Laguna Salada (Mexico)

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Laguna Salada
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Laguna Salada
Location in Baja California
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Laguna Salada
Location in Mexico
Location Sonoran Desert
Mexicali Municipality, Baja California
Coordinates 32°22′N115°39′W / 32.36°N 115.65°W / 32.36; -115.65 Coordinates: 32°22′N115°39′W / 32.36°N 115.65°W / 32.36; -115.65
Lake type Endorheic basin
EtymologySalty lagoon in Spanish
Primary inflows rain dependent
Primary outflows Terminal (evaporation)
Basin  countries Mexico
Max. length60 km (37 mi)
Max. width17 km (11 mi)
Shore length1250 km (160 mi)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Laguna Salada (Spanish, "salty lagoon") is a vast dry lake some 10 meters below sea level in the Sonoran Desert of Baja California, 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Mexicali. [1] This lake was called "Ha wi mək" in Cocopah language and "Ha-sa-ai" in Kumeyaay language.[ citation needed ] The lake's shape vaguely resembles a rhombus. When dry, the flatness of the exposed lake bed sediments makes it a favoured location for recreational driving. It is also notorious for its dust storms when dry, usually the result of monsoonal thunderstorms during the summer. During times of significant rain the lagoon can fill completely with water, leaving the unpaved road along its west bank as the only means of traversing the area. Flanked by the Sierra de Los Cucapah and the Sierra de Juárez mountain ranges, the lake is approximately 60 km (37 mi) long and 17 km (11 mi) at its widest point.


Tectonic activity

The lake itself is located on the bottom of a shallow depression, a graben, which is linked to the San Andreas Fault, and the East Pacific Rise as part of the Laguna Salada Fault. This fault is connected to the Salton Trough fault which holds a similar depression, the Salton Sink. This sink is bigger than Laguna Salada and contains the Salton Sea. [2] The 2010 Baja California earthquake occurred here.

See also

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Salton Sink Geographic sink in California

The Salton Sink is the low point of an endorheic basin, a closed drainage system with no outflows to other bodies of water, in the Colorado Desert sub region of the Sonoran Desert. The sink falls within the larger Salton Trough and separates the Coachella Valley from the Imperial Valley, which are also segments of the Salton Trough. The lowest point of the sink is 269 ft (82 m) below sea level, and since 1906 the 343 square miles (890 km2) Salton Sea has filled the lowest portion of the sink to a water depth of up to 43 ft (13 m).

Elsinore Fault Zone Geological fault in California

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Laguna Salada Fault Mexico–United States geological fault

The Laguna Salada Fault is a geological fault between the United States and Mexico. About 64–80 kilometers (40–50 mi) long, it straddles the Imperial County-California–Baja California border.

Imperial Fault Zone

The Imperial Fault Zone is a system of geological faults located in Imperial County in the Southern California region, and adjacent Baja California state in Mexico. It cuts across the border between the United States and Mexico.

The Brawley Seismic Zone (BSZ), also known as the Brawley fault zone, is a predominantly extensional tectonic zone that connects the southern terminus of the San Andreas Fault with the Imperial Fault in Southern California. The BSZ is named for the nearby town of Brawley in Imperial County, California, and the seismicity there is characterized by earthquake swarms.

Cerro Prieto is a volcano located approximately 29 km (18 mi) SSE of Mexicali in the Mexican state of Baja California. The volcano lies astride a spreading center associated with the East Pacific Rise. This spreading center is also responsible for a large geothermal field which has been harnessed to generate electric power by the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station.

The Cerro Prieto Fault is a transform fault located in far northern Baja California. It runs between the Cerro Prieto spreading center located southwest of Mexicali, and the Wagner Basin, another spreading center which lies under the Gulf of California. These spreading centers are part of the East Pacific Rise, the northern leg of which has formed the Gulf of California by steadily rifting the Baja California Peninsula away from the mainland of Mexico.

The 1940 El Centro earthquake occurred at 21:35 Pacific Standard Time on May 18 in the Imperial Valley in southeastern Southern California near the international border of the United States and Mexico. It had a moment magnitude of 6.9 and a maximum perceived intensity of X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It was the first major earthquake to be recorded by a strong-motion seismograph located next to a fault rupture. The earthquake was characterized as a typical moderate-sized destructive event with a complex energy release signature. It was the strongest recorded earthquake to hit the Imperial Valley, and caused widespread damage to irrigation systems and led to the deaths of nine people.

Salton Trough

The Salton Trough is an active tectonic pull-apart basin, or graben. It lies within the Imperial, Riverside, and San Diego counties of southeastern California, United States and extends south of the Mexico–United States border into the state of Baja California, Mexico. The northwestern end of the trough starts at the San Gorgonio Pass in Riverside County, and extends 115 miles (185 km) southeast to the Gulf of California. Major geographical features located in the trough include the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, and the Imperial Valley, in the United States, and the western side of the Mexicali Valley, and the Colorado River Delta in Mexico.

The 1892 Laguna Salada earthquake occurred at 23:20 Pacific Standard Time on February 23. It had an estimated moment magnitude of 7.1–7.2 and a maximum perceived intensity of VIII (Severe). The shock was centered near the Mexico–United States border and takes its name from a large dry lake bed in Baja California, Mexico. There were no reported casualties, but the event affected the then largely-uninhabited areas of northern Mexico and Southern California.

Lake Cahuilla Prehistoric lake in the Salton Sea basin of California

Lake Cahuilla was a prehistoric lake in California and northern Mexico. Located in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, it covered surface areas of 5,700 km2 (2,200 sq mi) to a height of 12 m (39 ft) above sea level during the Holocene. During earlier stages of the Pleistocene, the lake reached even higher elevations, up to 31–52 m (102–171 ft) above sea level. During the Holocene most of the water came from the Colorado River with little contribution from local runoff; in the Pleistocene local runoff was higher and it is possible that Lake Cahuilla was supported solely from local water sources during the Wisconsin glaciation. The lake overflowed close to Cerro Prieto into the Rio Hardy, eventually draining into the Gulf of California.

The Salton Buttes are a group of volcanoes in California, on the Salton Sea. They consist of a 7-kilometer (4.3 mi)-long row of five lava domes, named Mullet Island, North Red Hill, Obsidian Butte, Rock Hill and South Red Hill. They are closely associated with a fumarolic field and a geothermal field, and there is evidence of buried volcanoes underground. In pre-modern times Obsidian Butte was an important regional source of obsidian.

Laguna salada may refer to:


  1. "Land Below Sea Level". By David K. Lynch, Thule Scientific.
  2. "Geology of the Salton Trough" (PDF). David L. Alles, Western Washington University.