanus), freshwater
mussels (Anodonta dejecta), water birds (particularly American
coot,Fulica americana), and marsh plants (cattail, Typha, tule, Scirpus,
and reed, Phragmites).
Researchers have disagreed as to how important the role of Lake Cahuilla
resources was within native subsistence strategies, and consequently how
dramatically the lake's rises and falls shaped the region's late prehistory.
Some have envisioned many permanent or semi-permanent settlements on the shores,
producing severe regional upheavals when their supporting resources disappeared,
while other researchers have seen the lake as only a marginal area within stable
regional subsistence patterns (e.g., Aschmann 1959; M. Weide 1976; Wilke 1978;
Schaefer 1994; Laylander 2006)."
pictures and info about the park please visit this website:
and I showing off our matching shirts
and I spent the next couple weeks relaxing, shopping, golfing, cleaning our lot
and the coach. Our next event was the Tamale Festival. You can't miss it. Lots
of food and entertainment.