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am 24. August 2008
I think it is remarkable that a rather small part of California could produce such a fascinating (and visually stunning) book but the Salton Sea is a quite remarkable place, especially considering it's only a few decades old. One bit of information that grabbed me is on page forty where a graphic profile of the Sea reveals that it is, on average, only fifty-one feet deep compared with Lake Tahoe which is 1645 feet at its deepest.

The Atlas is sectioned into five chapters: Physical geography, Cultural history, Limnology, Ecology, and Maps. The first four take up about half the pages and assorted maps, index and bibliography the rest. The main strength of the book, I think, are the non-map pages because they present a lot of complex information in a beautifully designed graphic format. Old maps and photographs, charts, illustrations of marine and bird life, cut-away graphics of land and more are all laid out with very clean typography on the large page size. Add quality paper and printing (with a 175 screen) and anyone looking through these pages will be easily drawn into this on going story of the Salton.

The map pages are equally interesting and there really is a lot of technical data here but still presented in an accessible format. The range of information is quite comprehensive, for example: public land ownership, recreation areas, commercial facilities, energy usage, property values and median incomes, early exploration, earthquakes, soil types, surface hydrology right down to four maps showing the Sea's sediment grain size distribution. The nice thing about the maps is that they not only detail the Sea area also large parts of southern California.

This Atlas is a credit to all those who worked on it (and should really be template for any similar publications) for making the Salton come alive in such a stimulating way.
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