Coachella Valley

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Below is some general information about Coachella Valley:

Coachella Valley is a large valley landform in Southern California. The valley extends for approximately 45 miles (72 km) in Riverside County southeast from the San Bernardino Mountains to the saltwater Salton Sea, the largest lake in California. It is approximately 15 miles (24 km) wide along most of its length, bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains and on the north and east by the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The San Andreas Fault crosses the valley from the Chocolate Mountains in the southeast corner and along the centerline of the Little San Bernardinos. The fault is easily visible along its northern length as a strip of greenery against an otherwise bare mountain.

The Chocolate Mountains are home to a United States Navy live gunnery range and are mostly off-limits to the public. In comparison to the “Inland Empire (IE)” (Riverside-San Bernardino area and the California desert), some people refer to the IE’s sub-region Coachella Valley as the “Desert Empire” to differentiate it from the neighboring Imperial Valley. Geographers and geologists sometimes call the area, along with the Imperial Valley to the south, the “Cahuilla Basin” or the “Salton Trough”.

Geographically, it is the agricultural and recreational desert valley in Southern California, United States, east of Riverside and San Bernardino. Populated by nearly 600,000 people, the valley is part of the 13th largest metropolitan area in the United States, the Inland Empire. The famous desert resort cities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert lie in the Coachella Valley. The Coachella Valley is the second largest sub-region in the Inland Empire metropolitan area, after the Greater San Bernardino Area. It may be due to the number of seasonal residents in the winter months may surpassed the number of permanent residents in the total Riverside area.

The area is surrounded on the southwest by the Santa Rosa Mountains, by the San Jacinto Mountains to the west, the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east and San Gorgonio Mountain to the north. These mountains peak at around 11,000 feet (3,400 m) and tend to average between 5,000 to 7,000 feet (1,500 to 2,000 m). Elevations on the Valley floor range from 1600 ft above sea level at the north end of the Valley to 250 ft below sea level around Mecca. Sometimes a weather system can come through one of the narrow passes, or up from the Gulf of California as Hurricane Kathleen did in September 1976. In the summer months daytime temperatures range from 104 °F (40 °C) to 112 °F (44 °C) and nighttime lows from 75 °F (24 °C) to 86 °F (30 °C). During winter, the daytime temperatures range from 68 °F (20 °C) to 88 °F (31 °C) and corresponding nights range from 46 °F (8 °C) to 65 °F (18 °C) making it a popular winter resort destination. Due to its warm year-round climate the region’s agricultural sector produces fruits such as mangoes, figs and dates.

The San Andreas Fault traverses the Valley’s east side. Because of this fault, the Valley has many hot springs. The Santa Rosa Mountains to the West are part of the Lake Elsinore Fault zone. The results of a prehistoric sturzstrom can be seen in Martinez Canyon. The Painted Canyons of Mecca feature smaller faults as well as Precambrian, Tertiary and Quaternary rock formations, unconformities, badlands and desert landforms. Seismic activity is what triggers earthquakes, a natural, but occasionally destructive phenomena in the Coachella Valley. Fault lines cause hot water springs or geysers to rise from the ground. These natural water sources made habitation and development possible in the otherwise inhospitable desert environment of the Coachella Valley. Major earthquakes have affected the Coachella Valley. For instance, the Landers Earthquake in 1992 caused some damage in the valley. An earthquake of local origin which caused considerable damage was the 1986 North Palm Springs earthquake, which registered at a magnitude of 6.0, injuring 29 people and destroying 51 homes.

Source: Coachella Valley on Wikipedia