So the lithium is not actually in the lake but in hot brine deep underground. Didn’t know that.
The exciting part is that energy from the hot brine can be used to generate electricity. This is already being done on a commercial scale in the Salton Sea basin. Being able to extract the lithium would be an added bonus. There are other locations in the US and worldwide with similar promise.
What is the “environmental catastrophe” in the title of this thread? Is the catastrophe because the Salton Sea is drying up?
From the linked article provided by Goofyhoofy…
The Salton Sea is best known for being the state’s worst ecological disaster, as droughts, heat waves, and agriculture have caused the water to recede, forming a dry barren-looking lake bed alongside mass die-offs of fish from the high salinity of the water.
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The Salton Sea was created, by accident, in 1905, when an irrigation canal failed, letting the Colorado River flow into that low-lying area of Southern California. If anything, the current evaporation of the “sea” is simply nature reverting back to its natural state.
You could argue that an inland sea previously existed in that area in ancient times, which is true. The last natural lake in that region dried up sometime in the 1500s, according to scientists. But, if the 1905 accident hadn’t occurred, that area of California today would be desert, just like everything around it. Inland from the coastal mountain range, southern California is a desert. It was a desert long before Henry Ford created his evil Model T, and I’m pretty sure it will remain a desert even if the Keeling curve eventually levels off.
My great granddad was the lead surveyor (not designer) for the digging of the original Colorado to Imperial Valley canal (we have a photo of him on horseback looking on as digging began on the deepest needed cut), and so we have long watched stories about the Salton Sea.
This is crucial:
"…historical and scientific records suggested that floods similar to those between 1905 and 1907 had been occurring in the region for at least tens of thousands of years, sustaining other bodies of water. Evidence pointed to the Colorado River’s floodplain and delta — that area that would now dump into the Sea of Cortez if the river freely flowed that far — being prone to meander in what Ross described as a “maze of constantly shifting distributary channels.”
It is the processing of the lithium that creates the environmental catastrophe.