Gypsum crust at the Salon Sea

GYPSUM CRUST at the Salton Sea.

EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Public Health Department was notified July 2 by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board of a recent discovery of a gypsum crust that has formed in the channels and along the entire harbor shoreline in Desert Shores, according to an ICPHD press release. 

The release said the newly developed crust has razor-sharp gypsum crystals and could be deceiving in appearance. The public is advised to avoid contact with the area; attempting to approach the water’s edge could result in an unexpected break through the crust.  

According to the release, in May, gypsum irruptions were the cause of a milky like plume found along the southeastern portion of the Salton Sea. Gypsum irruptions typically occur in the warmer months, between May and November, followed by a significant wind event causing sulfides from decomposing organic material on the sea floor to rise to the surface.  The change in appearance is a result of light scattering through the gypsum crystals forming on the surface of the Sea. 

Temporary notices will be displayed at the scene until permanent signage is obtained and posted for public view. Imperial County officials, in coordination with Riverside County, will continue working with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to monitor the water conditions and ensure that the community will be notified of any risks associated with the water quality in the Salton Sea, per the report. 

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