Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Salton Sea earthquakes warning for the Big One in California, hydropolitics

Salton Sea's beautiful shores on a sunny afternoon. Once a popular oasis or beach resort town in 1950s, today it is a surreal ghost town that is rarely visited except by curious travellers. Salton Sea is featured in the epic abandoned travel opus Atlas Oscura.
Recent visitor to Salton Sea. Photo from Mentalfloss. The sea once irrigated adjacent farmlands that have since dried up. The sea itself is polluted with petroleum and its once existing sea life vanished.

The Salton Sea in Southern California, East of San Diego not far from the U.S.-Mexico border has been experiencing several mini earthquakes over the past months. Quakes in Salton Sea are not uncommon. The sea seats on the San Andres Fault as the majority of the state and important cities in California also sit on the fault. California is part of the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire. The frequency of the sea's continual quakes are unusual. Seismologists have been warning for years that California is long overdue for the Big One. The Big One being a massive earthquake that could dwarf the 1906 Earthquake and Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. As a sign of Mother Nature's dark humour, the current wildfires in Santa Cruz area has occurred in the nearby Loma Prieta Mountains where the 1989 earthquake received its name. If or when the Big One occurs, it is expected to destroy hundreds of lives, lead to environmental contamination and billions of dollars worth of infrastructure. The affected cities would be San Diego, Palm Springs, aftershocks hitting towns as far away as Bakersfield in the Central Valley and San Luis Obisopo not far from Cal Poly Institute near Santa Barbara and smaller towns including Salton Sea's own Bombay Beach. Ignored by the national media but noticed by local media especially in the Los Angeles, Coachella area, the Salton Sea quakes have many residents worried. Earthquakes are still the only natural disasters scientists can not predict. The mini quakes are at least the first time that Mother Nature might be using her own red flag warning to give the state a "heads up" if the San Andres Fault gives way to a 9.5 quake (figuratively speaking) and its equally destructive aftershocks. Generally, the aftershocks are often deadlier than the actual earthquake as been proven in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Nepal, Italy and Turkey.

Salton Sea in the 1950s with beach goers at a boat launch. Today, the Salton Sea's abandoned landscape hardly resembles its former self.

1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake that struck the Bay Area, San Francisco-Oakland

The Salton Sea in Californian desert is an inland sea that has witnessed the changing climate for half a century. In the 1950s, the shores of the Salton Sea was a desert oasis resort frequented by vacationers from nearby towns and cities in the Coachella Valley and Imperial County. Today, the shores of the Salton Sea are pretty much a ghost town. and many 60 year old +abandoned buildings and vans that can still be seen by curious travellers and extreme thrill seekers.

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