Lake Cahuilla: Location And History

Lake Cahuilla is an ancient lake that used to cover 2200 square miles in Northern California and Mexico. Lake LeConte or the Blake Sea are other names for the lake. The lake formed where the Salton Sea is now.

Lake Cahuilla reached from Coachella Valley to Cerro Prieto. It went through Imperial Valley and Coachella Valley. Most of the lake’s water came from the Colorado River, and a small amount came from rain and snowmelt. In the end, the lake filled up, and the water went into the Gulf of California.

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During the Holocene, when Lake Cahuilla was there, it got as high as 39 feet. The lake was even higher in the early Pleistocene, between 102 and 171 feet above sea level.

The geological era we are in now is called the Holocene. Before the Holocene began about 11,700 years ago, the Pleistocene began. The lake was 100 miles long and 35 miles wide at its widest point. The lake could fully hold up to 120 cubic meters of water.

If you look at the lake’s geology, you can see how unique it is. The lake is made when the San Andreas tectonic plate and the Gulf of California plate meet. During the time that the lake has been there, this convergence point has caused many earthquakes and volcanoes to erupt.


Most of the things that could have hurt the lake came from nature. The threat that caused it to go extinct tectonic plates moving stands out the most.

This shifting of the plates probably caused earthquakes and other movements that led to the lake’s eventual disappearance; Lake Cahuilla overflowed near Cerro Prieto and then into the more prominent Gulf of California.

The lake was also changed by what people did. Between 1905 and 1907, an accident caused the Slaton Sea to form close to the lower basin of Lake Cahuilla.

Because of what people did, the Slaton Sea did not grow to be as big as Lake Cahuilla. Instead, when the Slaton Sea dried up, the land it used to be was still used for farming.


Currently, the climate has periods of dryness and heat in the summer. Most of the time, the temperature in the area is between 10°C and 35°C.

There are times when the temperature gets up to 51°C, but the mountains west of the Cahuilla region are usually wetter. The amount of rain and water lost through evaporation can reach up to 2.5 inches and 71 inches per year, respectively. It is harder to figure out what the climate was like during the Pleistocene.


In many ways, the lake’s basin has been important to tourism. For example, archaeological sites have been found on the shores of the ancient lake.

There have been discoveries of old fish bones, signs that the local people lived there, and pieces of pottery that show how the people who lived near the lake lived.

All of these things help bring tourists to the area. The Algodones Dunes, which have grown on the edge of the ancient lake, also bring people to the area.

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