Colorado River Delta
June 28, 2004
The Colorado River is the largest watershed in the southwestern US, emptying into the Salton Trough before reaching the Sea of Cortez. Over the past 2-3 million years, river sediments built a delta that extends from the US-Mexico border for a distance of 87 miles (140 km). However, today the Colorado River delta is undergoing significant erosion and diminishing in size due to the lack of sediment replenishment from upstream sources. This image highlights the generally arid setting of the Colorada River delta estuary at its terminus and at low tide. The Desierto de Altar occupies the right portion of the image. The extensive white salt flats to the southeast of the Cienega (wetland) de Santa Clara are clearly visible. This brackish wetland is a major stopover point for Pacific shore bird migrations and is maintained by groundwater pumped from the southwestern USA.
Topics: Water, Physical geography, Geography, United States, Environment, Colorado River Delta, River deltas, Lower Colorado River Valley, Groundwater, Colorado desert, Colorado River