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USGS has a long history of interdisciplinary research in the Salton Sea basin. Browse the publications below for more information about our research.

Filter Total Items: 131

Relationships among seismic velocity, metamorphism, and seismic and aseismic fault slip in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field region

The Salton Sea Geothermal Field is one of the most geothermally and seismically active areas in California and presents an opportunity to study the effect of high-temperature metamorphism on the properties of seismogenic faults. The area includes numerous active tectonic faults that have recently been imaged with active source seismic reflection and refraction. We utilize the active source surveys

Evidence for a marine incursion along the lower Colorado River corridor

Foraminiferal assemblages in the stratigraphically lower part of the Bouse Formation in the Blythe Basin indicate marine conditions whereas assemblages in the upper part of the Bouse Formation indicate lacustrine conditions and suggest the presence of a saline lake. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages in the lower part of the Bouse Formation are similar to lagoonal and inner neritic biofacies of th

Borehole-explosion and air-gun data acquired in the 2011 Salton Seismic Imaging Project (SSIP), southern California: description of the survey

The Imperial and Coachella Valleys are being formed by active plate-tectonic processes. From the Imperial Valley southward into the Gulf of California, plate motions are rifting the continent apart. In the Coachella Valley, the plates are sliding past one another along the San Andreas and related faults (fig. 1). These processes build the stunning landscapes of the region, but also produce damagin

Genetic structure, diversity and subspecies status of Gull-billed Terns (Gelochelidon nilotica) from the United States

Gull-billed Terns (Gelochelidon nilotica) are among the most widespread, yet scarce, Charadriiformes in the world. Two subspecies are recognized in the United States: G. n. aranea breeds along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts and G. n. vanrossemi breeds in the Salton Sea and San Diego Bay of California. Conservation concerns exist for the species due to its low abundance in the United States and

Salton Sea ecosystem monitoring and assessment plan

The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, provides essential habitat for several fish and wildlife species and is an important cultural and recreational resource. It has no outlet, and dissolved salts contained in the inflows concentrate in the Salton Sea through evaporation. The salinity of the Salton Sea, which is currently nearly one and a half times the salinity of ocean water, has been incre

A preliminary deposit model for lithium brines

This report is part of an effort by the U.S. Geological Survey to update existing mineral deposit models and to develop new ones. The global transition away from hydrocarbons toward energy alternatives increases demand for many scarce metals. Among these is lithium, a key component of lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. Lithium brine deposits account for about three-fourths of

Groundwater quality in Coachella Valley, California

Groundwater provides more than 40 percent of California’s drinking water. To protect this vital resource, the State of California created the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The Priority Basin Project of the GAMA Program provides a comprehensive assessment of the State’s groundwater quality and increases public access to groundwater-quality information. Coachella Vall

Selenium in aquatic biota inhabiting agricultural drains in the Salton Sea Basin, California

Resource managers are concerned that water conservation practices in irrigated farmlands along the southern border of the Salton Sea, Imperial County, California, could increase selenium concentrations in agricultural drainwater and harm the desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), a federally protected endangered species. As part of a broader attempt to address this concern, we conducted a 3-year

Strategic science plan Salton Sea restoration project

The Salton Sea is an ecosystem in peril. Its prehistory consists of a series of intermittent lakes dependent on infrequent flooding of the Colorado River, while the modern Salton Sea originated from the desire to harness the flow of the Colorado River for irrigation. What began as an accident of this attempt is now a permanent inland sea supported by wastewater and agricultural drainage rather tha

A new perspective on the geometry of the San Andreas Fault in southern California and its relationship to lithospheric structure

The widely held perception that the San Andreas fault (SAF) is vertical or steeply dipping in most places in southern California may not be correct. From studies of potential‐field data, active‐source imaging, and seismicity, the dip of the SAF is significantly nonvertical in many locations. The direction of dip appears to change in a systematic way through the Transverse Ranges: moderately southw

Loading of the San Andreas fault by flood-induced rupture of faults beneath the Salton Sea

The southern San Andreas fault has not experienced a large earthquake for approximately 300 years, yet the previous five earthquakes occurred at ~180-year intervals. Large strike-slip faults are often segmented by lateral stepover zones. Movement on smaller faults within a stepover zone could perturb the main fault segments and potentially trigger a large earthquake. The southern San Andreas fault

Unusual dominance by desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius) in experimental ponds within the Salton Sea Basin

In October 2006, months after shallow experimental ponds in the Salton Sea Basin were filled with water from the Alamo River and Salton Sea, fish were observed in several ponds, although inlets had been screened to exclude fish. During October 2007–November 2009, nine surveys were conducted using baited minnow traps to document species and relative abundance of fish. Surveys yielded 3,620 fish rep