page 15


page 15
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WATER SUPPLY. 15 Soda Lake, into which the Mohave finally disappears, is known also as Mohave Sink. During the wet season the waters of this lake range from a solution approaching saturation to one containing but 282 parts of solids in 100,000. In the dry season the greater part of the depression is covered with a heavy mineral crust, rich in various salts. New river rises in Mexico, on the delta of colorado river whose overflow waters feed it, and flows northward into the Salton Sink. Other channels across the colorado Desert have a similar origin and direction. One of these is Salton or Alamo river which is almost equal in importance to New river Salton Sink is normally a salt-incrusted depression, whose lowest point is 273 1/2 feet below sea level. For years it was the source of supply of salt for the New Liverpool Salt Company, but it now contains a lake, caused by diversion of the waters of the colorado to it through the New and Salton channels. SPRINGS. In the higher mountains of the desert there are many " hillside " springs, whose source is the rainfall of the immediate neighborhood, but many of these springs are not permanent and are not to be depended on by travelers. The greater permanent springs are deep seated and many of them probably lie along fault lines. Among the springs of this type whose flow seems to be too strong to be accounted for by local rainfall are those at Pahrump, Manse, and Saratoga. Probably because of the depth to which the waters of these springs descend during their long subterranean passage, and the heat and pressure to which they are subject, they become active solvents of mineral matter, and issue along the fractures as heated springs, carrying a large percentage of solids in solution. The waters of many of the desert springs presumably possess valuable therapeutic qualities, and complete quantitative analyses of them are warranted. Other springs furnish only ordinarily wholesome waters, that have acquired a local reputation for the treatment of disease. "Poison springs,'' said to contain arsenic, have been reported from many parts of the desert. The writer has examined the waters of several of these, but has failed to find any arsenic or similar poison, though he has found large quantities of sulphate of soda {Glaubers salt) and some sulphate of magnesia (Epsom salts). Salt Spring, in South Death Valley, is of this character, and prospectors are known to have perished there, so that the spring is called "poison " by many, but it contains only sodium and magnesium salts, and no arsenic or copper.

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