In the world I am designing, I want to have a bay with a tight bottleneck, filled with salt water from the ocean. You can think of the bay as river shaped. To avoid creating a "C" shaped island I want to have the bay to end at the base of a volcano where the heat will evaporate the water and leave behind a salt flat.

I want to have the volcano go through cycles of activity and inactivity to allow the area to become dry (during a time of high volcanic activity) and become something like the Dead Sea (during a time of low volcanic activity).


  1. Is this even feasible?
  2. How long would the cycles be (months, years, decades)?
  3. What kind of life could I expect nearby (I am mainly worried about the plant life. I am working on an animal that can survive this harsh environment)?
  • $\begingroup$ @Byte56 I guess that would be a bay. I'll have to change that. What I want to happen with the bay is for the volcano to evaporate the water periodically. $\endgroup$
    – unknown
    Dec 9, 2015 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ You might check the word estuary also, that could fit what you are describing. (e.g. a river flowing from one direction, the sea from the other, vulcanism in the middle.) $\endgroup$
    – Seeds
    Dec 9, 2015 at 23:26

1 Answer 1


What you're describing is an endorheic basin.

You can be forgiven for not knowing what that was. It is essentially, a dead end road for water. There are several reasons why the water might not completely fill up the area, such as your idea for a volcano.

Though in your case the main factor will be limiting the inflow of water from the ocean. Hooking up a bit of lower elevation land to an ocean will usually result in the filling of that bit of land. If the basin is supplied from a small and rocky gully (or shallow bay), it could limit the ingress of water to a rate that the basin can evaporate or sink into the land. That will leave all the salt behind, just like the Dead Sea.

So, yes, it's feasible.

The cycles for a volcano would more likely be on the order of years. But you might tie it in with tides, climate, prevailing winds, and a host of other factors to get any period you want.

There are animals that survive in such environments. Check out Mono Lake for some inspiration.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For OP's purposes, the basin could be a volcanic caldera. $\endgroup$
    – Era
    Dec 9, 2015 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Era Yes, excellent suggestion. $\endgroup$
    – Samuel
    Dec 9, 2015 at 23:37

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