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The Salton Sea Is Like Mad Max With Beachfront Views

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At one point, California's inland Salton Sea was a thriving tourist destination and fishing spot. Nowadays, it's a toxic, hyper-salinated cesspool gone stagnant due to pollution and lack of sufficient drainage. Here are snapshots of the Sea's eerie lakeside towns.

Ransom Riggs has captured photographs of Southern California's Salton Sea, and it's not a cheery sight. Its polluted waters are prone to flooding and have devastated the area's fish and bird populations. Several hundred people still live there in ramshackle towns like Bombay Beach, where residents must drive 20 miles to the nearest gas station. Those who do stay are an odd mix of longtime residents and people living off the grid. Rotting motels line the Sea - reminders of the region's touristy past. Along with Centralia, Pennsylvania, it's probably one of most depressing places in America.


You can find Riggs's fascinating photos and recaps at Mental Floss here and here.