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The Parched Fathoms was originally a sea or lake region, but due to Pandora's change in climate, the water has almost completely evaporated. The cities and roads were originally built to be near or above water-level, and consequently now appear raised up on high platforms well above dry beds of dust and sand. Decayed roadways now litter the area, as does other debris of a civilisation in decline. Various enclaves of humanity have survived the passage of time, however these are now few and far between.
There are few native species of life surviving in this harsh environment. Drifters comb the barren wastes for prey and skags can be found in the surrounding canyon areas. Legend also speaks of the maggot offspring of Crawmerax the Invincible, near the Sunken Sea.
Humans maintain a tenuous existence in various areas of the Parched Fathoms. T-Bone Junction forms a fleeting bastion of civilisation and the Crimson Lance have many fortified structures on the roads to protect their fortress containing the Crimson Armory. Bandits congregate in small fortified camps, and large numbers of midgets are known to be thriving, in the Sunken Sea. A number of former prisoners have also claimed Lockdown Palace for their own, turning their former prison into a labyrinthine stronghold.
- The Parched Fathoms promotes heavy use of vehicles on its raised roadways and large areas of off road desert terrain.
- According to an Echo communication from Scooter present in the game files, "A 100 years ago or somethin', the [Parched Fathoms] used to be [their] main source of water until Atlas drained the bitch so they could have a huge swimming pool on their 'space station'." He then proceeds to explain that he, "isn't kidding about any of that."