Sunday, February 19, 2006

Salton Sea Sign of California Rifting/ Rising Seas Deadly For State

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I used to swim in the Salton Sea. It is a classic rift zone lake. When looking at Africa, for example, we can easily call it "the Great Rift Zone" but when looking at California, we call the same rift, "the Central Valley" which sounds very comforting, right? Well, it is a Great Rift Zone, too, with the earthquakes and volcanoes associated will all such places!

From Associated Press:
Intensified development in flood-prone parts of Missouri and California significantly raise the risk of New Orleans-style flooding in urban areas on the Mississippi and Sacramento rivers, researchers said Saturday.
Hell, how about earthquakes? The reason these places are prone to flooding is due to rifting of the continent. Missouri is interesting because it is in the middle of the country which kind of sags down, doesn't it? Even as it is being pushed by the slowly expanding Atlantic Plate, it isn't mountain forming anywhere along the eastern half of the country, the mountain building is mostly to the west! Where the Pacific Plate is shoving hard.

California's woes are far more dangerous than the Midwest's due to global warming and the fact the earth has decided to undergo some very severe furniture rearrangements which Mother Nature has taken a hankering to do. Here is today's earthquake map:

Interesting how nearly all these are deep in the earth as well as similar in size except for one which is one magnitude higher. If this were a diagram of a bell ringing, it would look like this. Evenly mirroring each other! Except one place: North America!

Why the silence? The earth has been contorting itself pretty violently this last 14 months. The plate taking the most blows has been the opposite side of the planet from California. Thinking that this tremendous activity is not translating to our end of the planet is insanity.

It is building up relentlessly.

Here is a map of California after the seas rise just another 2' which is less than if or when Greenland melts, and god help us, Antarctica, if they both go, the seas will rise many feet and kiss most of civilization goodbye, at least their ports and homes.

But just two feet rise eliminates most habitable parts of California. Unlike, say, Holland, we can't dike in the entire West Coast. Aside from the frequent earthquakes, the ocean is a very powerful energetic beast. Huge waves beating relentlessly upon the shores. This is why people can "surf" there! The Gulf of Mexico is a bathtub, California level waves occuring only during hurricanes.

Even so, we can't fend New Orleans from storms! The rift valley of California is already preparing itself for joining the ocean. My favorite example is the Salton Sea. Supposedly, it formed when dikes along the Colorado broke back in the floods of the early 1920s. But since then, now that no water is coming in directly from any source of river, it should have dried up totally, long ago, it being an extremely dry desert there.

But it has grown. So the explanation has been "water seeping in from farming." Well, I know the desert. Irrigate like hell, it won't form no lakes, dudes. Otherwise, Phoenix would have been underwater eons ago. Instead, it is drier and drier!

The Salton Sea, seen from space, looks like all rift zone salt water lakes: a finger of the ocean. Namely, it happens when rifts are nearly ready to join up with the nearest ocean. Baja is one long segement of land that used to be attached to Mexico and as the rifting process proceeds, it tears open like a zipper, zzzp. The rift zone will go all the way up to Long Valley which runs alongside Death Valley. This is a very geologically active area, earthquakes as well as volcanic. Eventually, it will erupt long fissures of lava.

The Central Valley which should be called the Central Rift Zone, is cut off from the Baja ocean extention by a group of mountains running alongside the San Andreas fault. This fault's mountains run all the way to San Francisco where it plunges into the sea right where there is a big fat gap letting the ocean flow into the Central Rift Zone. Right now, it isn't flooding that area but it will.

What if we dam it when the world's oceans rise so high, flooding the Central Rift Zone is a problem? Will we farm there?

The answer is no. For the Central Rift Zone will become like the one in Africa or the Holy Land where the Dead Sea lies: uninhabitable and unfarmable. When you irrigate a rift zone, the water rapidly salts the land. This shouldn't surprize us. It seems pretty universal. Just like the Salton Sea.

When I was young, I delighted in swimming there, it is so salty, you are bouyed up and laying upon the water is easy. I loved dangling in the brine, luring fish and wild birds to come and poke at me or sit on me. Maybe they thought I was a corpse. Heh.
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