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The mighty Colorado River emptied into the Gulf on the eastern side. The Colorado is a powerful stream. Its drainage basin extends from the Gulf of California to the southern edge of Yellowstone National Park, an area of of over 260,000 square miles. Most of this region is mountainous and erosion is rapid. As a result, the Colorado carries in suspension tons and tons of solid matter. Even now this mighty stream carries some 160,000,000 tons of sediment past Yuma every year.
For centuries, this mass had been poured into the Gulf from the eastern side. It is little wonder then that it gradually built up a delta, which year by year crept westward until at last it reached the opposite shore.
Thus the Gulf acquired its present shore line, while the northern part was entirely cut off, leaving it an inland sea. The River chose the southeastern side of its delta and thus flowed into the Gulf. The inland sea evaporated at the rate of about six feet per year. In the course of time it dried completely, leaving an arid basin which later became known as the Salton Sink. Its deepest portions were covered with a thick crust of salt.
How many centuries it remained so, no one knows. However, evidences clearly show that the Colorado again changed its course and again flowed into the Sink. In due time it refilled the inland sea and made of it a great fresh water lake. When it was full, it broke over the silt dam on the south-western side by the Cocopah Mountains and found its way to the Gulf by what is now called "Hardy's Colorado."