The Salton Sea, California's largest lake, may soon become a desert playground. The lake is shrinking as it competes against coastal cities for dwindling water resources in a historic drought.
For centuries, the Colorado River periodically emptied into a body of water known as Lake Cahuilla on the northern reaches of the Gulf of California. The Salton Sea was created there in 1905 when the river breached a dike, flooding the basin for two years, 225 feet below sea level, and bringing farmers to California's Imperial Valley.
In this photo, an air of decline and strange beauty permeates the Salton Sea as steam rises from geothermal mud pots near its banks close to Niland, California, evidence of the region's vast geothermal activity, April 29, 2015.