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Lake Cahuilla


Quoted from Wikipedia:


"Prehistoric Lake 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 MexicaliEl Centro, and Indio.

Lake 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.

Old Shoreline of Lake Cahuilla, Santa Rosa Mountainsnear the Salton Sea

The 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.

Malcolm 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).

Native 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, Typhatule, 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)."


For pictures and info about the park please visit this website:


Lorraine and I showing off our matching shirts

John 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.


Design by Angela 2008

Email: radar231@hotmail.com