The Salton Sink is a landlocked extension of the Gulf of California. The Salton Sea is California's largest lake which is 35 miles long, 15 miles wide, and 227 feet BELOW sea level. The Colorado River would flood and fill in the sink and at other times it would bypass the sink, causing the lake to shrink or even to disappear. In 1905, the Colorado River broke through the poorly constructed canals and gates that the CDC had created for use for irrigation. For about 18 months the river's entire volume poured unchecked into the nearest low spot - the Salton Sink. This created the lake that we see today.
By the 1950's the Salton Sea had become a popular resort area with two yachit clubs. A large marina and a championship golf course attracted celebrities, but by the 1960's the increasing saltiness had marred the dream of a desert Eden.