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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/22

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

along the rim of the desert, and in the southern part there are about 300 acres covered with mud volcanoes or geysers that spout forth mud of various colors and consistency, containing rare minerals which some day may become of importance. Oil-bearing rocks are found along the west side, forming a belt at the foot of the mountains and extending into the area lying below sea level, from which ooze heavy asphaltic oils, and which will some time develop into a rich oil-producing district. South of the California line, in Mexico, and lying below sea level, there are also valuable and extensive deposits of sulphur; and then in the surrounding mountains, which, however, would not suffer from the lake, are found large deposits of gold, silver and copper and mines of kunzite and tourmaline gems.

Altogether, this is an interesting country. It offers many realities, and as many, or more, possibilities. At present it is battling with an unusual problem, and we are assured by engineers that it stands on the eve of victory—at last. It has met defeat bravely six times, and therefore let us hope that the seventh attempt will be crowned with reward.

Author's Note.—About the first of last November, shortly after this article was written, the dams and headgates constructed to shut the Colorado River out of Salton Sink were put into use. Up to this time the Southern Pacific Company, after finishing the headgates mentioned, had continued work until it had practically diked the river for a distance of more than ten miles, and had expended upon the work a sum in excess of $1,500,000. The test of the completed work at that time seemed to assure the successful capture of the runaway river, and there was general rejoicing. A month later, however, the river rose to flood tide, and on the night of December 7, last, it again broke through its natural channel bounds and is again pouring into Salton Sink. The condition to-day is as bad as it was six months ago, and the possibilities of a permanent 'Salton Sea' are now more pronounced than ever. The river must be controlled within six months, or the Imperial Valley will suffer greatly. The Southern Pacific Company, at present, hesitate to again fight the river, and it is probable that the United States government will be asked to lend assistance. The recent break occurred just below the new dike, and has already eroded a canyon-like channel. As pointed out by the writer, the banks of the Colorado River in this vicinity are low and of a very loose material, consequently easily eroded, and to assure a lasting solution to the problem about twenty more miles of dike will be necessary. This, too, must be built soon—before the river channel above the break is cut much deeper.