National Geographic : 1940 Jun
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE SPANIARDS CUT THEIR NAMES ON THIS NEW MEXICAN CLIFF NEARLY 400 YEARS AGO "Passed here, 1605," says Ofiate's message. De Vargas was here too, and many other pioneering Spaniards. Officially this Inscription Rock or "stone autograph album" is known as El Morro National Monument. It stands some 40 miles south of Gallup, New Mexico. In Gold Rush days, many passing American adventurers cut their names here; sometimes easterners come and scan all these names, looking for a clue to some relative who long ago disappeared "out west" (page 726). of San Jacinto Peak, in California; and that the "Salton Sink" was formed when the Colorado River spilt enough silt around its mouth to form a dam. This cut off an inland body of salt water that finally evap orated and left a below-sea-level valley. Now with Boulder Dam and all its water tunnels and spillways for regulating river flow, no floods can happen again. From the lower end of Grand Canyon to the river's mouth, 565 miles downstream, the dam completely tames this long, danger ous river; besides giving water to irrigate farms around Palo Verde, Yuma, and Impe rial Valleys, the river now also sends water through mountain tunnels and giant aque ducts to Los Angeles and other cities 250 miles to the west (page 754). Today land and sky lanes bring visitors from everywhere to see Boulder Dam and to ride on its artificial Lake Mead. Imagine what it means to arid Death Valley, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, sud denly to find themselves next door to a deep fresh-water lake 115 miles long, a lake already full of fish, rapidly filling with pleas ure craft and beach resorts, and drawing free-spending guests at the rate of 600, 000 or 700,000 a year! "Even the cowboys," said one wag, "are trading their ponies for powerboats. They've traded lassos for fishing tackle and practice casting by 'plugging' at jack rab bits." Spaniards named "Colorado" River be cause it was so colored with red mud. A dam site wisecrack is that "It's too thin to plow and too thick to drink."