The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline lake located 226 feet below sea level, occupying the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside counties in Southern California. With an average surface area of 1,360 square km, it is the largest lake in California. Yet, just a century ago, the lake didn’t even exist.
The Salton Sea was a vast geological depression, a dry bed, that was often referred to as the “Colorado Desert” throughout the Spanish period of California's history. A flood in 1905 poured the Colorado River into the sink, and by the time authorities managed to stop the flooding two years later, the largest lake in California had already formed.